Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Just sort of all over the place on this one

Good morning everyone. I am sleep deprived and a little bored today. I've just been channel surfing the web between bits of working while waiting for that coffee to kick in.

So I thought I would share a few things that I stumbled across today.

Tom Spurgeon wrote a piece over at The Comics Reporter called "25 Emblematic Comics Of The '70s", and his comments on the late 70's X-Men were awesome:

"X-Men #94-128, Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum And John Byrne, Issues Of A Marvel Comic Book Series
This was the first hit in comics fandom (its sales success until the mid-1980s is debatable) after the nadir of 1970s newsstand sales troubles and its concurrent adherence to old ways of publishing nearly brought to an end the mainstream comic book as we know it. Just being the first hit of modern superhero comics fandom might be enough to recommend it, as would being the most successful re-launch of an old concept with new characters. X-Men crystallized a lot of what was entertaining about 1970s superhero comics into portable formula: the plunge into outright soap opera, the slow-burning subplots where it didn't matter if they were resolved or not, the mysterious characters whose backstory was doled out Lost-style in inconceivably tiny, logic-defying increments, the way that the superhero's mission was recast for all time as one of noble struggle as opposed to good winning the day over evil. It also introduced us to the soon-to-upstage-everyone Wolverine, as inexplicable a character to comics as the Fonz was to television sitcoms. Danny DeVito's star-turn on Taxi a possible exception, never have more young people enjoyed someone with that much back hair."

Good stuff there, though just about anything talking about Claremont and Byrne's X-Men will win me over.


The only web comic I check in with daily is Questionable Content, by Jeph Jacques. Right now, it's in the middle of some dramatic tension, but it has a tendency to swerve into the absurd as well. Also, it creepily has a was of mirroring my life, day for day. In order to fully get it, you have to start from the beginning, but the art steadily improves as Jeph finds his groove. It's good stuff.


Dark Horse is reprinting a few of the old, Gold Key "Mighty Samson" comics from the 60's. My uncles read this comic, and my grandfather kept them for years until I was a kid, so even though I'm younger, I read these things growing up. They are seriously weird, and I'm kindo of excited that they're being re-issued. They have a preview here.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Runaways Vol.11

Cover: David Lafuente
Writer: C.B. Cebulski, Kathryn Immonen
Pencils: Sara Pichelli, Patrick Spaziante

I have been a longstanding reader of the Runaways. The Marvel digest format reprinting the books makes it wonderfully affordable, and really is the key factor that keeps me coming back for more, even after a lot of changes to the creative team over the years, from Brian K. Vaughn to Joss Whedon.

The Runaways sort of appeals to me in a way that the New Mutants used to do, as kids in the Marvel Universe, they can act as a tour guide for the MU for newer readers because they also have to be introduced to many facets of the world in which they live.

I'm not all the way through this volume yet, though I am liking it enough to feel comfortable to write about it. The last few books had the kids running all over the place, and through time, and to have them back in the now and without all the crazy Marvel crossovers getting in the way, it feels a lot more like the book I got hooked on and liked so much. the writers do a good job of having the team start to feel a little more like they are Runaways again, while at the same time they keep pumping out the heart-wrenching teen-melodrama that contrasts itself so well against the action and explosions.

Also, I have to show support for anything published in the Marvel Digest format. I wish that Marvel would pump out a few more titles to be collected in this manner. I know that at the very least, my overloaded and sagging bookshelves would appreciate it as much as my wallet does.

11 volumes is a lot, upon reflection. Runaways isn't my favorite comic book. I mean, I do like it, but I don't get really anxious or excited to get the next one. I guess that shows how much I really do like the digest format, as I keep it on my pull list no matter what.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs The World

You know, I waited a very long time to see this movie.

I was very nervous about it as the development went forward. People were cast and promotional photos were revealed. When I heard it was going to star Michael Cera, I let out a veritable "Hunh. Really?" but I was not really put off the project.

When the trailer came out, I was pretty excited, too. I watched it a few times over, just hungry for more.

Well, I saw it last week, and I was not disappointed. It was what I had hoped it to be, and a little more. Michael Cera was a little bit different than how Scott Pilgrim is to me when I read the books, but he was okay. The rest of the casting was pretty awesome, though. Keiran Culkin as Wallace Wells was especially inspired (though it didn't hurt that he was given some of the best lines of dialogue), and the way that Kim Pine (pictured) and Young Neil looked on screen was spot on.

It's a little sad that the movie isn't doing amazing in the box office, but I also understand that the movie itself is probably terrifying and confusing to most people over the age of 45. I don't mean it to be disparaging, but if you've never really understood how video games appeal to you, then this movie is going to weird you out. It's hard to express this properly, but if you weren't raised on Nintendo, much of the appeal of this movie (and plot, I think) will just be lost on you.

(As an aside, I was watching a movie the other day, something from the 70's or 80's, and I was thinking "This is stupid. This would never happen now because of the mighty power of cellphones.")

Anyway. Scott Pilgrim vs The World delivers. Go see it. It's pretty awesome.

Penny Arcade: The Halls Below

I just finished off the sixth volume of the Penny-Arcade collected editions, The Halls Below. This one collects the 2005 strips.

2005 was not the strongest year in PA to begin with. Switching publishers from Dark Horse to Del Rey was also a mistake, as the book itself just felt... cheaper as I was reading it. There was less insight to the strips, and there were these weird splash pages that really just seemed like filler. Add to the mix that the trade dress is different (so now they don't look like a nice, neat series all lined up on my bookcase), and I should probably have just given this book a pass.

It's a shame, too. Penny-Arcade is one of those comics that you really want to like, and want to like it all the time. Some times it delivers and delivers hard, but other times it is just uninspired and sort of blah. This volume, as I mentioned previously, does have the fantastic Skeletor strip, but in this case, visiting it on the web is more gratifying than holding it in your hands.

Gabe's art is very good throughout the book, though. That's worth noting. If nothing else, the strips are pretty to look at. I just think, that as a whole, I've enjoyed this edition the least so far, and I can't really recommend it. It's not like I get comps anymore, so I always feel bad when I go out and buy a book only to be disappointed as I finish it up. Ah well.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

Saw it tonight, and I'll give you a more detailed review later.

I just wanted to say Scott had the most awesome collection of ringer tees.

Some of his t-shirts included:

SP Heart Smashing Pumpkins tee
Zero Smashing Pumpkins tee
Old CBC logo tee
Plumtree tee
Rockband "Bass" logo tee
SARS tee
Fantastic Four 4 1/2 tee (a la Franklin Richards)

I know I'm missing some. Can you help out?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pilgrim Fist Arcade

I got around to reading the final Scott Pilgrim book. I haven't been to see the movie yet, but I will, probably sometime this week.

I really enjoyed the Scott Pilgrim Series, and I'm glad it ended and really told the complete story of Scott and Ramona Flowers. I just wish that there was some way to recover that feeling I had gotten while reading the first book, of just delighted surprise/ WTF?. The rest of the series was great, but it was a little like watching "Fight Club" for the second time, in that you just didn't have that dawning moment of something amazing happening.

The last book was a little padded out for me, as it was my opinion that Bryan Lee O'Malley used many more splash pages than he had previously. The first book, at least in my memory, was much denser materiel to read through than the last one.

In any case, Scott Pilgrim is now officially "a great series" and I look forward to seeing what O'Malley gets up to next. I always liked "Lost At Sea", so I think that he's not Just a one trick pony.


I recently had my copies for the first 3 HC Iron Fist books returned to me, and I have been slowly rereading them. Usually just before bed, and maybe an issue at a time. But hot damn, do I love those books. It's a great kung fu action movie in comic form, and that in and of itself is very rare. I've had the 5th book on the shelf waiting for me, but I was putting it off until I could go over the first few books again.


I have also been reading "Penny Arcade vol. 6" this week. I love Penny Arcade, but this book has been losing steam. Maybe 2005 was just a weak year for the guys. I think I bought this one just to own the Skeletor/Wikipedia strip.

I think that Tycho's commentary has also been weaker in this edition compared to the first five. That's a little sad to me. He's not been catty enough. Not wise and insightful enough.

Even the cover isn't as great as the other volumes. I'm bummed, because I want to love this book, but I can't.