November 29, 2006

• First off, just returned from the movies with (ex-intern) Chris, where we had our minds blown clean off, having seen Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny. Holy Dio help me, how mightily doth they rock!!

Seriously, if you like The D, you'll love this flick. If you don't like The D, well... i'm not sure what to tell you. Because i love Tenacious D!!!!

• Let's all welcome Mr. Eddie Campbell to the blog world, with his Fate of the Artist: A Blog in which The Author Appears as Himself. Eddie is so very erudite, and one of the greatest raconteurs comics has ever known, and his blog is already off to a great start. (In fact, it's so well done i've got a bit of blog-envy myself.)

His recounting of the debacle that was the reprinting of From Hell is superb. Wonderful stuff, Eddie!

• Next up, a call for submissions for the second volume of the Portland Funbook. This coloring book is a fabulous primer on hipster Portland artists, and while only Portlanders can submit, i thought the call itself was worth showing.

• As is my want, i pretty much fall asleep on my office couch every night before bed, after my eyes can't stand the strain of the computer screen. Sometimes i'll catch up on submissions, but as often as not, i'll do what i love most … read comics. Here's what i've had a chance to read lately.

Batman and the Monster Men, by Matt Wagner. Yet another minor masterpiece by Mr. Wagner, this time around, an adventure taking place early in The Bat's career. The villain of the piece, none other than the freaky Hugo Strange, whose appearance is so ghastly, that he embarks on genetic engineering experiments in a quest to become beautiful. (And hence the source of the Monster Men themselves.)

Also, an early love interest for Bruce. I liked this because it showed the slow evolution of how and why Bruce began to see the futility of letting Love into his life. Unlike someone like Peter Parker, who doesn't want his loved ones hurt, as his foes might leverage their safety against his own, Bruce Wayne just doesn't want his mission in life impeded upon. It's not so much that he's selfish per se, but that he's just one determined mother fucker.

Wagner's art … with Dave Stewart's luscious colors… is bitchin' as always. He really understands the fundamentals of comics storytelling (i.e. how to move the narrative forward, panel by panel by panel), and the story moves along like a great clip. The only downside is that the excellent developing mystery is not fully resolved at the end. I'd read that Matt was working on another Batman mini-series, but i wasn't aware that it was continuing straight from this. I only hope DC has the wherewithal to collect the entire story in one volume at some point.

Meathaus Volume 8: Headgames, edited by Farel Dalrymple, and published by Alternative Comics. Yet another splendiferous outing for anthology lovers like myself. Farel's package design and general art direction is gorgeous, and probably more than half of the stories really sang to me. Of these, the bulk of which were much more non-linear than i prefer. Either my own tastes are evolving (likely) or else these strips were stellar (also likely). Standouts include: "Floorpunch," by Becky Cloonan; "Polite Winter," by Kenichi Hoshine and James Jean: (untitled) by Dash Shaw; "What Youth and Beauty These Creatures Bare," by Matthew Woodson; "Ape Theory," by Jim Rugg; "Mind Game Thief," by Jim Mahfood; an untitled autobiographical piece by Nate Powell; "A Collection," by Joseph Beldon; and "Barch and Belf," by Farel himself.