May 21, 2006 / More →
My pal Gary Butler wrote this to me a few days ago. My utterly fanboy reply follows.
"Hey, here's a really interesting blog posting about John Byrne and a never-written West Coast Avengers story circa 1989. Best, G"
I've been reading comics for a long long time, and while Byrne is a bad parody of himself now, and frankly, an embarrassment to comics, in his prime (which peaked on his run with Claremont on Uncanny X-Men) he was simply astounding. He did some amazing work on many titles during a solid 10-15 year span: Captain America, Marvel Team-Up, Iron Fist, Fantastic Four, Superman, and even a fun short run on Hulk, not long before Peter David took it over. And for me, the West Coast Avengers was his last hurrah (along with his OMAC mini-series at DC a couple years later), before he lost it forever. Back when his ideas for the mythology were more important than stroking his now-immense (dare i say, planet-sized), living ego.
And while WCA wasn't epic in proportion per se, it was …Â with the unfortunate exception of Wonder Man's mullet …Â really solid super-hero comics, with some interesting continuity tinkering. It was also one of the last projects which he actually cared about drawing with any real panache. The reveal scene at the end of an early issue in this run of WCA, where Wanda finds the Vision dissected on the table, was totally killer. His android insides splayed out like the formaldehyde-stinking frog i squeamishly dissected back in high-school.
Ha! Am i geeking out or what?!
(I guess i could justify my interest in the West Coast Avengers by bring up how Byrne's story idea, of Wanda maxing out here hex powers to "imagine" her twin children out of thin air, is the nugget from which the current super-star Brian Bendis informed his own Avengers Disassembled, and the following House of M. But no... there's no excuse.)
Currently listening to:
Pearl Jam (eponymous)
Neil Young Living With War
Tool 10,000 Days
Picked up a few dvds yesterday at a local used place. They have $5 shelves with titles that come in en masse: Collateral (the most recent Michael Mann flick, and believe it or not, a fine performance by his royal freakness Tom Cruises); About Schmidt (by Alexander Payne, with classic Jack Nicholson; and for an extra 5 bones, and still factory-sealed, Chinatown, a neo-noir classic, and one of Nicholson's greatest roles ever. Oh, and today i was weak, and bought Seth Green's masterful Robot Chicken. If you're a fan of Twisted Toyfare Theater, by the Wizard guys, then you'll LOVE this show. Sick and wrong, and perfect fanboy fare.
May 17, 2006 / More →
I've been so lame at this blog thing, as of late. How do some of these cats put in so many hours on a non-paying gig like blogging? I've gained a huge new respect for the folks who put in the time writing considered thoughts on the comics medium and the industry through which it flows.
Moving right along, if you don't dig hoops, then move on to the pretty pictures up ahead.
Now, i'm a Phoenix Suns fan, first & foremost. I have been for three years or so... since they picked up Steve Nash at point guard, to be exact. Seriously, i love this team. I like the style of ball they play. I like their players. Guys like Boris Diaw, Raja Bell, Leandro (The Brazillian Blur, fastest guy in the NBA) Barbosa, and newly acquired Tim Thomas are all great loads of fun to watch. Game Five is starting right now... gotta run.
(And imagine how they would be playing if they had the injured Man Child and Kenny Thomas playing in their line-up!)
But at any rate, if there is one thing this series has done, it's also made me a fan of the Los Angeles Clippers. With old-school, smack-talkin' leadership by Sam Cassell, the inside presence of the studly (and likable) Elton Brand, young kids like Shawn Livingston, and vets like Catino Mobely... they are a team of the future, and one to watch.
In the end though, neither one of these teams will beat the Juggernaut that is the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals. Mark ("i'm richer than most 3rd-world countries combined) Cuban has finally put together a real contender. And kudos to Avery (The Little Tyrant) Johnson for whipping these guys in defensive hound-dogs.
O.k. On the comics front, last week i sent two new books out the door... keep your eyes peeled for James Kochalka's SuperF*ckers #3 and Lille CarrÃ¨'s Tales of Woodsman Pete.
And in a day or two i'll have the expanded reprint of Jeffrey Brown's cartoon tour de' force I Am Going to be Small, also heading out the door to our friends at Lebonfon.
* Now for some fanboy goodness. Here's a listing of books DC is listing for Fall release. The one's i have my eye on picking up are listed in italics. To which i say, curse you DC Comics! I love this archival work coming out right now, but alas, it's all maybe too rich for my blood. I might be able to score half of these.
Re: Archival work. At this moment, DC is simply shredding Marvel (and Dark Horse as well) in the category. DC's Showcase series has allowed them to re-release some seriously wacky and cool comics. Metamorpho? Yes!
• INFINITE CRISIS HC
• ENEMY ACE ARCHIVES VOL. 2 (Kubert, Russ Heath, Neal Adams, etc.)
• JUSTICE VOL. 1 HC
• SHAZAM FAMILY ARCHIVES VOL. 1
• SHOWCASE PRESENTS: BATMAN VOL. 1 (Infantino at his artistic peak)
• SHOWCASE PRESENTS: CHALLENGERS VOL. 1 (Kirby, Bruno Premiani, Wally Wood, etc.)
• ABSOLUTE NEW FRONTIER (Darwyn Cooke's epic masterpiece)
• ALL-STAR SUPERMAN VOL. 1 (Sublime)
• NEW TEEN TITANS ARCHIVES VOL. 3 (Part of my personal Holy Trinity)
• SHOWCASE PRESENTS: PHANTOM STRANGER VOL. 1
• ADAM STRANGE ARCHIVES VOL. 2 (More delicious Infantino and Murphy Anderson)
• BATMAN: DARK KNIGHT ARCHIVES VOL. 5
• SHOWCASE PRESENTS: SHAZAM VOL. 1
• SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL VOL. 5 TPB
• SPIRIT ARCHIVES VOL. 20 (I've got everything post-WW2)
• GOLDEN AGE DR. FATE ARCHIVES VOL. 1
• NEW TEEN TITANS: TERRA INCOGNITA TPB
• SACHS & VIOLENS TPB
• SHOWCASE PRESENTS: THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER VOL. 1 (Kubert, Doug Wildey, etc.)
Finally, several weeks ago, i posted some rough sketches that Aaron Renier had done, one set for a promotional postcard pimping his excellent graphic novel, Spiral Bound, and the other, the Top Shelf Christmas card for later this year.
Here are the two finals, for your eyes only. Can this guy draw, or what!?
May 8, 2006 / More →
Finally got a chance to read a few things i picked up on the early-season convention circuit:
Soft Smooth Brain #7, by Bwana Spoons. This is one hella kick-ass book. I've been a fan of Bwana Spoons' comics and zines going waaaay back to his seminal Ain't Nothin' Like Fuckin' Moonshine. But this issue of S.S.B. represents a monumental leap in his stylings, reminiscent of Ron Rege or some of the old Fort Thunder peeps. Really solid stuff, and highly recommended. For more info check out www.grasshutcorp.com.
Paperdummy, by Peter Conrad. A mini-comics collection of short autobiographical one-page strips. Ironically, Top Shelf helped spawn a glut of really truly horrible auto-bio comics, with the release of James Kochalka's Sketchbook Diaries. (Which i feel have yet to be bested in this genre.) That said, Pete Conrad has done a wonderful small body of work, which has tons of charm and very witty insight. I'm really impressed with this mini, and hope to see more. I'm reminded of Sean Bieri's Jape comics. Nicely done.
Things Fall Apart. This is the third collection of miscellaneous drawings by Mike Huddleston. Holy fuck, this guy can draw!! Mike did The Coffin (with Phil Hester) with Oni Press a few years ago, Deep Sleeper (also with Phil Hester), Mnemavore (with Ray Fawkes), and is currently drawing a Manbat mini-series written by Bruce Jones. Amazing chops on this cat, all of which is worth tracking down.
Captain America 65th Anniversary Special. We've got the Brub (Ed Brubaker) writing, with Javier Pulido and Marcos Martin crafting spectacular art on an espionage story that goes back to WWII, and a team-up with Sgt. Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos. I haven't read the first collected edition of Ed's run on the regular series yet (though it is in my to-read pile), but if it's half as much fun as this, then i can't wait to dive in. This is a great example of mainstream comics that rock.
Meanwhile, how about those Phoenix Suns, coming back from a 3 games to 1 deficit against Kobe Bryant's L.A. Lakers!! What a killer series this has been. (I LOVE to see the Lakers lose.) Next up, Suns vs. the other L.A. team, the Clippers. Should be good.
May 3, 2006 / More →
First of all, with the news that Lost Girls is at the printer, we're starting to get some buzz. The first 2-part interview that rolled out was conducted by Kurt Amacker over at Cinescape, and it is awesome. Alan really explains how and why this book is so important. Check it out.
Second, as per his usual excellence in blogging, Steven Grant throws in some fabulous insight into the history of comics culture in his new column, and how that has affected scheduling. And i mean that in a not-so-good way. He uses Grant Morrison's 7 Soldiers of Victory as a current example, but this is a widespread problem in mainstream comics;Â announcing and soliciting comics before the work is done, only to lose big face when the book is due, and it's not ready for consumption.
Actually, this is the very same reason why Chris and myself decided, almost a decade ago, that we wouldn't serialize comics at all. In fact, in a sense, we sort of broke the mold, with the decision to not serialize the mammoth Blankets. That (coupled, to be fair, with the phone book Cerebus volumes that Dave Sim has been releasing for forever now), has lead to the current trend for releasing anything and everything in the comics-brick mode. (Maybe i'm talking out of my ass, but i think not. Readers feeling i am talking out of line are welcome to write in, and i'll post their response here.)
Lastly, in the better-late-than-never category, here are the few pics i snapped at APE a few weeks back, before my camera battery died.
Kristen Siebecker and Alex Robinson
Renee French (Wha..?)
Sequential Tart Adrienne Rappaport … Queen of the Beer Taps.