Monday, February 26, 2007

Comic Reviews

This week I wanted to offer up some brief write-ups on comics that have recently caught my eye. I read a lot of comics and cover a pretty diverse variety of books. I love the Archive editions of classic old works, especially silver age DC and the recent line of EC Archives. Great stuff, but at $50 a pop ($33 on Amazon) I can only afford so many. I have decided to purchase the entire line of the EC books, since I consider these to be the some of the best stories ever published in the field. I enjoy the cheaper Essential and Showcase printings (particularly the Marvel stuff. It seems to me that DC's Silver Age stuff is superior to most of the early Marvel stuff but Marvel's 70's output had so many talented creators just throwing stuff out there that it's easy to get caught up in their energy and forgive the mistakes. - Hell, one of my favorite books, recently reprinted in a full color version was the Champions, a West Coast based Marvel super team made up of Russian super spy defector the Black Widow, Hercules (from Greek Myth), former X-Men Iceman and the Angel, and satanically cursed motorcyclist Ghost Rider! There is no logical reason whatsoever that this grouping of people should exist, yet they were damned entertaining.

A few recent books have stood out for me. First up is Batman 663, written by Grant Morrison with art by John Van Fleet. As is often the case, Morrison defies traditional comic book layout for a slick pulpy feel with painted images accompanied by large chunks of text. The most important issue is his introduction of the newest incarnation of the Joker, and while I read the book I shivered with chills. really. Grant's Joker is a vision of true criminal insanity, genius wed to sadism and evil. No logic, no reasoning, no endgame or purpose, just pathological violence and gleeful mayhem. Disturbing and compelling, it is an absolute must read. (As a one issue vision of the Joker, it brings to mind The Killing Joke, by Alan Moore, another must read. That version has a twisted Joker, but one who is still trying to make a point (the thin line of sanity we all tread, and how easily any man can be pushed across that line.) - Morrison's issue was so good I pulled out my hardcover version of Arkham Asylum to reread, (eventually, but with a small box of unread comics, trades, GN's and Doc Savage pulp reprints, pluse a stack of DVDS, and prose reading... well, you get the picture.

Blade 6 - I'm not a huge fan of Blade the vampire slayer. I've read his appearances in Essential Tomb of Dracula, and I saw the movies. The selling point for me on this new Blade series was initially the Howard Chaykin art (although I still prefer Chaykin when he operates in auteur mode, pencilling, writing, and inking his own work). I've been pleasantly surprised with Marc Guggenheims writing, as he has worked hard to integrate Blade into some level of interaction with the Marvel Universe proper (without resorting to shameless guest starring shots to boost sales). He also does a nice job utilizing a split screen style of storytelling, telling bits of Blade's past and intercutting with current events that spring from or are connected to the past scenes. This technique could (and will) eventually grow old, but it continues to work quite well for now.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Family Guy Rules!

Family Guy freaking rocks. I made myself stay up far too late, partly prompted by Mr. Greens urging, and find myself sequestered in the attic, sitting on a desk chair, watching the TV. The little cat is howling pointlessly and Peter Griffin is facing a foreclosure on his home.

I love Wednesdays, as any self respecting comic fan can tell you, because it's the new comic day. If you combine comic book day with Friday's new big screen releases (less important to me than ever, but still bears mentioning). Tuesday is new release day for DVD's, a big day for purchasers of DVD's or renters. ( I fondly remember the rough Savannah years, when I was miserable, but a late monday night managing Blockbusters ended with me bringing home the newest releases, and if I were lucky enough to not have to be up early the next morning for one of my two crappy jobs, I would stop at a 7/11 and buy a few cheap 40 oz. budweisers, come home, stay up really late watching flix and passing out on the couch or living room floor (ah, good times!!!) -

Thursdays, not so much.

Beast Out

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sick Day

I have taken a sick day today. My sinuses have been bothering me since Sat. afternoon and it was really sapping my energy, but the truth is that if I had something scheduled today I would have went in. The annoying thing is the mental process I go through whenever I use a sick day of choice (S.D.O.C.) (minor illness) vs. a sick day when you are running a fever, vomiting, lying in a cold sweat wrapped up in the blankets. Those are easy, because the decision is made for you, but the S.D.O.C. is a tougher call. Here is a brief walk through of the process.

1) Don't want to go to work, feeling sort of sick, but definitely something you could fight through if you absolutely had to. The mind begins figuring out some of the variables; such as how many days do I have, when is the last time I used one, do I have anything scheduled today. (I don't believe in missing if there are meetings are appointments scheduled)

2) If there is reasonable time (after thinking through the rest of year and mentally noting future days off (vacation time, long weekends, etc.) and nothing is scheduled, the next thought is whether or not this day is worth using the personal time on. This is the toughest call, because a day off is precious, something to be savored and appreciated. I remember that when I was a kid, my dad busted his ass and always went to work. He worked night crew for a Grocery chain, and he had an immense work ethic. He struggled through snow and ice, through exhaustion and sickness, and his reward was a company that made the last decade of his work life miserable, fought against his medical rights when his body finally broke down, and demoted him when he stood up for the workers under his authority. Valuable lessons to learn, for me.

I am lucky enough to work in an office where people are treated well, so I never want to take advantage. On the other hand, the cliche of lying on one's death bed and not wishing to have worked more and spend less quality personal time holds substantial weight.

It must be the Catholic upbringing in me that makes decisions so agonizing. The classic Catholic model; make a decision, worry about it, feel guilt about it, have your enjoyment of the fruits of the decision compromised, go the bed.

Beast out

Monday, February 19, 2007

Evil Dead

I'm currently watching The Evil Dead. This was one of those 5 buck DVD's that Circuit City and Best Buy occasionally drop on sale. I think it was probably in the fall, and I remember picking up Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead and Evil Dead II for 5 bucks apiece. Classic example of me not needing those flix but decided that it was worth it to me to pay that price to have these movies in my house, ready to watch whenever I wanted. Plus they could be nicely stacked with my other DVDS, and would fulfill some of my obsessive collector ways. (Sam
Raimi films, like Spider-Man I and II, Army of Darkness, A Simple Plan, Darkman. Movies that have comic book translations. Collecting can be a sad sorry disease.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Boston College - Thug University of New England

Future Mug Shot for Master Thug, loud mouthed Punk, Sean Marshall

Currently watching the incredibly classy Duke Blue Devils, the class of college basketball over the last decade and probably the last two decades. They are competing with Boston College, and I remembered the games last year, in which Sean Marshall, (picture above) the street urchin, hollering and screaming, street style, no class scumbag who talked lots of garbage last year while trying to shut down J.J. Reddick (He failed, and Duke won ). I've noticed today that Marshall has some stupid head shaving logo look going on, and half of his team bitches and moans on almost every call they don't like in the game.

Hmm, reminds me of my youth, playing pick up ball in the park. Street ballers were impossible toplay with, because no on passes, every play leads to a bunch of bitching and moaning, the talking is non stop. Way to go, coach Skinner, you are building the Miami University football team of ACC Hoops.

Update: with under 12 minutes left, Duke is up 20, at BC. Duke, fighing against a 4 game losing streak, and trying not to lose 5 in a row for the first time ever . BC has given up multiple lay ups, fast breaks, with nobody even hustiling back. that is the difference between teams with class and character like Duke. They hyu7stle no matter what the score, while the street urchin thug teams like B.C. pack it in when things get tough.

Beast out