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Testing... Testing... Is this thing on?

Testing... Testing... Is this thing on?

By Jude Terror in Blog on April 3, 2011

So I'm testing out the new blog template. Not much to see here, so I recommend you move along. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Still here? So I'm making the kids some chicken nuggets and tater tots. Got Wrestlemania on with the sound muted. I'm waiting for Amy to get home from work so we can watch it together, but the last time we tried to DVR a PPV, it cut out in the middle and recorded nothing but black screen. I called Comcast and they told me some bullshit like you're not allowed to DVR a PPV or whatever. They were definitely lying, because if you weren't allowed to DVR a PPV, why would you be allowed to DVR a PPV? Physically, I mean. On the box. So fuck them. But just in case, I decided that I'll keep this on while I'm DVRing, so I can see if it goes black again. If it does, I can cancel the DVR and we'll just have to watch it on the replay at 11PM. Pretty click set for Wrestlemania tonight. The ramp is shiny. Now I post some pics, to see if they work. Written or Contributed by: Jude Terror

Hellboy Volume 7: The Troll Witch and Others (October 2007)

Hellboy Volume 7: The Troll Witch and Others (October 2007)

By David Bird in Blog on April 1, 2011

Volume seven is a real boon to Hellboy fans, because it collects together a half dozen stories published outside the comic’s normal run. Four were published in a Dark Horse anthology series put out between 2003 and 2006. These were, in chronological order, The Dark Horse Book of Hauntings, of Witchcraft, of the Dead, and of Monsters. I’d read a couple of these in borrowed copies, but as big a fan as I am, I didn’t feel compelled to buy whole volumes for one story each. The three other stories include one published in Wizard, an original tale done specifically for this collection, and one two parter that actually was published in comic’s regular run.Of the four gathered from the Dark Horse anthologies, “The Ghoul” and “Dr. Carp’s Experiment” are solid, if unremarkable, stories of Hellboy on assignment for the Bureau. All seven stories take place in the past, before our hero struck out on his own. ‘The Troll Witch” is easily the strongest and most effecting in the collection. Based on a Norwegian folktale, it tells the story of two sisters, one beautiful and one ugly. Or trollish. Hellboy is as much an audience member as the reader, but the story loses nothing for that. My favourite, however, is “The Hydra and the Lion,” which tells us the true story of one of the great figures of mythology. This story was done by both Mike Mignola and his daughter Katie. As far as I know, this story is their second collaboration. The other was “The Magician and the Snake” which won them an Eisner, making Katie, at age seven, the youngest person to win the award, and is collected in The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects. I enjoyed both stories enough to believe she could have a future following in her dad’s footsteps.Two of the remaining stories are unconventional vampire tales. The first, “The Penanggalan,” is drawn from Malaysian folklore and tells the story of an old woman who accidentally kicked her own head off and now it leaves her body, with internal organs still attached, and goes out to suck the blood of the living. Another solid story, first published in Wizard, I think its principal strength is that is shows up a pre-modern revenant. The second is “The Vampire of Prague,” illustrated by P. Craig Russell and written for this collection. (The P stands for Philip, by the way.) It tells of a man who is cursed to feast on the living until he can be beaten at cards. Russell was a good choice for a story that takes place in Prague. Its architecture and his art both invoke a fairy tale atmosphere. The story is a humorous one. Its moral: don’t give weapons of mass destruction to Hellboy.The last story is “Makoma.” Other than a few introductory and concluding pages, which were done by Mignola, it is illustrated by Richard Corben. Mignola says that he found this story in an Andrew Lang Fairy Tale book, but couldn’t remember which one. Luckily, I own all the Lang books and can tell you that it’s the first story in The Orange Fairy Tale Book, 1906, “The Story of the Hero Makoma.” He’s a Zimbabwean fold hero. The comic book version was published in two issues in 2006. The first half follows the original tale fairly closely, though in it the hero gained the powers of each giant he defeated, but the second half is all Mignola. This marks the first Hellboy story from Corben, he’s done a few since, and a move by Mignola away from illustrating. His return has been announce, but in the five years since this story, he has not been the principle artist of his creation.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Yes, People Are Strange

Yes, People Are Strange

By David Bird in Blog on March 31, 2011

Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Godzilla: King Of Monsters #1

Godzilla: King Of Monsters #1

By David Bird in Blog on March 30, 2011

Oops! When I did my March round up, I missed one. I was looking at my pull list and forgot all about a special new issue, Godzilla: King of Monsters. My local, Curious Books and Comics, was one of many shops who chose to get stepped on by Godzilla in an effort to boost sales. It certainly boosted the store's profile. More than one person, with zero interest in comics, but aware that I am a customer, had heard about the issue and asked me if I knew about it. And when I brought my copy back to work--I picked it up on my coffee break--a lot of people were checking it out and saying that it was a great idea.Now, personally I am no fan of the giant rubber dinosaur, so I won't be buying more issues, but the first one was good. He shows up and immediately sets to tearing Tokyo apart. The only head scratcher for me was seeing the Japanese use nukes, but I guess that's only slightly less likely than a giant fire-breathing dino. If you do like Godzilla, he is off to a solid start.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

March’s Comics

March’s Comics

By David Bird in Blog on March 25, 2011

Good news! I’ve come up with a great get-rich-quick scheme: pay me not to read your favourite comic! That’s right. Give me money or you’ll never see it again! Pretty much every comic I on my pull list gets delayed and delayed and delayed. This month I was supposed to get Infinite Vacation #2. Ha! B.P.R.D. is the only one that comes out on anything like a monthly schedule. Sure I want to move away from monthlies and towards trades, but if I hadn’t added a couple things this month I would have bought a grand total of two comics this past month. Two. I am not ready for that yet.B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth: Gods #3: Wow! This arc may have only been three issues long, but its been a great arc. A lot of people complained that the last one, King of Fear, which was meant to complete a much longer arc, was a bit of a let down. It certainly made for a dull finish. This one should have been the official end. Great cliff hanger and a huge question mark over the actions of Fenix and Devon. Were they right? What do they know?Batgirl 18 & 19: I had dropped Batgirl and all my other Bat-titles over the last two months, but since I was looking for something to beef up my comics reading I put Steph back on the list. Batgirl may not pull a lot of weight in the DCU. Its actions won’t see any consequences outside its own covers, but if you’re looking for a monthly comics fix this is a reliable, upbeat place to go.They were both solid issues, but I enjoyed issue 18 more. Klarion and Batgirl made for a delightfully funny duo. I particularly like Steph’s little confrontation in Limbo Town. Actually, I liked a lot of things in this issue and laughed out loud more than once. Steph’s quips are starting to remind me of a well written Peter Parker. (Come to think of it, if you throw in her time management problems…) Issue 19 strikes a more serious tone and seems to be bringing elements from earlier issues to a head. it’s the first of a two part-er. For those who’ve read it, please tell that’s meant to be a Bat-Mini Coop and not a Bat-SUV!Casanova Gula #3: Two very strong issues--and that's in spite of the first half being too quick a read. In a nutshell, we get an attack on E.M.P.I.R.E.'s lunar base in the first half and the aftermath in the second. We also lay the seeds for some serious debate/dissension about what it means to be human. Something I hope to see explored in future arcs.Each of these reprints has included an interview and this issue's is with Brendan McCarthy, who has returned to comics after twenty years in film and television. Very interesting. Who Is Jake Ellis? #1 & 2: I also picked up the first two issues of Who Is Jake Ellis?, a new title about a former CIA analyst, Jon Moore, who was detained by persons unknown and escaped due to the mysterious Mr Ellis. That makes it sound a lot more conventional than it is. Ellis is a shadow-like figure than only Moore can see or hear. Moore has been successfully hiding for a few years now, but as our adventure begins his covers blown and everyone is after him.So that’s March. A good month, all-in-all, even if I did have to bulk up my pull list.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Brendan Mccarthy On Hipsterism

Brendan Mccarthy On Hipsterism

By David Bird in Blog on March 17, 2011

These days Hipsterism is a totally safe position, it's just a commodified critique designed to bestow a neutered cultural superiority on some "ironic" smart-asses. It's become a "savvy understanding" of no consequence.Interview with Matt Fraction, Casanova: Gula (2011) #3Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Simon Pegg And Nick Frost As C-3P0 and R2-D2

Simon Pegg And Nick Frost As C-3P0 and R2-D2

By David Bird in Blog on March 16, 2011

See more funny videos and funny pictures at CollegeHumor.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

The Real Heroes Of The Japanese Quake

The Real Heroes Of The Japanese Quake

By David Bird in Blog on March 16, 2011

Of course, there are many, many heroes, but these 50 guys are the top of my list. They are the workers inside the burning reactors. The ones trying to bring it under control. They know what they're doing, so they know they're going die. Some right away, others in a few months, but for the ones actually inside the nuclear plant cancer and radiation poisoning are all but certain.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

B.P.R.D. Volume 6: The Universal Machine (January 2007)

B.P.R.D. Volume 6: The Universal Machine (January 2007)

By David Bird in Blog on March 14, 2011

Its been more than a month since I posted the last volume. I wrote up a synopsis for this one, 1200 words and counting, and then decided to scrap it. That’s way too much synopsis. This project started as a reading group. That group eventually dwindled down to yours truly. I don’t intend to stop, I still enjoy it as a writing project, but I’ve got to work on its direction and find a new balance regarding synopsis, review, and discussion points--which hardly seem necessary if I’m the only one talking.The Universal Machine provides the respite the series needed after two very intense volumes. There are two plot lines: Kate and Devon travel to France in a last bid effort to save Roger, while Ben, Liz, Abe, and Johann sit around and tell “sad ghost stories.” Liz tells one about the death of her family. Its touching, but it doesn’t break any new ground. The other three introduce characters and ideas we will see again, but the story most likely to grab the reader’s attention is Ben’s. He finally gets around to telling them about how he came to spend three days in a body bag. In involves a botched rescue mission in Bolivia, in which his team was killed and half his face was bitten off. Lying there dying he sees a monkey-like creature with the face of a Japanese doll. We’ve seen this creature twice before. The first time was in that same photo album where we met the Black Flame. It was with a woman (whom I assume to have been a Japanese Axis agent) called the Crimson Lotus. The second time was during the Gunter Eiss story. Ben found the creature in a formaldehyde jar and secretly took it. The monkey doll contacts headquarters and apprises them of the team’s situation. Then Ben sees something completely different: a jaguar spirit, with its heart bared like a sacred heart Jesus statuette, reveals himself to Ben and tells him, “The old world is your soul. Leave it there. It is old. The new world is life. Take your life.” That’s when he cuts himself out of the body bag.In France Kate and Devon--this is the first time we meet Andrew Devon, but he becomes a regular member of the team--travel to a village where they hope to purchase a rare alchemic text that they hope will to tell how to resurrect Roger. Of course it isn’t that simple. These things never are. They don’t get the book and everyone is forced to face the reality of Roger’s death. This comes with a five page epilogue drawn by Mignola himself. Johann finally reaches Roger and realizes that he is in a better place. A happier, more peaceful one. His only request is that he gets a funeral. A proper one, befitting the man he never really was. Each of these stories deals with death. Its finality and its enigmatic nature. Roger, who was never a living creature, is truly dead. Sometimes, even in comic books, dead is dead.There were things that didn’t really work for me. When we first see Abe he’s in his room, moping at an old desk, and wearing a red velvet smoking jacket. I know its meant to invoke his 19th century origins, but I kept thinking ‘Abe Hefner?’ But that’s at the beginning of the book. By the time we reach the end Mignola and Arcudi have successfully woven together the many stories into a poignant look at loss.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

World At Large: 2011: The Arab 1848

World At Large: 2011: The Arab 1848

By David Bird in Blog on March 8, 2011

The power of ideas is a cliché we have all grown accustom to, but rarely has the reality been more evident than in the last two months. Throughout the Arab world, from country to country to country, people have rallied and governments have fallen. Over the last decade there has been a lot of focus on the Arab-Islamic world. Much of it, spinning out of 9-11, has been negative, but whatever the talking heads might have said about them, these protests have made clear what the Arab peoples really want: freedom and democracy.Protests like this have happened before. In 1848 an eerily similar wave of popular uprisings swept Europe. Through France, Germany, Poland, Italy, Denmark, and central Europe, people rose up against their monarchies and demanded their liberty. There were no parties or individuals behind it, but in each country the solution to the day’s problems seemed to have one answer: freedom. In France protests and political gatherings were forbidden, but when soldiers fired on a group that refused to disperse, the rioting which followed brought down a king and ushered in a new republic. In Italy the Sicilians freed themselves of the King of Naples andinstituted representative democracy, in central Italy a new Pope, Pius IX, began to free political prisoners and reform the local government, and in the north the Italians rose up against their Austrian master’s repressive rule. The Hungarians demanded autonomy from Vienna. The Germans demanded an end to their petty kingdoms and a unified government. The Poles, the Romanians, everyone wanted reform, and while the various movements were not connected to one another, the idea that they deserved better than the authoritarian traditions that went back centuries caught fire and spread across the continent.This time it began in Tunisia, when a street vendor was denied the right to sell his vegetables. Without any hope for feeding himself or his family, he set himself on fire. Anger at the pettiness of officials exploded everywhere and the unimaginable happened: the government fell. If it could happen in a backwater like Tunisia, why not here? Demonstrations swept across North Africa and the Arab world. In Egypt a strong man of thirty years was forced out and, as I write this, Libya’s protests have ratcheted up to a civil war. There are no opposition leaders. No heir apparent. The people want change and they are fighting, and dying, to get it.Will they get it? Within three years of the Europe’s “Springtime of the Peoples” the counter revolutionaries had overturned all of the gains made in 1848. The French had a new monarchy. The King of Naples retook Sicily. Sometimes the old warhorse of international relations, Stability, was brought back from the outside. The French, even while celebrating their own spring, aided the Austrians in putting down the revolutions in northern Italy. The Russians ended Hungary’s revolution. The Ottomans Romania’s. Many activists and intellectuals fled Europe, but there was something the reactionaries could not restore. Tradition and Divine Right were no longer strong enough platforms on which to support the state, and as the years passed more and more rights were ceded to the people. Not everywhere and not evenly, but freedom and democracy were now the norm and anything else the exception that had to be rationalized and explained.It was less than twelve weeks ago that many intellectuals and foreign policy makers took for granted that Clash of Civilizations view of Western-Islamic relations. Two worlds, one of which valued individualism and personal freedoms, another that was tribal, religious and violent. The strong men who dominated the last fifty years were often horrible and violent despots, but that was what cost of Stability. We want the oil kept flowing. We want peace and security. It was either the Ben Alis, Mubaraks, and Gaddafis, or the Khomeinis and Muslim Brotherhoods. A choice of despots, but despots nevertheless. Those rationalizations have been swept away these past three months. Even if the Arab world’s springtime is pushed back as quickly as Europe’s, we have been shown that the values we have always told ourselves were universal are indeed universal. People want to determine the course of their own lives, whatever their culture or religion, and we can either support that or be as culpable as their past leaders for the harm that follows.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Is Christian Bale's Batman A Prequel To Adam West's?

Is Christian Bale's Batman A Prequel To Adam West's?

By David Bird in Blog on March 6, 2011

Over at CBR Bill Reed makes an argument that's just so crazy... it might be true!Thanks to The Hub, I’ve been treated to an episode of the brilliant 1960s Batman TV show just about every night of the week. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve seen many of these stories, and I’m positively delighted to experience them once again. Being a tenth-level geek, however, has the back of my mind spinning, weaving together connections between the campy pop series and later Bat-lore. The inspiration it provided the Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher films seems readily apparent– Batman Returns borrows a plot from a Penguin episode, Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze may as well be Otto Preminger’s, etc– but what could 60s Batman possibly have in common with the grim avenger from the current Bat-flicks? Why, quite a bit, actually.You see, I’ve determined that Christopher Nolan’s Bat-films take place in the same continuity as the Adam West-led series. Yes– they are prequels, and I can prove it!And does he? Read the rest of the article here and decide for yourself!Originally Pubished at: David Bird

February’s Comics

February’s Comics

By David Bird in Blog on February 27, 2011

DC Comics Presents: Batman : Conspiracy #1: The is the second DC Comics Presents special I’ve picked up featuring the art of J. H. Williams III. Gotta wonder if they’re trying to raise interest in his upcoming Batwoman comic. This one features two stories. The first is a three issue tale from the now defunct Legends of the Dark Knight, written by Doug Moench. Bats is on the trail of cultic serial killers with mob connections. The case takes him to L.A., which is unusual. All-in-all a good story, but Batman is a little out of character at times. He trusts someone too much, and he almost seems to doubt himself at times. I can believe him utterly failing before I can believe him doubting himself. The art here is inked by Mick Gray and consequently doesn’t look like the Williams we’ve come to know. Its still strong. I don’t mean to imply Gray ruins it in any way. Its just different. The second tale, taken from Detective Comics, is one I’ve read before. Written by Dini, its just okay. Very pretty, but just okay. A strength of both stories is that Batman, the world’s greatest detective, does lots of detecting.B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth Gods #2: A very good issue. It ends at the same point as the last issue, telling the same story from the Bureau's perspective, and then takes us just one more panel further. Can’t wait to see what happens next!Bonus points for giving Prof. O'Donnell time to actually say something.Casanova Gula #2: Lots of sex and violence and sex. The sceptic in me wonders if this was to distract from Fraction's move away from the original Fell format (a highly condensed story, told in fewer pages, and sold for less money). By the end of this arc his pacing will be pretty normal.Hellboy: Sleeping & Dead #2: Our hero doesn't do much besides hit things and nothing happens that you don't see coming a mile off, but still an enjoyable conclusion to the last issue's story. I particularly liked the running gag about getting out of the car. Red Robin #20 & Teen Titans #92: Meh. I think they've taken the post-Identity Crisis Calculator a bit too far. First the techno-zombies in Batgirl, now robot duplicates all over the world. His IQ seems to rise as the story demands and its getting a little thin. He’s not Lex Luthor people! Also, Krul doesn’t make the best use of Damien. When written correctly, he’s great at taking the air out of Gotham’s too tightly wound Dark Knight(s). When he isn’t, he just comes across as a whiny brat.Question: When you remove a band-aid, do you do it slowly, hoping to minimize the pain, or do you just yank it off? This week I did a lot of yanking. I dropped four titles. Not a lot for many of you, but a third of my entire pull list. Gone are Batman Inc, Batman: The Dark Knight, Streets of Gotham, and Red Robin. I know there’s only been one issue of Dark Knight. I had intended to get the first arc, but there was nothing in issue one that said ‘You need this book!’ There’s only one issue of Streets to go, but I’d really lost interest a long time ago and I don’t think I need to waste another $2.99 just to have a complete run. Inc and Red Robin were both fine, but neither were gripping me. I may check out the trades later. We’ll see.That only leaves eight titles on my pull list and two of them, Batwoman and Dark Horse Presents, aren’t even out yet: The others are B.P.R.D., Casanova, Hellboy, Infinite Vacation, Mouse Guard and Rasl. Only two of those are published by the Big Two, Batwoman and Casanova, which is put out by a Marvel imprint. That my lowest level since 2004, when I started reading Identity Crisis and then expanded my reading into the greater DCU. I’ve been on capes binges before, often Gotham-centric, but never for this long. I don’t mind getting off that train. What I do mind is not getting out to my local. Its ingrained: Wednesday is comic book day. But for the last two months I’ve only had stuff to pick up every other week. One look at my pull list will tell you it’s not going to get better. B.P.R.D. is the only title that has anything like a monthly schedule. I keep telling myself that I want to switch to trades, and the number of series I follow in trade format is twice as long, but I just can’t seem to break the weekly habit. In fact, I no sooner cancelled the four above than I asked my local to get me issue one of Who Is Jake Ellis? Baby steps, people. Baby steps.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Comics Archive Video

Comics Archive Video

By David Bird in Blog on February 24, 2011

What have I been doing with myself (given that I haven't been blogging)? One thing I've been doing is watching the growing number of very interesting video interviews at Comics Archive. Here's Denny O'Neil comparing writing on computers versus writing on typrwriters:Denny O'Neil Compares Writing on Typewriters and Computers from The Comic Archive on Vimeo.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Rest in Peace, Dwayne McDuffie

Rest in Peace, Dwayne McDuffie

By Greg in Blog on February 23, 2011

The comic world has been hit hard today. I'm still in complete shock and overwhelming sadness over the news today that Dwayne McDuffie, also known as "The Maestro" to many of his fans has passed away due to surgery complications. Upon reading the news, I just sat staring at the screen in school, minutes passing by before I can do anything else. This is a truly sad time for a lot of comic book fans. I actually feel like I want to throw up right now. I've looked up to this man for years and bought and enjoyed so much of his work. Static, Deathlok, Icon, Hardware, JLU, Fantastic Four... We had even interacted to do an interview some point soon. One of my biggest goals was to finally meet this man in person. He's one writer I've looked up to for years that I've never got to meet. As a young black inspiring comic writer, McDuffie opened up my eyes to a lot of aspects of the medium concerning black characters and opening the field for a lot of those characters to be brought in through authentic feeling ways, showcasing characters that felt 3D. McDuffie has always been one writer I've aspired to be like in some of my craft, from his strong character development and commentary to his fantastic and hilarious humor that rang true to human nature, especially in jokes concerning those of African-American backgrounds. Upon telling my best friend this news, not only was he also in shock, but he then came up with a statement saying, "African Americans just took a step back in the comic book world." One can only imagine now with McDuffie's constant fighter for diversity within comics.More often than most, McDuffie always found a way to crack me up with character scenes. Here's one of my absolute favorites that never ceases to crack a smile on my face. I'm more than sure a lot of us black folks can relate to this scene in some way shape or form. Haha!Your guidance and heroism will continue to live on in my heart, Maestro. Thank you so much for all you've done and all your work will continue to do for me and many others as we continue to re-read your craft. Your stories will continue to be there for us. Thank you for all you've done and all your inspiration. A legend may have left our graces, but your grace is still among us.Condolences to all his close friends and family.Originally Pubished at: Minds of Greg

Godzilla Destroys My Local Comics Shop

Godzilla Destroys My Local Comics Shop

By David Bird in Blog on February 12, 2011

How's that for a promotional idea!Originally Pubished at: David Bird

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