Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Previews

"Previews" came out today, so it's time to comment on what's to come...

Marvel:
"Nick Fury's Howling Commandos" - Okay, you knew from the hook of Vampire by Night (a vampire bitten by a werewolf), that we'd see this character in some form after her story had ended in "Amazing Fantasy." And here she is, fighting side-by-side with other monsters, like the Zombie and Frankenstein. Is that enough to check this series out? Mmm....probably not.

"Ultimate Fantastic Four" - Yeah, I haven't checked out this series, but the cover for the new "Tomb of Namor" arc gave me a chill. I think this is where I get on board.

"Runaways" - I love Vaughan's original series. Number nine is the beginning of a new arc, "East Coast/West Coast," with the return of Cloak and Dagger to the book, an appearance I really enjoyed back in the first volume of the series.

"The Book of Lost Souls" - The new Icon title from J. Michael Straczynski and "A Distant Soil's" talented Colleen Doran, sounds like a great new fantasy book. The cover looks fabulous.

"New X-Men: Hellions TPB" - I love bad good guys. I'm a sucker. At least I waited for the trade, right?

"Livewires: Clockwork Thugs, Yo Digest" - Seems like an interesting, fun series. And Patrick already said he'd buy it when he saw it, so bonus!

DC:
"Fables" - The new story arc looks like a lot of fun: "Arabian Nights (And Days)." I assume it's a follow-up to the "1,001 Nights of Snowfall" original graphic novel from "Fables."

"Manhunter" - This stand-alone issue sounds cool. I hope this is just a guest cover artist. I really like this cover, a lot actually, but...Jae Lee's just awesome!

"Women of the DC Universe: Poison Ivy Bust" - My favorite villain. A perfect bust of her. Drool. (I swear, I am gay)

Image:
"Season of the Witch" - Yeah, you know me and witches. Ex-CrossGener Kevin Sharpe pencils!

APC:
"Dark Mists (volume 1)" - This series has caught my eye a few times, because of its beautiful covers. I think I'll check it out with the trade.

Fantagraphics:
"The Acme Novelty Library #16" - This is probably where I'll finally be introduced to Chris Ware. Patrick's definitely going to get this, and it looks pretty, so...time to try out the master.

IDW:
"Doomed" - The new horror magazine anthology that's supposed to be like EC's enthology series. I'll give it a shot.

Speakeasy Comics:
"Elk's Run TPB" - The series I tried and failed to find back issues of is collected, thankfully. Nice Darwyn Cooke cover.

"Season of the Reaper" - New series. It sounds like an interesting premise, different from what one usually sees in comics.

"The Hunger TPB" - The horror series is collected. Zombies good.

"The Living and the Dead GN" - Another horror book.

"Kindly Corpses" - Ditto. And one big difference between Speakeasy and Crossgen - no in-house style. I think that was a great detrement to Crossgen. Speakeasy seems to be following Crossgen's course, putting out too many comics too soon, but...they might be able to break out if they let their creators have the freedom to do what they want artistically. We'll see.

Tokyopop:
"Mark of the Succubus (Volume 1)" - I like succubi, ever since Morrigan from "Darkstalkers" seduced me on the old cartoon. So, a succubus in training in high school? Awesome!

"Telepathic Wanderers (Volume 1)" - Great premise, and given my new enthusiasm for manga, I'm willing to check it out! I'm all about new things this month.

Top Shelf:
"SuperFuckers" - Second issue! What a great cover!

That's what kinda caught my eye this time around. There are others, of course, like "Y-the Last Man" that I always pick up, but these were special cases, I think. Anyways...later!

Penguins and Everyone Else

I saw a few movies over the past few weeks. Last week, I saw "March of the Penguins," which went wide, I believe, this past weekend. I'm one of those people who really enjoy watching nature/animal stuff on TV, especially Jeff Corwin on Animal Planet (he's funny AND cute). So, of course, I couldn't pass on this movie, especially given how I love penguins. The documentary was really well done, I thought. Better than their previous work, "Winged Migration." It was full of what people went to the movie to see - cute animals doing cute things. There were funny moments and sad moments. I felt that there could have been one penguin couple that the film makers focused in on to really give a sense of attachment to the animals, a personality. It could have been a little shorter too - there's only so much penguin waddling I can stand before the cuteness wears off. But I do recommend this highly for people who love watching animals like I do.

The other movie I saw was "Me, You, and Everyone We Know." This was a quieter independent movie, with interesting people and their relationships with people around them that they come to meet. The main plot thread is about a shoe salesman who's living with his children he doesn't know very well. His children get time in the limelight as they deal with other school children, who tend to target them, particularly a pair of girls who have issues of their own. The father also meets an elder-cab driver who is a passionate artist trying to get her work shown in a gallery. She's probably the most interesting character in the film, as she's quite strange and spontaneous, but naive and lovely at the same time. All of the characters in the film are ultimately lonely and just want to be loved and understood by others. This was a movie that kept my interest all the way through, but I'm sorry to say, I probably won't remember much about it in another month. No scenes were seered into my memory. It was a great movie, but I'd wait to rent it if I was on the fence about it.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Ai Yazawa

Ai Yazawa is a comics genius. I just finished reading her fifth and final installment of "Paradise Kiss" and it was wonderful! The art was beautiful, with the perfect expressions on each of the characters at the perfect moments to evoke just the right moods. I found myself stopping sometimes just to admire the art for minutes at a time. It really is incredible, especially the elaborate fashions. The story itself just kept getting better and better as the series progressed, something you think just isn't possible as you read each installment. The characters grow in the most unexpected ways and really get under your skin emotionally before you even realize they're there! The relationships between characters Arashi and Miwako is one of the most complex and realistic relationships I've ever read about. The model/main character Yuraki also has a love/hate relationship with the mysterious George that rings just as true, and as a character that sometimes shines and sometimes becomes someone you pity and wince at her actions, she has to be a great invention to come off as one of the characters I treasure most within the medium. I felt like I made a transitional voyage with this character as she grew and became someone wholly different at the end of the series. I'm so glad I'm getting into Shoujo manga and it's really exciting because I'm just beginning to discover this wide world within the comics universe. I was just lucky enough to start my venture with probably one of the greatest comics out there. And Ai Yazawa's "Nana," being serialized in "Shojo Beat," is shaping up to be even better than "Paradise Kiss," if such is possible! Check this creator out PLEASE!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Cavalcade of Boys

"Cavalcade of Boys" is a fun romp of a romance series by Tim Fish. There obviously aren't too many gay comics out there (aside from manga series about gay boys written by girls for girls, which is kinda weird), so it's pretty refreshing to read this independently-published comic on the stands. Fish fills his trade with cute boy images that Patrick noted looked a lot like Erik Larson's art (could there be some influence there?). There is way too much Zip-a-tone at the beginning of the story, but it fades before too long to become quite bearable.

"Cavalcade of Boys" reads more like a collection of short stories that follow gay boys through their adventures meeting other boys (ala "Love & Rockets," with recurring characters and plot threads being picked up and dropped capriciously). While it seems that no gay man in the volume is capable of staying monogomous (with one exception), it's still a fun portrayal of stereotypes among the gay populace, though the characters grow with the series' progression to become somewhat complex. It's a little hard to keep track of which characters did what to who and when, and some guys are hard to place at all when they appear, but trifles aside, it's a nice fluffy read, objectifying men in comics for once, something I find quite refreshing.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Basement - a short story

“You know what I love best about moving to a new city?” Laura Sentry asked as she plopped down onto the couch beside her boyfriend, arms expertly sliding around his neck. “Finding the best restaurants. Milwaukee must have some great Italian restaurants and pizza. I think I saw a Greek place on the way in. I don’t think I’ve ever had Greek food before…” She tapped a finger against her lips as the thought slithered across her mind.

“I was going to say no cleaning,” Mark smirked, his eyes glued to the TV. “No picking up for a couple weeks, at least.”

“Yeah,” Laura muttered, looking over the dozen or so unopened boxes left to sort through near the door. She sat up. “Actually, most of our clothes are wrinkled. Those will have to be washed.”

With an easy smile, Mark turned to her. “Then you’d best get on that, huh?”

Laura glared. “You are such an ass.”

“But you love me anyway.”

A smile worked its way over her features despite herself, and she planted a quick kiss on his lips. “You’re just lucky you’re adorable.”

“And well-endowed.”

“You wish,” Laura scoffed, punching him lightly on the shoulder as she stood up and happily gathered the dirty clothes. She would usually have minded any semblance of sloth on Mark’s part, as he quite often opted to leave the cleaning to her, but they had just moved in together. Moved in together in another state, no less. She was still aglow from the move, the excitement it ignited within her, to mind such a trivial thing. It was just another one of the hundred little things they had to do to get settled.

And he’s sitting on his ass, watching the game, she recalled as she walked out of the apartment, an awkward basket under her left arm. Maybe she should encourage haste when it came to putting the apartment in order, at least. Then, the next step could be initiated sooner. Mainly, Mark getting a job and resuming his role as bread-winner. The pompous, sexist ass.

She closed the door behind her and gasped as the lights sputtered for a moment, before brightening to little more than a soft glow. At least she could still see. Maybe she shouldn’t start the laundry though. If the power went out…but it wouldn’t be out for long if it did give out. It’s not like the clothes would get moldy if the electricians had to battle with wires for a few hours. She smirked at herself and rounded the black iron railings that curved down to the ground floor, then the basement beyond, where the laundry room resided.

Nearly tripping as she began her descent down the stairs, Laura shook her head at herself. What was her deal? A little problem with the lights and she loses her nerve to venture down to the basement? What did that speak of her ability to maneuver about a new city on her own? Pressing on, Laura reached the next landing, keeping her right hand on the railing as she continued on toward the basement. After one confident step down the stairs to the basement, Laura glanced over at a white sign on the door below before her attention was roused by a sound behind her. She paused and stared at an open apartment door halfway down the hall. They hadn’t run into any of their neighbors yet. The apartment complex was so quiet that they nearly felt like the only ones there, despite the parking lot full of vehicles.

Laura hesitated as she moved to continue down to the basement and the laundry machines. A soft noise…like suction cups being stuck and unstuck. What was that? She frowned as she slowly descended sideways, eyes glued to the open doorway. She could see a light within, washing over the wall. And that noise was still going in full force…

She suddenly gasped aloud as she slumped into the wall with a plastic crash and dropped the laundry basket. A laugh nearly spilled from her lips, but a shadow suddenly stood up straight in the light, as if startled by a thief. It moved then, quickly, propelling Laura into action. She was scared. Her heart was pounding, for some reason, as if her life was in peril. But it was just a curious neighbor. Why was she so frightened by the figure moving toward the door, toward her?
Laura didn’t give it much thought as she scrambled down the stairs and yanked the door open, kicking her clothes and basket into the pitch black beyond without bothering to gather it. She though she saw the top of a head crest the top stair as the door closed with an audible click and left her to darkness.

The inkiness of the basement threatened to overwhelm her then as she groped for a light switch. She recalled the dirty, unfinished basement of the building that seemed too intimate to be a public building, that seemed more a stranger’s house than part of the building she lived in. It was creepy.

Her fingers located the fire alarm. From there, she calmly ran her fingers down to the light switch she knew was just below it. Light filled the room, showing her the cobwebs overhead and the residents’ storage lockers without discrimination.

Laura sighed. She really needed to keep the door open until she turned the lights on. A deep breath and she forced herself to stoop down and pull her dirty clothes into the plastic basket. She then picked the load up under her arm and laughed at herself, moving along at a brisk clip toward the small room that housed the laundry machines.

The door was closed, which was a first. She frowned as she pulled open the door and was greeted by a man kneeled down before the doorway, eyes wide with surprise.

“Shit, you scared me,” the man breathed.

“I know the feeling,” Laura admitted, moving around him and glancing back to watch him work a screwdriver on the door knob. She let her eyes wander down his carpenter pants and smiled to herself before attending to the task at hand. She quickly went about preparing the clothes for washing and finished with a satisfied swipe of her hands. With a polite “excuse me” to the man at the door, she headed back to the basement door, her eyes sweeping over the large sign that read “Please turn out all basement lights. Thank you, Management.”

“Your welcome, Management,” she mumbled as she grabbed the doorknob, her hand on the light switch to extinguish their brilliance.

The door wouldn’t budge. She turned and rattled the doorknob. “What…?” She looked around and noticed the man from the laundry room coming towards her. “Um…”

“That door did not close,” he stated.

“Um…”

“Ah, crap.”

“What do you…” Laura frowned and looked down at the doorknob again. “What’s wrong with it?”

“Didn’t you see the sign?” he asked as he came to a stop before her. “On the door? It said not to shut it all the way or it would lock. I’m changing locks down here and I…shit, I need a tool for these antiques I don’t have with me. Do you have a cell phone?”

“Not…not on me.” Laura looked away as he cursed.

“What were you thinking?”

“I was…distracted. Sorry.”

“Distracted?” he turned away with disgust.

“My boyfriend will be down in a few minutes,” Laura offered, suddenly wishing to be with Mark. “When he notices I haven’t come back…”

The guy grunted and swore again as he walked into the laundry room.

Laura sighed and tried the doorknob again, to no avail. She glanced around the dirty, dismal space and the Christmas decorations in storage. Their own space was completely empty yet, the sole gate without a lock adorning its steel mouth. She shuddered and began to walk toward the laundry room and the only comfortable surroundings, but thought better of it. If Mark did come down to see what was taking so long, he might just close the door on accident, too. Didn’t you see the sign? Biting her lip, Laura nodded to herself. Of course, Mark would see the sign. She’d been freaking for no reason. That wasn’t Mark’s style. He was always pretty…stable. She smiled at her choice of words and walked back toward the laundry room, an apology halfway out of her mouth before she even entered the room.

The locksmith smiled, though, to her astonishment. He shook his head sheepishly. “Sorry I got so peeved. It’s just this basement, you know?”

“Yeah,” Laura murmured, rubbing her arms. “I know.”

Three hours later, and her clothes were dried and folded nicely in the basket, cold as the basement had grown with the night, and still, no one had come to their rescue. Not even Mark.

“I am going to kill him,” Laura swore, with a quick glance at Todd, whom she’d grown fond of quite quickly. “I can’t believe he forgot about me. That’s so…” She paused. She was going to say that that was so like him, but it really wasn’t. He was a lot of things: lazy, inconsiderate, arrogant, but…he was at least reliable, if anything. Where the hell could he be?

“We could try screaming?” Todd suggested.

“I am not screaming,” Laura told him. “I…God, I’m starving. I was going to order pizza. New, good pizza. I’m usually good at picking a place by the name. Screw that now. He’s getting PB and J.” She cocked her head. “Do you think someone might hear me?”

“If you start screaming?”

Laura nodded, not waiting for an answer as she walked quickly out of the laundry room to the basement door. She yanked at the handle arbitrarily and screamed “Help! Someone, please! We’ve been stuck in the basement for hours!” She screamed for nearly half a minute before Todd joined in. After a full minute, they stopped to listen.

Pressing his ear against the door, Todd glanced back at her. “I don’t hear anything. I don’t think anyone heard us.”

“Nobody heard us?” Laura asked, her voice growing a little shrill. “How could they not hear us? Are they dead?”

Todd shrugged and stepped away from the door.

The moment he moved away, they got their reply. A pounding from the other side of the door.

“Oh, thank God!” Laura cried, going up the door. “Just open the door and don’t close it! We are so glad to hear from you!” She smiled and stepped back, waiting to see the door open easily, a smiling old woman before them.

The pounding continued. It grew more fervent.

Laura looked over at Todd, a little uneasy.

“No, you…you have to open the door!” Todd yelled.

The pounding ceased then, to Laura’s great relief. She smiled at Todd and turned to the door.

Scratching began. Ear-grating scratches that rang of nails raking over the wood grain. Clawing over the wood grain.

Taking a few steps away from the door, Laura rubbed her hands over her arms. “This is a little scary.”

“Yeah,” Todd agreed.

The pounding resumed again. Incessant pounding. Pounding that gorged its way into Laura’s head, causing the panic to rise steadily.

“Earlier…when I came down here, I heard a noise that scared me,” she confessed suddenly. “It’s why I wasn’t paying attention to the sign. It was like suction cups being stuck and unstuck to a window.”

“Like…” Todd frowned. “You mean, like a wet sound?”

“A wet…” Laura tried to hear the sound again, beyond the pounding on the door. “A wet sound. Yes. A sound like…like sucking spaghetti…and…yeah, wetter, like eating. You’re right.”

“Look, this is fucked and I’m tired of the pounding.”

Laura nodded her agreement, eyes fastened on the door. “Yeah?”

“Yeah.” He reached out and pulled the fire alarm.

Overhead, sprinklers loosed a river of water over the cement basement and the treasures housed in storage. Laura felt a little guilty as she followed Todd to a dry corner. A little guilty, but not much. The people who owned those trinkets could have helped them out of the situation. They could have prevented such drastic measures. She hid her head in Todd’s chest, forgetting herself for a moment, then blushing as she realized what she was doing.

“The pounding stopped,” Todd announced suddenly.

Laura peered through the rainstorm at the door, straining to hear over the wail of the alarm. “Do you think they’ll find us now?”

“The firefighters or police or whoever? Yeah. They have to investigate it. And they’ll know which alarm was triggered. I mean…your boyfriend will be worried now too, you know?”
Nodding, Laura watched as the water ceased gushing from overhead, slowing into a stream before nothing was expunged at all. But if he hadn’t been worried before… Laura shook her head and felt a tear squeeze out of her left eye. Something bad had happened. She just knew it. The alarm stopped after an hour. No firefighters bust through the door. They didn’t hear anything for the rest of the night.

The next day forced them to explore an emergency shelter where they found canned goods. They helped themselves to canned fruit with pop-tops before Todd relayed their next course of action.

“Something was fucked with their sensors or something,” Todd told her. “We need to bust one of the half-windows at ground level, like above the washing machines. They’ve gotta understand our situations now.”

“It’s ridiculous,” Laura said as she agreed and consented to be the one to try it. Before long, she was standing atop one of the dryers, leaning against the wall with a broomstick in hand. Her attempts to knock out the glass only frustrated her for the first few minutes, as she did little more than bump harmlessly against the glass with the blunt end. It ended in fruition however, as one well-placed blow shattered the entire window, dispersing slivers all across the small opening.

“Yes!” Todd exclaimed happily as Laura looked back at him with a triumphant smile. He quickly handed her several towels from her laundry basket.

Gratefully accepting the offering, Laura carefully laid the towels out over the shards of glass, a sad smile spreading over her lips, as she recalled how she’d come downstairs to throw a load of laundry in the washer, a supposedly brief respite from the happiness she expected to share with Mark at such an exciting time in their lives. What if he was really worried about her, but forgot where she’d gone? What if he was frantic, talking to the police, driving up and down unfamiliar streets, praying to catch a glimpse of her?

The scene she painted for herself reinvigorated her as she scrambled quickly through the small opening and exited the basement through a bed of mud and neglected flowers. She scowled as she realized she was getting her jeans muddy, standing quickly to swipe at her knees.

Glancing up, Laura saw that the sun was still freshly risen, orange and pink hues greeting her amid the sound of songbirds starting their day. The street before her apartment complex, however, was completely still, which was strange, as Highway 100 was a fairly busy road. She found it unnerving to stand before the inactivity for several minutes, hoping for a sign of human life, but ultimately, seeing none.

“Laura?” Todd called from the broken pane. “Are you still out there?”

“Yeah,” she replied, snapping out of her daze. “I’ll come around in a minute.”

“Okay. Not going anywhere.”

Laura shook her head as she walked around the complex to the entrance door, wondering how she was going to get inside. If she buzzed her apartment, would she be met by Mark’s relieved voice?

She turned the corner of the building and hesitated upon seeing the glass of the door splayed over the cement steps. Had something happened at the complex? A gas leak? Some sort of riot?
Swallowing hard and trying to avoid giving the circumstances much thought, Laura slipped through the naked door frame and hurried toward the stairs. Her eyes widened as she noticed the door of the apartment building from the previous day still ajar. She continued her trek however, and yanked open the basement door to a happy Todd, who greeted her with a celebratory embrace.

“It’s been a pleasure,” Todd assured her through his dimples as he walked with her up the stairs. “My boss is going to have my head, if he ever stops laughing at this.”

Laura frowned. “I think…something happened though. The door…” She gestured to the shattered door, a sight that made Todd give pause.

“Well, I’m sure…I’m sure there’s an explanation. An accident. You know what? It was probably something that happened when we set the fire alarm off yesterday. Someone panicked, got overzealous, and broke the glass on their way out. It’s probably why they didn’t check out the basement. They got preoccupied, thought that the broken glass had something to do with the alarm being tripped.”

Crossing her arms, Laura nodded tightly and watched as he carefully stepped through the doorway and nodded goodbye to her. “Shit,” she murmured as he disappeared around the corner. She sent an uneasy glance at the open apartment door and quickly jogged up the stairs and to her apartment.

A sigh of relief escaped her as she caught sight of her door. “Thank God.” With a smile, she grabbed the doorknob, expecting Mark to rush out to meet her. The door wasn’t even shut all the way, however. She did her best to ignore this fact as she opened the door and peeked inside. The TV was still on, though the cable station boasted nothing but a blue screen. Everything else seemed to be in order.

“Mark?” she called softly. “Mark, Baby, I’m back. And you’re doing the next load.” She opened the door wider and stepped within. She looked around cautiously for any hint of trouble. She neglected to find anything. “Mark?”

He must have left in a hurry to still have the TV on, she mused, imagining she’d find a note on the counter. Maybe something had happened to his mother in the hospital… She quickly closed the space between her and the kitchen, searching for a message. Nothing. She grabbed her cell phone and walked over to the balcony, sliding open the screen door and stepping outside. Unable to find service, Laura scowled and practically jumped out of her skin when she heard a crash from below her. She glanced down to see Todd getting out of a truck.

“Hey, Todd!” she called, waving at him.

Todd glanced up and suddenly gaped, pointing up at her.

Standing up straight, Laura looked back and screamed. Mark was moving toward her, minus an arm, a bloody gouge taken out of his right cheek, exposing sinister teeth underneath. “Ugh,” was all Laura managed as he reached out a hand to her and moaned, blood seeping out of his mouth and onto his shirt.

Laura backed up against the railing of the balcony and barely hesitated before climbing over the top and leaping off. She wheeled her arms in the air as she fell, trying her best to land on her feet, a feat she failed miserably. Grass, however, greeted her as opposed to asphalt. Something she was grateful for as Todd helped her up.

They gazed up at the balcony overhead in utter disbelief.

“I knew it,” Todd said over and over again. “I fucking knew it.”

“His eyes…” Laura cried. “It wasn’t him. It wasn’t Mark.”

A roar of a groan from behind signaled danger to the pair as they whirled around, discovering more of the undead heading in their direction from across the parking lot, from out of bushes and other buildings.

“Oh, God,” Laura felt hysteria bubble into her chest as Todd grabbed her arm and yanked her back around the front of the building. Other zombies lay in wait in the street beyond, however, slowly shuffling toward the only live souls in sight. “They’re all over! They’re everywhere! They’re everywhere! We’re surrounded!” She clung to Todd with a vise grip as he pulled her toward the entrance of the apartment building.

They scurried in through the opening and hustled down the hallway, the sound of slow steps resounding from above and behind them.

Laura’s eye caught sight of the open door again, halfway down the hall. She watched a woman step through the opening in a bloody gown, her head lopsided upon her neck, yellow intestines hanging out before her, dripping a brownish liquid onto the carpeting with each half-step.
She looked away and followed Todd as he turned downstairs.

A man was there. A solid man, slightly balding, was pounding on the door. He raised one fist and hit the door before raising the other and doing the same. He looked up at them after a moment with blood-shot eyes and left his activity, opting to climb the stairs toward them.

“Todd!” Laura cried. “Todd, we have to…one of the upstairs apartments would be safe. A solid door, no way to get up.”

“Solid…yeah.” Todd looked at her as they backed up and away from the basement steps. They could make out the sound of someone descending from above, however. Turning, they watched the woman in the bloody gown side-step toward them. They saw a man enter the building through the shattered glass door. “No.” He pulled her backward with him and bided his time for a moment, suddenly rushing at the balding man as he reached the top of the basement steps. He kicked at the man, avoiding the wide mouth he offered, sending him into the wall and to his knees.

Laura drew in a quick breath as she charged passed the man toward the stairs, where she slammed into Todd in her fright and tumbled with him down the steps. “Shit,” she gasped as she put a hand to her head, where she felt a small cut. Pushing herself to her feet, she opened the basement door and half-pulled, half-pushed Todd through the door, as she fell inside. The door shut firmly behind them, leaving them in utter darkness. Once again, Laura fumbled for the light switch as she felt Todd stand up beside her. She flipped the switch and the room was flooded with brilliance, showcasing the cold cement walls, the rooms of storage.

“Well,” Todd brushed himself off and gazed around with her. “We were desperate as hell to get out of here a few minutes ago.”

“That was then,” Laura said calmly, walking over to her empty storage unit. Mark’s face flashed into her mind. Mark’s twisted face. She wondered if she would ever be able to think of him without seeing that vacant stare. Shuddering, she tensed as she felt Todd’s hand on her arm.

“We’ll be safe here.”

Laura smiled lightly. “I know. I’m okay.” The depressing spider webs overhead attracted her attention then. “I’m okay.” She looked back at Todd, tears filling her eyes despite herself.

Then the pounding began again.

Monday, July 18, 2005

San Diego

There weren't too many really cool announcements out of San Diego's con this year, but there were a few highlights for me. I loved hearing about "Abadazad," because I just loved that series, and it's nice to know that I can expect to see something come from Disney early next year. I'm still crossing my fingers for more "Meridian" and "Mystic" comics. You can check out the article at Newsarama here: http://www.newsarama.com/forums/showthread.php?s=fc867ad13de378069bf0845173a2a41e&threadid=38374

Another exciting announcement was about the new "Fables" original graphic novel, "1,001 Nights of Snowfall." I've been waiting for the announcement of the next OGN for awhile now, since it was mentioned to be in the works. This one's about Snow White, obviously a spoof of "1,001 Arabian Nights." Also coming from "Fables" - "Jack of Fables." I'm not too keen on this character, especially given the two-story arc that followed his adventure out of Fabletown was easily the worst of the entire series. But, who knows, right? I'll try the first iss is anything.

A couple of small things that also caught my attention: a new "X-Factor" series ala "The-X-Files." I think they already did X-Force ala "The X-Files" before Peter Milligan put his unique spin on the series, but hey, Marvel's all about reinvigorating lame, failed properties, so what the heck, right? Anyways, there was a good run on "X-Factor," I think, but it was nothing involving Strong Guy and Forge and such, as this sounds to be. I hear the "Madrox" mini-series was good though, so maybe with that in mind, this could have some potential. I'm not holding my breath, though.

The other cool little thing: Ultimate Silver Sable. Oh, yeah. I love her. It's about time.

Probably the best thing to come out of the convention was Oni's panel. Is it just me or is Oni Press shaping up to be a really neat little company? "The Adventures of Fearless Griggs," "Strange Town," "Borrowed Time" and "Past Lies" all sound really cool (along with Ted Naifeh's "Polly and the Pirates," of course). Check out the full creator info and list at: http://www.comicbookresources.com/news/newsitem.cgi?id=5611

I'm hoping to go to San Diego next year, but I'll just have to settle with Chicago this year!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

#1's

Sorry I didn't update sooner! I wrote a short story, which I'm going to put on my site pretty soon, and I've been painting more of my comic. Me and Patrick went into Chicago over the weekend and stopped by Chicago Comics and Quimby's, both of which inspired me to get my butt in gear with my mini-comic (actually, going to those stores was the reason for the trek). Anyways, Patrick picked up "Mome #1" and "Cavalcade of Boys." I just got my comics for the week. Patrick also got Gilbert Hernandez' DVD "Naked Cosmos" for his birthday, something I'm sure I'll be reviewing as soon as I've viewed it with him.

I read a few #1 issues this week that I wanted to mention:
"All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #1" - A great start to a new Batman series by Frank Miller and Jim Lee, focusing on Robin at the beginning of his crime-fighting career. I don't really care for Jim Lee as many do, but hey, Miller's great. Really over-the-top stuff, from a woman bursting out of lingerie to police brutality to backhanding women.

"Joss Whedon's Serenity #1" - Based on the "Firefly" series by said creator, this comic read just like the show, with all of the great characters drawn in very lifelike style by Will Conrad. Beautiful panels, great story - what else could you ask for?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Lost At Sea/Ocean

I read "Lost At Sea" last night, Brian Lee O'Malley's first graphic novel. If you like the hipster dialogue and art of "Scott Pilgrim," this definitely has the same kind of feel. I actually felt like I could identify with this book better than I could "Scott Pilgrim," though I do feel the latter is a superior work. In "Lost At Sea," we find a girl, Raleigh, in a car full of strangers from school, as they travel north to Canada. It's much more internal than "Pilgrim," opting to beg the cosmic questions of where we fit in and such. Quite emotional and full of flashbacks that flush out Raleigh as the story unfolds, I recommend this book readily.

Warren Ellis' new six-issue mini-series "Ocean" has a great premise. A group of scientists discover something beneath one of the icy moons of Jupiter. The series starts out full of promise, as the atmosphere of this futuristic world is depicted in a way that really draws the reader in, very dark and dangerous, full of conspiracies. The story unfolds slowly, introducing some rival scientists that are, well, very twisted. With their introduction, I'm sorry to say, I feel that this story falls off the right track and grows a little too silly. Not that aliens or spaceships to Juniper isn't a little silly anyway, but this is just out there, and really destroys that great mood that was set up early in the book. And the climax of the book just doesn't pay off all of the effort we invest in the characters and story. I would check out Ellis' other works before checking this one out. I hear "Ministry of Space" is good.

Monday, July 11, 2005

July 11th

Hey, just saw the Diamond shipping list here: http://www.diamondcomics.com/shipping.asp

This week, I'm going to be reading:
~"All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #1" (Haven't read a Frank Miller comic I haven't liked)
~"The Comics Journal #269" (I usually don't read this, but it's the shojo manga issue!)
~"Fables #39" (More of the homeland)
~"Mnemovore #4" (Shaping up to be a neat little horror story)
~"New Avengers #7" (I have to say, I like this series, though the panels are a little hard to follow sometimes...)
~"NYX #6" (Last issue?)
~"Serenity #1" (Definitely getting excited for the movie!!)
~"Seven Soldiers: The Guardian #3" (The best of the Seven Soldiers minis thus far)

Next week's reads:
~"Astonishing X-Men #11" (Finally! Another issue of the best superhero title out there right now!)
~"Kitty Pryde: Shadow and Flame #2" (Need I say more?)
~"Manhunter #12" (Kate Spencer is the best original DCU character I've seen in the past decade)
~"Tales Designed to Thrizzle #1" (I gotta give Kupperman a try, given what I've heard of his "Snake n' Bacon" TP)
~"Ultimate Spider-man #80" (I think this title took a little departure in quality for a couple of arcs before this one began last iss)

And more about me and what I'm up to:
Last graphic novel/trade I read: "Paradise Kiss (volume 4)" (I can't find volume five!)
Last comic I read: "Ultimate Spider-man #79"
Next comic in my pile: "Ocean #6" (conclusion)
Last movie I rented: "Punisher" (A good action movie. Not great, but good. A renter.)
Last good movie I saw in theaters: "Fantastic Four" (As previously reported)
Last great movie I saw in theaters: "George A. Romero's Land of the Dead" (Zombies are fun!)
Next movie I plan to see in theaters: "March of the Penguins"
Next three movies to enter me and Patrick's Netflix rental queue: "The Shield: Season One: Disc Three" (Patrick's), "Psycho" (the original), and "They Came Back" (French zombie film).

Friday, July 08, 2005

Fantastic Four...not so bad?

WARNING! THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!!

Okay, I think we've all heard how awful the "Fantastic Four" movie is, but...is it really that bad? Well, I saw it opening day and was pleasantly surprised. I thought it was kind of good. Not to say that there wasn't a lot bad about it - there was, but overall, I liked the movie.
The pros:
- The characters were all depicted like I would have expected the characters to be like, with the exception of the Invisible Girl. Mr. Fantastic was a distracted over-thinker, Johnny is a hot-head who loves attention, the Thing hates what he is, but is selfless when it comes to people despite their reactions.
- The interaction between the characters feels genuine and is true to the source material (with the exception of the Invisible Girl's relationship to Reed, which was...weird and didn't make much sense). I particularly liked the fun-pranking relationship between Johnny and Ben, but I think Sue's getting between them was great as well.
- The characters exploring/discovering their powers was done well and I thought it they interjected humor with it nicely.
- I may be biased, but the actor playing Johnny Storm is hot and I loved how he was sexualized more than Sue.
- The scene where Johnny flames on and flies through the city to shake a heat-seeking missile (taken from the comics) was a perfect scene. Perfect. It's something we haven't seen before and it was just mind-blowing.
- I also appreciated the opening where the four are exposed to the cloud of cosmic...whatever they called it in the movie.
- The Thing crushing Johnny's car into a ball was awesome.
- Alicia Masters, although barely introduced, was very likeable.
- All of the actors did a good job (Face it, Jessica Alba wasn't given much. We must forgive her).

Okay, now like I said - not a perfect movie.
The Cons:
- Most glaring of all was Doom's motivation. Did he even have one? He just wanted to...kill the Fantastic Four? For revenge for the accident he caused? What? I think that if the writers hadn't been so lazy on this vital plot point, the whole movie could have been fabulous. Up to the point where Doom transforms the Thing back into a human, there were little mistakes. But after that, it was pretty awful. There was no big, epic superhero-worthy fight at the end on the scale of a big Summer blockbuster. It was completely lackluster. And it was so small-scaled! Doom should have had a plan to overthrow leadership of the planet or something, but instead he wants...nothing really except....I still don't know why, to kill the four. I'm assuming he went crazy from his change. It seems to be implied very subtly, but I shouldn't have to infer so much. Just like I shouldn't have had to infer that heat melts rubber and that was why Reed went all liquidy after coming out of the machine and after being hit by Doom's blast of...whatever.
- Invisible Girl isn't done right at all. She's completely underdeveloped as a character and her vital relationship to Reed doesn't make sense. And anger affects her power? Huh? Because she's a girl or what? Why doesn't this happen to the other characters? I think Sue got the short end of the stick with her defensive power before they threw that in for...no reason.
- Did I mention yet how lame Doom is? He is the worst supervillain ever to be portrayed in a comic book movie. Completely underwhelming and absolutely absurd after he puts on his helmet. Up until changing the Thing into a human, he was fine though. But something went utterly wrong after that. The end of "Fantastic Four" is completely lackluster because they couldn't supe up the villain and find his voice!
- Latveria was thrown into the movie in a strange, off-handed way that was completely, glaringly, unnatural. Doom's invester says to go back to Latveria? Huh? And the hook to see the sequel? Wow! This lame villain is being shipped back to this country no one in the audience knows the significance of and doesn't care to.
- The Things turning human and making the decision to turn back into the Thing was a wasted moment and executed like crap.

But seriously, if the writers hadn't lost enthusiasm at the end of the film when there should have been a great epic climax with a cool Doom with take-over-the-world ambition, this would have had few mistakes! Sue wasn't flushed out, but it could have been overlooked. Latveria - just don't mention it please! Just...go watch the movie, but leave when the Thing turns human. Sound good? Good.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Kitty Pryde

With "Kitty Pryde: Shadow and Flame" having come out this past week, I'm taking a look back at the Kitty Pryde that I fell in love with. I have to reiterate that Kitty means a lot to me personally, as she's the reason I got into comics. When I was around eleven, I began collecting Marvel Universe (series one) trading cards because some of the other kids on the street were doing so. I saw Shadowcat's card and immediately fell in love with this pretty girl holding her purple dragon. I soon discovered that she was part of this superhero spin-off team named "Excalibur," and I tracked down every issue of the series, falling deeper in love with this smart, opinionated, normal girl from Chicago. I loved her temper, her naivety, her tenderness...and such feelings have remained to the present day. I went back and bought the issue of "Uncanny X-Men" where she originally joined the team and read some of my favorite "X-Men" stories like "The Dark Phoenix Saga (her first appearance)" and "Days of Future Past." Everything new I read just added to my affection until there was no going back. I soon got around to stories of Kitty from "Uncanny" where she discovered her cute dragon Lockheed among the Brood, where he stole away with her and became her constant companion (well, except for at the end of Excalibur where he kind of just...wasn't there). I read "The Demon," where Kitty demolishes the mansion when she'd been left there alone on Christmas and a demon attacks her, and there were classic moments like warding off Dracula with a star of David. I wish everyone could have experienced the character's growth through these adventures. It wasn't until "Kitty Pryde and Wolverine," the mini-series spun out of "Uncanny X-Men" that Kitty had her first real spotlight. There, she met with a demon in Japan named Ogun who possessed her and bequeathed ninja knowledge unto her until she battled Wolverine and expunged the demon. He is probably considered her greatest enemy, although Joss Whedon so expertly pointed out in "Astonishing X-Men's" debut issue that the White Queen of the Hellfire Club (Emma Frost) was the first villain she ever encountered and stood for evil in her eyes. I almost think that Sat-yr-9 from "Excalibur" is her ultimate villain, as the alternate reality version of Courtney Ross replaced the real one of our Earth and continued to be a mother figure to Kitty until she revealed the switcheroo and attacked the team well into the series. It was devastating. Kind of confusing to hear about, but devastating. Speaking of devastated, I was such when "Excalibur" was finally cancelled at issue #125 (I won't even mention the atrocious attempts at revitalizing that series that have occurred since). Other mini-series adventures that Kitty had been on were "Pryde & Wisdom," an X-Filesish adventure with her then-boyfriend Pete Wisdom, "Kitty Pryde: Agent of SHIELD" with Ogun resurfacing, and "MechaniX," a total screw-up of the character by Clairmont. Since then, Kitty has had some tough losses. Moira MacTaggert (a mentor), Illyana (her closest friend), and Colossus (her first and true love) all died in the past decade (isn't it a little strange that Colossus, Illyana and Darkstar were killed off in quick succession - all Russian superheros?). Anyways, Joss Whedon revitalized the character with "Astonishing X-Men," true to the character and making her lines sharp and perfect as ever. She is understood thoroughly by Whedon and depicted in a manner that reminds me of why I fell in love with the character in the first place. (And such attenion bringing about a few busts to snatch up, plenty of wonderful Kitty comics and a role in X3 is a great consequence.) The new mini-series "Kitty Pryde: Shadow and Flame" just debuted and I hate to say much about it after one issue, but I can't help but appreciate the focus on Kitty's relationship with Lockheed, and bringing her back to Japan and Ogun with ninja action ala "Kitty Pryde and Wolverine." I love the art of Paul Smith and definitely think fans of the character will enjoy it. I'll do a full review after the final issue comes out, but as it is, I am pleased. Long live Kitty!! (Or Sprite or Ariel or Shadowcat...)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Reasons Patrick loves comics

Since I admire my boyfriend's comic sensibilities, I thought I would post the things he loves about comics. He couldn't quite get to one hundred because he didn't want to list anything that fell into the "Like" category. Here it is:

74(?!?)*Things I love About Comics
By Patrick Markfort

1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures The first comic book I ever bought was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #3, and this was the first series I “collected.” Beginning with the fifth issue, it began spinning out of the television show to form it’s own complex continuity, with major characters who appeared only in this series or for the first time in this series. I’d love to see someone bring this back into print.

2. First Comics’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles collections Oversized, Color reprints of the original Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird series. I used to get these for Christmas. I especially loved the “Return of the Shredder” story.

3. Memories of good comics at Media Play (of all places) I don’t know why, but for some reason the local Media Play used to have the most diverse array of comics ever to sit on a shelf in St. Cloud, MN. I was too young and unknowledgeable at the time to appreciate all of the European Comics, Horror Manga, and Miracleman Reprints(!) that once lined those shelves, but many of the images affected me greatly and I can still recall them vividly. Lots of nudity and frightening, erotic images, especially as I had only been exposed to mostly Marvel and DC at the time

4. Looking through Previews with David The overwhelming amount of crap can sometimes leave me slightly depressed, but I get over it by the time the next issue is released and genuinely look forward to this monthly ritual.

5. Looking up the new comics list with David

6. Talking about comics with David

7. Making lists about comics

8. Supergirl

9. Marvel Essentials A great way to read a lot of really good comics for really cheap. They look like crap a lot of the time, but given the price I can’t really complain. I’m glad they’ve moved on to the 70’s stuff, as that seems ideal for the format.

10. Refusing to call DC’s B&W reprint series by whatever name they’ve come up with and instead referring to them as “DC Essentials” Seriously, really looking forward to these. One day I’ll have a full book case full of only the Marvel and DC B&W reprints. Sadly, I’m not exaggerating.

11. Really good comic book movies Spider-Man, X-Men, Sin City, American Splendor

12. Great comic book movies Ghost World, Crumb

13. Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World’s Greatest Comics (or whatever the hell the subtitle was) This was the first book about comics I ever read, and much of my knowledge of comics history began here. I haven’t revisited this book in years, but I suspect it would hold up pretty well against my memory of it. Oh, and some nice reprints in the back, including my first exposure the classic Fantastic Four #51.

14. Great books about comics Gerard Jones’ Geeks, Gangsters, and the Men of Tomorrow, Jordan Raphael and Tom Spurgeon’s Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book, Dan Raeburn’s Chris Ware.

15. Comics Bloggers Alan David Done, Neilalien, Sean Collins, Tom Spurgeon, Fanboy Rampage, Egon, Jog, etc.

16. The Comics Journal Essential, and better now than ever under the stewardship of former blogger Dirk Deppey

17. Comic Art Magazine M. Todd Hignite’s wonderful magazine has gorgeous production values and is a nice companion to the more text-heavy Journal. Their “In The Studio” feature is my favorite.

18. Pantheon This forward thinking book publisher has fast become one of the most reliable sources for excellent graphic novels, featuring beautifully produced works by Chris Ware, Art Spiegleman, Dan Clowes, Marjane Satrapi, and others.

19. Fantagraphics The Best Comic Book Publisher. Period.

20. Stan Lee’s dialogue Excelsior!

21. Stan Lee’s and Jack Kirby’s Fantastic Four Possibly the best comic book ever. Well, my favorite anyway. The whole run is good, but Once Joe Sinnott comes on as inker, it’s gold.

22. Tom DeFalco and Paul Ryan’s Fantastic Four This was the first superhero comic book I collected, and I was lucky enough to jump on with DeFalco’s and Ryan’s first issue. I wouldn’t go so far as to call these great comics, in fact much of the run was pretty lousy and they seemed to lose steam towards the end, but for the most part it was a nice, solid effort (with no fill-ins!) that introduced some fun concepts. Lyja, where are you???

23. Jack Kirby’s “Fourth World” comic books (including Jimmy Olsen) The King’s Magnum Opus

24. Recent reprints of Jack Kirby’s 1970’s Marvel comics Why didn’t anyone ever tell me how good Kirby’s 70’s work on Captain America and Black Panther was? In fact, why was I lead to believe that it sucked? More please!

25. Stan Lee’s and Steve Ditko’s Amazing Spider-Man

26. Stan Lee’s and John Romita’s Amazing Spider-Man Especially the very early issues of the run. Romita’s first story, with the reveal of Green Goblin, is probably my favorite Spidey yarn of all time.

27. Brian Michael Bendis The reason I still read so damn many Marvel Comics. Not as gifted as some of the other writers on this list, but frequently capable of some pretty amazing work, particularly when it comes to creating a sense of mood, and manipulation of pace through dialogue and panel configuration. My favorite is Ultimate Spider-Man.

28. Alan Moore The Best Writer in Comics Ever. From Hell is my favorite graphic novel, and it’s just one of Moore’s masterpieces. I admire the man’s skill as an artist as well as his personal integrity. I wish more comics writers had half of Moore’s wit and intelligence.

29. Grant Morrison A great, great, writer. Always interesting to watch what he’s up to, and he’s been on a roll lately. His New X-Men was so much better than it had to be. I read Invisibles at just the right time in my life, when I was prepared to be shown just how versatile and daring the comics medium could (and should) be.

30. Joss Whedon’s and John Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men Not as groundbreaking or innovative as Morrison’s X-Men, but it really doesn’t have to be. Great, straightforward superhero comics, brilliantly drawn. Whedon and Cassaday make it look easy. There should be a lot more mainstream comics that at least try to be this good.

31. Love and Rockets

32. Chris Ware

33. Lynda Barry

34. The Complete Peanuts

35. Kramer’s Ergot

36. Manga and it’s young fans

37. James Kochalka One of the most unique and refreshing personalities in comics. His American Elf deserves a place in the cannon.

38. Frank Quitely Probably the best artist working in the “mainstream.”

39. Wally Wood’s art on Daredevil Lovely.

40. Wizardworld Chicago convention

41. John Stanley’s and Irving Tripp’s Little Lulu

42. Savage Dragon The Ultimate Superhero Comic Book

43. Freak Force A really great Savage Dragon spin-off that hardly anybody read. Jerks.

44. Michael Kupperman Kupperman ALWAYS makes me laugh. That’s not an exaggeration…..he’s one of those artists whose work I just always find humorous. Snake N’ Bacon is the funniest book of any type I own, and I can’t wait for “Tales Designed to Thrizzle.”

45. Kevin Huizenga His new series Or Else has yet to live up the promise of his Kramer’s Ergot contribution, but he’s got to be doing something right it that’s the worst thing I can say about it.

46. Bipolar Not your father’s Hernandez Brothers? Nah, these guys are doing their own thing, and they’re doing it with an astonishing amount of craft and ingenuity. Great, great stuff.

47. 1970’s Marvel Comics Thanks again, Marvel Essentials.

48. Herb Trimpe’s Incredible Hulk Thanks again, Marvel Essentials.

49. Phoebe Gloekner’s Diary of a Teenage Girl

50. The idea of Porter being excited by comics

51. Writing Comics

52. Watching David make comics

53. Discovering great comics via unexpected sources Like Rhonda recommending Lynda Barry, or an animation class in college where I found out about……..

54. Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland Can someone please bring these back into print?

55. George Herriman’s Krazy Kat Sunday pages So far ahead of it’s time I’m still not sure the world is ready for them, but I’m glad Fantagraphics is releasing these so I can show everyone how ahead of the curve I was in 20 years.

56. Robert Crumb I’m really just starting to dig into his work. What an amazing talent.

57. E.C. Segar’s Popeye (Thimble Theater) One of the best comic strips I’ve ever read, unfortunately I’ve read very little of it. I hope hope hope someone brings this back into print. Speaking of out of print…….

58. The Smithsonian Book of Comics (Strips) This massive tome has got to be the greatest anthology of comic strips every produced. A FANTASTIC book. Thank you, St. Cloud Public Library!

59. Harvey and Eisner Awards

60. Indy Magazine A great, probably under appreciated online magazine

61. Ordering Comics online Fun!

62. Matt Brinkman’s Teratoid Heights

63. Jeffrey Brown’s Clumsy

64. Dan Clowes Eight ball #22 and #23

65. Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim The future of comics is now.

66. Kim Deitch I wasn’t taken with his work at first, but a feature in Comic Art (see above) convinced me to give him a second look. Now, I’m loving The Stuff of Dreams. I know, I know, what was I thinking?

67. Marvel Universe Series 1 trading cards Here’s where it all started. If not for these, I may have become a healthy and well adjusted young man. Close one.

68. Paul Hornschemeier I put off reading Mother, Come Home for waaaaay too long. Haunting and brilliant. More please.

69. Katsuhiro Otomo’s Domuu I guess this is probably my favorite manga.

70. Stan Lee’s and Jack Kirby’s Tales of Asgard I really like all of their Thor work, but all the cool kids single out Tales of Asgard.

71. Jack Cole’s Plastic Man Superhero Comics peaked really early, didn’t they?

72. The Mighty Mutanimals A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures spin-off! Cool!

73. David Heatley I really love his storytelling sensibilities, and can’t wait to read more of his stuff. One of the most exciting new talents out there right now, I think.

74. Great comic book stores like Chicago’s Quimby’s and Minneapolis’ Big Brain Comics

* I’ll try to come up with more later to make it 100, but I’m probably getting into things I just LIKE about comics at this point. Ah, well.

And to go one step further on showcasing my beau, I'm listing his top ten comics of 2004. It is halfway through 2005, so we're going to see new, exciting lists before we know it.

10. Rabbithead ~ Rebecca Dart (Alternative Comics)

9. Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life ~ Bryan Lee O'Malley (Oni Press)

8. We3 ~ Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (DC/Vertigo)

7. McSweeney's #13 ~ Chris Ware (Editor) (McSweeney's)

6. Krazy & Ignatz: A Kat a'Lilt with Song: 1931-1932 ~ George Herriman (Fantagraphics)

5. Astonishing X-Men ~ Joss Whedon and Jon Cassaday (Marvel)

4. New X-Men ~ Grant Morrison and various artists (Marvel)

3. Eightball #23 ~ Dan Clowes (Fantagraphics)

2. American Elf ~ James Kochalka (Top Shelf)

1. The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952 and 1953-1954 ~ Charles Schulz (Fantagraphics)

That's it for Pat for now. I'll feature more of his stuff on here in the future!

Monster

If you want to read a good essay on manga creator Naoki Urasawa (who wrote the forthcoming "Monster" manga that I talked about from Previews) click here: http://www.comicbookgalaxy.com/commentary_ak_010305.html

It's a really great look at Urasawa, written by Abhay Khosla, which first informed Patrick of "Monster," and thus excited me in turn.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Looming

Yeah, "Previews" came out this week, so I'm highlighting the upcoming comics that I'm excited about. And speaking of upcoming, the Chicago comic convention is coming up extremely fast. I can't wait. Now that I'm closer than ever, it won't be such an exhausting voyage to attend. But anyways, from the pages of "Previews...."

Dark Horse: I'm excited about the "Sumarai: Heaven and Earth" trade. I went back and forth on getting this one quite a bit as the issues were out, but I opted to wait in hopes for a trade. I'm glad they're collecting it. I loved Marz' samurai stuff at Crossgen, so I'm excited to see what he comes up with without a panel directing the story.

DC: There's great stuff coming out from DC, like the "Kamandi Archives" and "Showcase Presents" trades, but I'm personally most excited to see what Grant Morrison does for his next "Seven Soldiers" mini, "Mister Miracle."

Image: I'm not exactly thrilled with any of the offerings here this month, but I may check out "Fell," the new ongoing from Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith.

Marvel: "Black Widow 2" - Loved the first mini. Who can complain when Sienkiewicz is involved?

Fantagraphics: Continuing their "Complete Peanuts" with volume four, I'd say this is their gem of the month.

Oni Press: Ted Naifeh of "Courtney Crumrin" fame brings a new series to life with "Polly & the Pirates." This is probably what I'm most excited about for the month.

Pantheon: Most people are going to say Chris Ware's "Acme Novelty Library" hardcover, but I honestly haven't checked Ware out yet (I promise to very shortly!). So, I'm going to have to go with the collected "Black Hole" here since I love the art and I plan to read it as soon as I get it.

Speakeasy: I'm going to check out "Atomika" in trade format if it looks interesting, but I'm not exactly gasping with awe at the offerings here.

Top Shelf: I wasn't blown away by the first volume of "Owly," but I do kind of have a certain affection for the character, so I have to highlight "Owly" volume three's debut, especially since I'm planning on getting volume two to give it another go.

Viz: More "Shojo Beat" is going to be a treat. I'm really hungry for more "Nana," but I'm also looking forward to Naoki Urasawa's "Monster." Patrick was the one who got me enthused about this one, but I am definitely going to be checking it out after reading the solicitation.

I'm Back!

Hey - sorry it took so long to post there. I am now officially in Milwaukee (or West Allis) and am moved in quite comfortably. I'm trying to get more comfortable with the area now and start work again on Monday. I was pleased to discover that my local comic store is going to be The Lost World of Wonders, a store we stopped by when we were searching for apartments and were hoping we would be close to. It turns out that it's just down the street. Quite a different story from our previous local comic store in Saint Cloud, MN - Granite City Comics, where you could get practically only DC and Marvel. The Lost World of Wonders has a little bit of everything, which is nice. We probably still have to venture to Chicago to get hard-to-find stuff, at Quimby's or Chicago Comics, but it's a huge step up from Granite City, where one can never even browse. I will, however, miss Big Brain and the Source in Minneapolis.