Archive for January, 2009

25 Random Things

Friday, January 30th, 2009

So there’s this deal on Facebook (yes, I’m on Facebook) where you write 25 random facts about yourself and collect and trade the whole set with your friends. It’s a fun way to find out things about your friends. I’ve had facebook’s note saving application dump two lists before I could save them.

But this blog gets forwarded to my Facebook account, and its editor is good. So, here we go, though admittedly to a potentially larger audience.

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

1. I am not a pretty girl.

2. I do have a pretty gift for quotation, which I’m told is a serviceable substitute for wit.

3. I tend to overthink things. OK, more than tend. But not quite always.

4. I still like to program computers.

5. I believe, deep in my heart, that everybody wants to fly airplanes.

6. I like my family.

7. I live with the best person in the world.

8. I’m pretty cranky for an optimist.

9. I used to be a dog person, but I dote on my cats.

10. I really like to read, especially history and fiction.

11. I never get to all the things I should get to, much less the ones I want to get to.

12. I still read comic books.

13. I like a lot of uncool music.

14. I really need a copy of “Kung Fu Fighting.”

15. I have scared myself in an airplane.

16. I still automatically finish Rocky Horror Picture Show lines.

17. I own a keyboard without letters on the keys.

18. I have been referred to as a probable fatality.

19. I need a new shredder.

20. I’m afraid of hypodermic needles.

21. I usually like going there as much as being there.

22. I think one of my cats likes me more than the other one does.

23. I think 23 is a very important number.

24. I believe science is a powerful way to see clearly, but it requires a commitment.

25. I think 25 is a lot of things to pick if you overthink things. Or even tend to overthink things.

Into the Longbox

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Will Eisner’s The Spirit #25, Aragones, Evanier, Amancio, Barta. Another reasonably diverting Spirit story. I do get a kick out of Amancio’s anatomy. There hasn’t been any unpardonable gaffe for a while, but occasionally his enthusiasm for the female form makes for some unrealistic depictions. Not the usual Power Girl overendowment problems, but some parts do appear to be glued on for effect. It says a lot about the goodwill I’ve built up for the writers that I’m letting that slide.

Doktor Sleepless #11, Ellis, Rodriguez. More of our walk around Heavenside after a few months of Dr. Sleepless stirring the pot. Or really plopping some ingredients into the pot and watching it work, I suppose. I can’t see a new reader jumping in here, but there are plenty of things to notice for the folks already playing along at home.

Sandman: The Dream Hunters #3, Gaiman and Russell. Russell’s adaptation of Gaiman’s classic Sandman story continues to showcase his beautiful draftsmanship and poignant storytelling. There are long lyrical sections where Russell leads us along through the plot without need of words, and exquisite panels where the composition of the frame and figures adds as much to the text as the expressively rendered faces. A master class in comic art.

Secret Six #5, Simone, Scott, Hazlewood. And on the other side of the intellectual spectrum, Simone and company’s wild ride through the DC universe with the villains continues. On the one hand, this is a pure action thriller; on the other hand, it’s remarkably well executed. It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed the ride in a mainstream comic this much, much less gasped at a last page reveal. This is great genre comics. (Actually, it’s great comics, but if you’re not into the underwear perverts, the costumes and genre conventions may prevent your suspension of disbelief.)

Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

The Flying Penguin has an interesting post about the fellow who abandoned his Piper Malibu to fake his death.  The Penguin is always interesting to read, and the crash happened in his airspace so he’s got some info.

New Review

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

I just finished Made In America, Bill Bryson’s treatise on American English.  A short review is up on Bell, Book, and Candle.

Into the longbox

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

Madame Xanadu #6 & #7, Wagner, Hadley, Friend. Still formulaic, and the art’s been forced into dark, dank, boring places. Really tough to keep going. I think I’ll ride along until #10 and drop this if I don’t have a reason to stay by then. Disappointing.

Will Eisner’s The Spirit #23 & #24, Aragones, Evanier, Amancio/Hardin & Fauchier. While I’ve become less impressed with Madame X as time goes on, Aragones, Evanier and their artist team of the month seem to be hitting their stride. Both of these are smooth, fun, clear Spirit romps. Compared to the best of Eisner’s work, they’re feather light, but they have the a breezy amicability that’s hard to resist. Not great comics, but getting to be a solid read.

Captain America #44 & #45, Brubaker, Ross, Laguna & D’Armata/Magyar&D’Armata. These two end the lightweight arc started in #43. A new villian appears, an old friend is kidnapped and we get to see Batroc the Leaper. And oh, how I love Batroc the Leaper… A fun little arc, but nothing too earth-shattering. Hopefully it’s sowing the seeds for some later excitement.

The Spirit Special #1, Will Eisner. Four classic Spirit stories by the master. It’s particularly interesting to compare the two-part Sand Saref story in here to the version done by Cooke, Bone & Stewart in Will Eisner’s The Spirit #12. The core story is almost exactly the same, yet both draw heavily on the visual and cultural idioms of their time to draw the reader in.

Doktor Sleepless #10, Ellis, Rodriguez. It would be nice if Rodriguez could draw more than one female body type. Admittedly, it’s an appealing frame to hang the differentiating hairstyles on, but come on. These couple issues have been more about putting pieces on the board rather than advancing the plot. We’re certainly learning what the good Doktor has been up to lately, but from multiple viewpoints from players being moved into position. Ellis keeps it engrossing by dribbling out the information and introducing interesting new players.

Secret Six #4, Simone, Scott, Hazlewood. Things are getting tough for our protagonists, and they’re not handling it well. That’s to be expected from people, and they continue to be as believable as characters in a super-hero universe can be. There are still chuckles to be had, but the humor’s tending toward the gallows. And, as one might expect, the character with the most integrity is the one with the fewest scruples. Good stuff.

Sandman: The Dream Hunters #2, Gaiman and Russell. Same great story, different beautiful art and visual interpretation. Comics lovers will enjoy comparing and contrasting the visual treatment of Gaiman’s script by two exceptional artists. A casual reader will enjoy the story and visuals on their own. Great stuff.

Incognito #1, Brubaker and Phillips. The creative team from Criminal doing a take on the pulps from the villain’s point of view. I haven’t been reading Criminal, but after this, a trade paperback or two is in order. Gritty, poetic writing with perfect visuals from Phillips. This is the first step into a twisted world, and I’m looking forward to looking around some.

New Reviews

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

Reviews of When You Are Engulfed In Flames and The Stuff Of Thought are posted on Bell, Book, and Candle.