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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Exhausting Invasion -- Yep, I'm still watching Invasion Iowa on Spike TV, and man, is it ever not getting any better.

I had an epiphany while watching the opening credits of the penultimate episode tonight; Shatner goes on about how this character is kooky, that one's insane, Shatner is eccentric -- and there are moments in each episode where this comes through, but the pace and editing are so slow and unaccomplished that the gag just doesn't sustain viewer interest.

I think the fatal flaw was making this thing five hours long. There were enough good, funny moments -- like Shatner eating off the guy's plate in the diner in the first episode -- that you could have gotten a very funny, solid two-hour special out of the premise. But for whatever reason, they decided to make it a week-long thing, and it just doesn't work. Shatner isn't eccentric enough, there's almost never a sense that the thing is getting dangerous or out of control, and the one moment that had potential in last night's episode, when one of the town residents realized that things were starting to seem more like a reality TV show than a real movie -- they took him out of the show! There had to be a better, funnier way to deal with his suspicions, but instead, he's just shuffled off and forgotten.

Two more hours to go on this thing, tomorrow night's two hour finale. I guess I'll watch it, but the whole thing really has been a lost opportunity in what could have been a very funny TV event.

Countdown to Infinite Crisis Critical Corral -- Ian Brill works hard so I don't have to.

Milo's Movie Meme Moment -- I don't know which I love him more for*, owning Orson Welles's F For Fake (one of the greatest movies ever), or not owning any Star Trek movies. But here's his list, anyway, and a one-day-early HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, Milo, and thanks so much for your efforts to end the scourge of Endemic Treponematosis.

* Actually, I love Milo most for being the first editor to ask me to contribute to The Comics Journal.

Snapshot -- Watched Lost with my wife this morning. Library holding America The Book by Jon Stewart for me. Stewart is America's Last Journalist. My daughter has started writing and drawing a comic called "Detective 12." She's using comic-swearing, but doesn't quite get it, using words like "S&#T." I must explain this to her quickly.

New Reviews -- The main site has some new reviews for you today, including Jason Marcy's look at Muzzlers, Guzzlers and Good Yeggs, Pat Markfort on Ministry of Space and Jef Harmatz on Bill and Ted's Most Excellent Adventures. Enjoy!

Countdown Commentary Crisis -- Here's the divine Abhay Khosla on Countdown to Infinite Crisis, and here's me responding.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Invasion Iowa -- I was pretty disappointed in last night's debut of Invasion Iowa, a William Shatner-starring reality TV series airing every night through Friday on the Spike network.

The people of a small Iowa town are told that Shatner is filming a science-fiction movie in their town, and a handful of town residents is chosen to play parts in the film. What they don't know is that there is no movie, that the joke's on them as Shatner and his "film crew" act like jerks and see what happens.

Not much, one episode in. There were some funny moments -- such as when Shatner starts eating off someone's plate at the local diner, a la Samuel Jackson's Big Kahuna Burger scene in Pulp Fiction, or when he deigns to allow a town resident to "touch his Emmy."

The pacing is glacial, though, with endless minutes between amusing scenes, and most fatally of all, genuinely touching moments like when an elderly woman brings Shatner and Co. a homemade apple pie, obviously touching them all in a very genuine way and making the whole thing seem awkward at best and downright cruel at worst.

I'm loving Shatner's current revival as Denny Crane on Boston Legal enough to see this series through in the hopes that it delivers on its potential-filled premise, but when you've got five hours to play with (Friday's finale is two hours), the failure of the first hour does not bode well for the rest.

If I had to boil it down, we could have used a lot more Denny Crane and a bit less TJ Hooker to make this thing work. Shatner seems to be playing it too straight, perhaps in hopes of not giving away the gag too early, but his earnestness and the first episode's laff deficit has me only mildly interested in seeing how the rest of this thing pans out.

Snapshot -- Shopping for food. Low blood sugar. Can't think straight. Why are so damn many people in the store? Why is my wife asleep? Hauling $150.00 in groceries into the house. Make toast. Shaky. Gah.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Jay's Days Contest! -- Nik at Spatula Forum is giving away Jay's Days stuff! Jason Marcy is one of my favourite autobiographical cartoonists, and a good friend, to boot. If you haven't read his comics yet, here's a great opportunity to see what all the fuss is about! Click on over and enter today!

Marc Mason Rises to the Challenge! -- I sent Movie Poop Shoot's Should It Be A Movie? Maven a note a few weeks back good-naturedly taking him to task for not having read Dave Cooper's mind-blowing and disturbing graphic novel Ripple. This is the book that in my Best of 2003 article I highlighted for "Best Humanistic Depiction of Depravity," saying:
Dave Cooper’s Ripple is the harrowing story of an artist’s obsession with his grotesque muse; the great accomplishment of the work is how Cooper manages, quite deftly, to get the reader fully involved in this obsession. It’s the most convincing depiction of strange attraction I’ve ever seen.

In his column today, Marc takes the plunge, diving into one of the more challenging graphic novels of the past decade. Did he like it? Did he come away from it with a new appreciation for, shall we say, "mostly pillowy girls?" Go read his column and be enlightened.

Oh, and Marc also looks at the new Buddy Does Seattle collection from Fantagraphics, another excellent book that I can recommend without reservation. I was surprised by how well Peter Bagge's seminal Seattle-in-the-'90s set piece/sitcom holds up. Great, observant storytelling that is often laugh-out-loud funny and rewards multiple reads. The smaller, manga-size format serves Bagge's cartooning extremely well, too.

Monday, March 28, 2005

A Feast Fit For Bush's America -- Go ahead, America, die faster.

The Great Movie Meme -- Following up on The Book Meme to End All Book Memes, here's the same idea, only with movies. The movie list takes as its starting point Roger Ebert's The Great Movies list, I added some comics-centric titles and most everything I own, and it should be noted that additional information comes from IMDB.com. Feel free to add as many of your own choices as you like, just try to keep it alphabetical.

- BOLD movies you own in your personal video/DVD library
- ITALICS for movies you have seen
- Leave plain movies you haven't seen
- Pass it on to three people at the end

The Big Red One (1980)
12 Angry Men (1957)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
28 Days Later (2002)
The 400 Blows (1959)
8 1/2 (1963)
Adaptation. (2002)
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1939)
After Dark, My Sweet (1990)
Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
Alien (1979)
All About Eve (1950)
Amadeus (1984)
Amarcord (1974)
American Beauty (1999)
The American President (1995)
American Splendor (2003)
The Animatrix (2003)
Annie Hall (1977)
The Apartment (1960)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
The Apu Trilogy (1959)
Around the Bend (2004)
Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)
The Band Wagon (1953)
The Bank Dick (1940)
Barefoot Gen (Hadashi no Gen) (1983)
Batman (1989)
The Battle of Algiers (1967)
Battle Royale (Batoru rowaiaru) (2000)
The Battleship Potemkin (1925)
Beat the Devil (1954)
Beauty and the Beast (1946)
Being John Malkovich (1999)
Being There (1979)
Belle de Jour (1967)
The Bicycle Thief (1949)
The Big Heat (1953)
The Big One (1997)
The Big Sleep (1946)
The Birth of a Nation (1915)
Blowup (1966)
The Blue Kite (1993)
Blue Velvet (1986)
Bob le Flambeur (1955)
Body Heat (1981)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Bound (1996)
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
Breathless (1960)
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)
Broken Blossoms (1919)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Kabinett des Doktor Caligari, Das) (1920)
Casablanca (1942)
Chasing Amy
Children of Paradise (1945)
Chinatown (1974)
A Christmas Story (1983)
Citizen Kane (1941)
City Lights (1931)
The Color Purple (1985)
Comic Book Villains (2002)
Conan the Barbarian (1982)
The Conversation (1974)
Cries and Whispers (1972)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Wo hu cang long) (2000)
Crumb (1994)
Damage (1992)
Daredevil (2003)
Day for Night (1973)
The Day of the Dolphin (1973)
Days of Heaven (1978)
The Decalogue (1988)
Detour (1945)
Die Hard (1988)
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Donnie Darko (2001)
Don't Look Now (1974)
Double Indemnity (1944)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Dracula (1931)
Duck Soup (1933)
Dune (1984)
E.T - The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
The Earrings of Madame de... (1953)
Easy Rider (1969)
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Ed Wood (1994)
Elektra (2005)
The Elephant Man (1980)
El Norte (1983)
Eraserhead (1977)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
The Exterminating Angel (1962)
The Fall of the House of Usher (1928)
Fanny and Alexander (1983)
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
Fargo (1996)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
F for Fake (Vérités et mensonges) (1976)
The Firemen's Ball (1968)
Five Easy Pieces (1970)
Floating Weeds (1959)
Four Rooms (1995)
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
From Hell (2001)
Gates of Heaven (1978)
The General (1927)
Ghost World (2000)
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
The Godfather (1972)
Goldfinger (1964)
Gone With the Wind (1939)
The Goodbye Girl (1977)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1968)
GoodFellas (1991)
Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)
Grand Illusion (1937)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Great Expectations (1946)
Greed (1925)
Groundhog Day (1993)
The Hand (1981)
A Hard Day's Night (1964)
The Hearts of Age (1934)
Hellboy (2004)
High Fidelity (2000)
Hoop Dreams (1994)
House of Games (1987)
The Hustler (1961)
Ikiru (1952)
In Cold Blood (1967)
The Incredibles (2004)
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Jackie Brown (1997)
Jaws (1975)
JFK (1991)
Jules and Jim (1961)
Juliet of the Spirits (1965)
Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)
Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004)
Killing Zoe (1994)
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
King Kong (1933)
L'Atalante (1934)
L'Avventura (1960)
La Dolce Vita (1960)
The Lady Eve (1941)
The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
The Last Laugh (1924)
The Last Picture Show (1971)
Last Tango in Paris (1972)
Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
Late Spring (1972)
The Lathe of Heaven (1980)
Laura (1944)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Le Boucher / The Butcher (2003)
Le Samourai (1967)
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
The Leopard (1963)
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
The Lion King (1994)
Lolita (1962)
Lolita (1997)
Lost Highway (1997)
M (1931)
The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
The Man Who Laughs (1928)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Manhattan (1979)
The Matrix (1999)
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Mean Streets (1973)
Metropolis (1926)
Mon Oncle (1958)
Moonstruck (1987)
Mr. Hulot's Holiday (1953)
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
The Music Room (1958)
My Darling Clementine (1946)
My Dinner With Andre (1981)
My Life to Live / Vivre sa Vie (1963)
My Neighbor Totoro (1993)
Nashville (1975)
Natural Born Killers (1994)
Network (1976)
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Nights of Cabiria (1957)
Nosferatu (1922)
Notorious (1946)
Not Without My Daughter (1991)
On the Waterfront (1954)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Orpheus (1949)
Out of the Past (1947)
Pandora's Box (1928)
Paris, Texas (1984)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
Paths of Glory (1957)
Patton (1970)
Peeping Tom (1960)
Persona (1966)
The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Pickpocket (1959)
Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
Pinocchio (1940)
Pixote (1981)
Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
Playtime (1967)
The Producers (1968)
The Prophecy (1995)
Psycho (1960)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Raging Bull (1980)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Raise the Red Lantern (1990101)
Ran (1985)
Rashomon (1950101)
Rear Window (1954)
Blue, White, Red (1994)
Red River (1948)
The Red Shoes (1948)
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Return to Glennascaul (Orson Welles' Ghost Story) (1951)
Rififi (1954)
The Right Stuff (1983)
Roger & Me (1989)
Romeo and Juliet (1968)
The Rules of the Game (1939)
Santa Sangre (1989)
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Say Anything (1989)
Scarface (1983)
The Scarlet Empress (1934)
Schindler's List (1993)
The Searchers (1956)
Se7en (1995)
The Seven Samurai (1954)
The Seventh Seal (1957)
Shane (1953)
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Solaris (1972)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)
Spider-Man (2002)
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
Star Trek Generations (1994)
Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
Star Wars (1977)
The Straight Story (1999)
The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It (1977)
The Stranger (1946)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Stroszek (1977)
A Sunday in the Country (1984)
Superman (1978)
Sunrise (1928)
Sunset Boulevard (1950)
The Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
Swing Time (1936)
A Tale of Winter (1992)
The Tao of Steve (2000)
Taxi Driver (1976)
The Terminator (1984)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
The Thin Man (1934)
The Third Man (1949)
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Three Colors Trilogy (1994)
Three Women (1977)
Tokyo Story (1953)
Touch of Evil (1958)
Touchez Pas au Grisbi (1954)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
The Trial (Procès, Le) (1962)
Trouble in Paradise (1932)
True Romance (1993)
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)
Ugetsu (1953)
Umberto D (1952)
Un Chien Andalou (1928)
Unforgiven (1992)
Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election (2002)
The Up Documentaries (1985)
Vertigo (1958)
Victim (1961)
Walkabout (1971)
West Side Story (1961)
Where the Buffalo Roam (1980)
Wild at Heart (1990)
The Wild Bunch (1969)
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Wings of Desire (1988)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Woman in the Dunes (1964)
A Woman Under the Influence (1974)
A Woman's Tale (1992)
The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (Macht der Bilder: Leni Riefenstahl, Die) (1993)
Written on the Wind (1956)
X-Men (2000)
X-Men 2: X-Men United (X2) (2003)
xXx (2002)
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
A Year of the Quiet Sun (1984)
Yellow Submarine (1968)

I'm handing this off to Milo, Dara and Mick.

The Monday Briefing -- Yesterday was surprisingly quiet -- my family and I ventured down to Saratoga Springs, but the only place that was open was Borders, so we weren't there terribly long. I did find an American Splendor anthology that I'd been missing, so the trip wasn't a total loss. Speaking of words that almost sound like "loss," we did nearly get "lost" on the way home when I made one of my periodic decisions to "Hey, let's try that way!" and we ended up on a particularly long and winding mountain road. Pro: Kids got to see a deer cross the road in front of us. Con: Almost lost control of the car when we drove into a pile of sand (?!?) in the middle of the road at full speed.

I was impressed by Tony Isabella's Easter column, in which he frankly discusses the difficulties facing a religious person who actually wants to participate in his religion in the current era of intolerance, fear-mongering and hatred. It's one of Tony's best columns ever, even if it isn't about comics.

So, Beaucoup Kevin has more than once proven his musical tastes to me, with the MP3 mixes he has posted over the past few months all being uniformly excellent and quite in keeping with the sort of music I personally enjoy listening to, whether relaxing at home or losing control of the car when driving into a pile of sand in the middle of the road at full speed. (Okay, truth be told, we were listening to Green Day's American Idiot at the time, but Kevin's mixes are still top-notch in my book).

Anyway, Sir Kevin of Beaucoup is currently running down a long list of his 50 Favourite Albums, and there's some tasty choices on there, to be certain. Click on over to his site and just start reading.

You already know that Derek Martinez is blogging again, but did you know that he's also reviewing comics? Click that there link for his look at Shaolin Cowboy.

Hypocrites "R" US: Look what Diamond thinks is okay to put in their catalog. The "come hither" look just makes it shine.

Oh, hey, happy belated birthday to Greg's McElhatton. And it looks like we're both looking forward to a lot of the same comics in the months ahead.

Enjoy your Monday.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

The Book Meme to End All Book Memes -- Nicked from Andrew Foster's LiveJournal:

- Bold those you have read
- Italicize those you started, but didn't finish
- Add three books after the last one

001. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
002. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
003. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
004. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
005. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
006. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
007. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
008. 1984, George Orwell
009. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
010. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
011. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
012. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
013. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
014. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
015. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
016. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
017. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
018. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
019. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
020. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
021. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
022. Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone, JK Rowling
023. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
024. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
025. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
026. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
027. Middlemarch, George Eliot
028. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
029. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
030. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
031. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
032. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
033. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
034. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
035. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
036. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
037. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
038. Persuasion, Jane Austen
039. Dune, Frank Herbert
040. Emma, Jane Austen
041. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
042. Watership Down, Richard Adams
043. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
044. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
045. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
046. Animal Farm, George Orwell
047. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
048. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
049. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
050. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
051. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
052. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
053. The Stand, Stephen King
054. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
055. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
056. The BFG, Roald Dahl
057. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
058. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
059. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
060. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
061. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
062. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
063. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
064. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
065. Mort, Terry Pratchett
066. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
067. The Magus, John Fowles
068. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
069. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
070. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
071. Perfume, Patrick Susskind
072. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
073. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
074. Matilda, Roald Dahl
075. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
076. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
077. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
078. Ulysses, James Joyce
079. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
080. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
081. The Twits, Roald Dahl
082. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
083. Holes, Louis Sachar
084. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
085. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
086. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
087. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
088. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
089. Magician, Raymond E Feist
090. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
091. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
092. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
093. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
094. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
095. Katherine, Anya Seton
096. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
097. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
098. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
099. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
101. Three Men In A Boat, Jerome K. Jerome
102. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
103. The Beach, Alex Garland
104. Dracula, Bram Stoker
105. Point Blanc, Anthony Horowitz
106. The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens
107. Stormbreaker, Anthony Horowitz
108. The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks
109. The Day Of The Jackal, Frederick Forsyth
110. The Illustrated Mum, Jacqueline Wilson
111. Jude The Obscure, Thomas Hardy
112. The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13 1/2, Sue Townsend
113. The Cruel Sea, Nicholas Monsarrat
114. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
115. The Mayor Of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy
116. The Dare Game, Jacqueline Wilson
117. Bad Girls, Jacqueline Wilson
118. The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
119. Shogun, James Clavell
120. The Day Of The Triffids, John Wyndham
121. Lola Rose, Jacqueline Wilson
122. Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray
123. The Forsyte Saga, John Galsworthy
124. House Of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski
125. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
126. Reaper Man, Terry Pratchett
127. Angus, Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging, Louise Rennison
128. The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle
129. Possession, A. S. Byatt
130. The Master And Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
131. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
132. Danny The Champion Of The World, Roald Dahl
133. East Of Eden, John Steinbeck
134. George's Marvellous Medicine, Roald Dahl
135. Wyrd Sisters, Terry Pratchett
136. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
137. Hogfather, Terry Pratchett
138. The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan
139. Girls In Tears, Jacqueline Wilson
140. Sleepovers, Jacqueline Wilson
141. All Quiet On The Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
142. Behind The Scenes At The Museum, Kate Atkinson
143. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
144. It, Stephen King
145. James And The Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
146. The Green Mile, Stephen King
147. Papillon, Henri Charriere
148. Men At Arms, Terry Pratchett
149. Master And Commander, Patrick O'Brian
150. Skeleton Key, Anthony Horowitz
151. Soul Music, Terry Pratchett
152. Thief Of Time, Terry Pratchett
153. The Fifth Elephant, Terry Pratchett
154. Atonement, Ian McEwan
155. Secrets, Jacqueline Wilson
156. The Silver Sword, Ian Serraillier
157. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey
158. Heart Of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
159. Kim, Rudyard Kipling
160. Cross Stitch, Diana Gabaldon
161. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
162. River God, Wilbur Smith
163. Sunset Song, Lewis Grassic Gibbon
164. The Shipping News, Annie Proulx
165. The World According To Garp, John Irving
166. Lorna Doone, R. D. Blackmore
167. Girls Out Late, Jacqueline Wilson
168. The Far Pavilions, M. M. Kaye
169. The Witches, Roald Dahl
170. Charlotte's Web, E. B. White
171. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
172. They Used To Play On Grass, Terry Venables and Gordon Williams
173. The Old Man And The Sea, Ernest Hemingway
174. The Name Of The Rose, Umberto Eco
175. Sophie's World, Jostein Gaarder
176. Dustbin Baby, Jacqueline Wilson
177. Fantastic Mr. Fox, Roald Dahl
178. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
179. Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, Richard Bach
180. The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupery
181. The Suitcase Kid, Jacqueline Wilson
182. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
183. The Power Of One, Bryce Courtenay
184. Silas Marner, George Eliot
185. American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis
186. The Diary Of A Nobody, George and Weedon Gross-mith
187. Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh
188. Goosebumps, R. L. Stine
189. Heidi, Johanna Spyri
190. Sons And Lovers, D. H. Lawrence
191. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
192. Man And Boy, Tony Parsons
193. The Truth, Terry Pratchett
194. The War Of The Worlds, H. G. Wells
195. The Horse Whisperer, Nicholas Evans
196. A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
197. Witches Abroad, Terry Pratchett
198. The Once And Future King, T. H. White
199. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
200. Flowers In The Attic, Virginia Andrews
201. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
202. The Eye of the World, Robert Jordan
203. The Great Hunt, Robert Jordan
204. The Dragon Reborn, Robert Jordan
205. Fires of Heaven, Robert Jordan
206. Lord of Chaos, Robert Jordan
207. Winter's Heart, Robert Jordan
208. A Crown of Swords, Robert Jordan
209. Crossroads of Twilight, Robert Jordan
210. A Path of Daggers, Robert Jordan
211. As Nature Made Him, John Colapinto
212. Microserfs, Douglas Coupland
213. The Married Man, Edmund White
214. Winter's Tale, Mark Helprin
215. The History of Sexuality, Michel Foucault
216. Cry to Heaven, Anne Rice
217. Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe, John Boswell
218. Equus, Peter Shaffer
219. The Man Who Ate Everything, Jeffrey Steingarten
220. Letters To A Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke
221. Ella Minnow Pea, Mark Dunn
222. The Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice
223. Anthem, Ayn Rand
224. The Bridge To Terabithia, Katherine Paterson
225. Tartuffe, Moliere
226. The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka
227. The Crucible, Arthur Miller
228. The Trial, Franz Kafka
229. Oedipus Rex, Sophocles
230. Oedipus at Colonus, Sophocles
231. Death Be Not Proud, John Gunther
232. A Doll's House, Henrik Ibsen
233. Hedda Gabler, Henrik Ibsen
234. Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton
235. A Raisin In The Sun, Lorraine Hansberry
236. ALIVE!, Piers Paul Read
237. Grapefruit, Yoko Ono
238. Trickster Makes This World, Lewis Hyde
240. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
241. Chronicles of Thomas Convenant, Unbeliever, Stephen Donaldson
242. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
242. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon
243. Summerland, Michael Chabon
244. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
245. Candide, Voltaire
246. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, Roald Dahl
247. Ringworld, Larry Niven
248. The King Must Die, Mary Renault
249. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein
250. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L'Engle
251. The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde
252. The House Of The Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne
253. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
254. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan
255. The Great Gilly Hopkins, Katherine Paterson
256. Chocolate Fever, Robert Kimmel Smith
257. Xanth: The Quest for Magic, Piers Anthony
258. The Lost Princess of Oz, L. Frank Baum
259. Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon
260. Lost In A Good Book, Jasper Fforde
261. Well Of Lost Plots, Jasper Fforde
261. Life Of Pi, Yann Martel
263. The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver
264. A Yellow Rraft In Blue Water, Michael Dorris
265. Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder
267. Where The Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls
268. Griffin & Sabine, Nick Bantock
269. Witch of Black Bird Pond, Joyce Friedland
270. Mrs. Frisby And The Rats Of NIMH, Robert C. O'Brien
271. Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt Bleh.
272. The Cay, Theodore Taylor
273. From The Mixed-Up Files Of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L. Konigsburg
274. The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Jester
275. The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin
276. The Kitchen God's Wife, Amy Tan
277. The Bone Setter's Daughter, Amy Tan
278. Relic, Duglas Preston & Lincolon Child
279. Wicked, Gregory Maguire
280. American Gods, Neil Gaiman
281. Misty of Chincoteague, Marguerite Henry
282. The Girl Next Door, Jack Ketchum
283. Haunted, Judith St. George
284. Singularity, William Sleator
285. A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
286. Different Seasons, Stephen King
287. Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk
288. About a Boy, Nick Hornby
289. The Bookman's Wake, John Dunning
290. The Church of Dead Girls, Stephen Dobyns
291. Illusions, Richard Bach
292. Magic's Pawn, Mercedes Lackey
293. Magic's Promise, Mercedes Lackey
294. Magic's Price, Mercedes Lackey
295. The Dancing Wu Li Masters, Gary Zukav
296. Spirits of Flux and Anchor, Jack L. Chalker
297. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
298. The Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices, Brenda Love
299. Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace.
300. The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison.
301. The Cider House Rules, John Irving.
302. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
303. Girlfriend in a Coma, Douglas Coupland
304. The Lion's Game, Nelson Demille
305. The Sun, The Moon, and the Stars, Stephen Brust
306. Cyteen, C. J. Cherryh
307. Foucault's Pendulum, Umberto Eco
308. Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson
309. Invisible Monsters, Chuck Palahniuk
310. Camber of Culdi, Kathryn Kurtz
311. The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
312. War and Rememberance, Herman Wouk
313. The Art of War, Sun Tzu
314. The Giver, Lois Lowry
315. The Telling, Ursula Le Guin
316. Xenogenesis (or Lilith's Brood), Octavia Butler (Dawn, Adulthood Rites, Imago)
317. A Civil Campaign, Lois McMaster Bujold
318. The Curse of Chalion, Lois McMaster Bujold
319. The Aeneid, Publius Vergilius Maro (Vergil)
320. Hanta Yo, Ruth Beebe Hill
321. The Princess Bride, S. Morganstern (or William Goldman)
322. Beowulf, Anonymous
323. The Sparrow, Maria Doria Russell
324. Deerskin, Robin McKinley
325. Dragonsong, Anne McCaffrey
326. Passage, Connie Willis
327. Otherland, Tad Williams
328. Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay
329. Number the Stars, Lois Lowry
330. Beloved, Toni Morrison
331. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, Christopher Moore
332. The mysterious disappearance of Leon, I mean Noel, Ellen Raskin
333. Summer Sisters, Judy Blume
334. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo
335. The Island on Bird Street, Uri Orlev
336. Midnight in the Dollhouse, Marjorie Filley Stover
337. The Miracle Worker, William Gibson
338. The Genesis Code, John Case
339. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevensen
340. Paradise Lost, John Milton
341. Phantom, Susan Kay
342. The Mummy or Ramses the Damned, Anne Rice
343. Anno Dracula, Kim Newman
344: The Dresden Files: Grave Peril, Jim Butcher
345: Tokyo Suckerpunch, Issac Adamson
346: The Winter of Magic's Return, Pamela Service
347: The Oddkins, Dean R. Koontz
348. My Name is Asher Lev, Chaim Potok
349. The Last Goodbye, Raymond Chandler
350. At Swim, Two Boys, Jaime O'Neill
351. Othello, by William Shakespeare
352. The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas
353. The Collected Poems of William Butler Yeats
354. Sati, Christopher Pike
355. The Divine Comedy, Dante
356. The Apology, Plato
357. The Small Rain, Madeline L'Engle
358. The Man Who Tasted Shapes, Richard E Cytowick
359. 5 Novels, Daniel Pinkwater
360. The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Juliet Marillier
361. Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
362. To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
363. Our Town, Thorton Wilder
364. Green Grass Running Water, Thomas King
335. The Interpreter, Suzanne Glass
336. The Moor's Last Sigh, Salman Rushdie
337. The Mother Tongue, Bill Bryson
338. A Passage to India, E.M. Forster
339. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
340. The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux
341. Pages for You, Sylvia Brownrigg
342. The Changeover, Margaret Mahy
343. Howl's Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones
344. Angels and Demons, Dan Brown
345. Johnny Got His Gun, Dalton Trumbo
346. Shosha, Isaac Bashevis Singer
347. Travels With Charley, John Steinbeck
348. The Diving-bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
349. The Lunatic at Large by J. Storer Clouston
350. Time for bed by David Baddiel
351. Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold
352. Quite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre
353. The Bloody Sun by Marion Zimmer Bradley
354. Sewer, Gas, and Eletric by Matt Ruff
355. Jhereg by Steven Brust
356. So You Want To Be A Wizard by Diane Duane
357. Perdido Street Station, China Mieville
358. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte
359. Road-side Dog, Czeslaw Milosz
360. The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje
361. Neuromancer, William Gibson
362. The Epistemology of the Closet, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
363. A Canticle for Liebowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr
364. The Mask of Apollo, Mary Renault
365. The Gunslinger, Stephen King
366. Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare
367. Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke
368. A Season of Mists, Neil Gaiman
369. Ivanhoe, Walter Scott
370. The God Boy, Ian Cross
371. The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Laurie R. King
372. Finn Family Moomintroll, Tove Jansson
373. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
374. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Philip K. Dick
375. Assassin's Apprentice, Robin Hobb
376. number9dream, David Mitchell
377. A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin
378. Five Quarters of the Orange, Joanne Harris
379. Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler
380. Einstein's Dreams, Alan Lightman
381. Dance On My Grave, Aidan Chambers
382. Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula Leguin
383. Hyperion, Dan Simmons
384. Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury
385. Checkmate, Dorothy Dunnett
386. To Say Nothing of the Dog, Connie Willis
387. A Clash of Kings, George RR Martin
388. The Egyptian, Mika Waltari
389. Moab Is My Washpot, Stephen Fry
390. Contact, Carl Sagan
391. Mythago Wood, Robert Holdstock
392. Feersum Endjinn, Iain M. Banks
393. The Golden, Lucius Shepard
394. Decamerone, Boccaccio
395. Birdy, William Wharton
396. The Red Tent, Anita Diaman
397. The Foundation, Isaac Asimov
398. Il Principe, Machiavelli
399. Post Office, Charles Bukowski
400. Macht und Rebel, Abu Rasul
401. Grass, Sheri S. Tepper
402. The Long Walk, Richard Bachman
403. Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman
404. The Joy Of Work, Scott Adams
405. Romeo, Elise Title
406. The Ninth Gate, Arturo Perez-Reverte
407. Memnoch the Devil, Anne Rice
408. Dead Famous, Ben Elton
409. Scarlett, Alexandra Ripley
410. Dead Souls, Nikolai Gogol
411. Look to Windward, Iain M. Banks
412. The Colossus of Maroussi, Henry Miller
413. Branded, Alissa Quart
414. The Idiot, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
415. Dharma Bums, Jack Kerouac
416. White teeth, Zadie Smith
417. Under the bell jar, Sylvia Plath
418. The little prince of Belleville, Calixthe Beyala
419. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
420. A King Lear of the Steppes, Ivan Turgenev
421. The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
422. Memoirs of a Revolutionist, Peter Kropotkin
423. Hija de la Fortuna, Isabel Allende
424. Retrato en Sepia, Isabel Allende
425. Villette, Charlotte Brontë
426. Steppenwolf, Herman Hesse
427. Ubik, Philip K. Dick
428. Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler
429. Solaris, Stanislaw Lem
430. The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
431. Nausea, Jean Paul Sartre
432. The Island of the Day Before, Umberto Eco
433. The Elementary Particles, Michel Houellebecq
434. The Angel Of The West Window, Gustav Meyrink
435. A Farewell To Arms, Ernest Hemingway
436. Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs
437. Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
438. In the Eyes of Mr. Fury, Philip Ridley
439. Consider Phlebas, Iain M. Banks
440. Into the Forest, Jean Hegland
441. Middlesex -Jeffrey Eugenides
442. The Giving Tree -Shel Silverstein
443. Go Ask Alice -Anonymous
444. Waiting For Godot, Samuel Becket
445. Blankets, Craig Thompson
446. The Girls' Guide To Hunting And Fishing, Melissa Banks
447. Voice of the Fire, Alan Moore
448. The Geography of Nowhere, James Howard Kunstler
449. Coraline, Neil Gaiman

The Comics Journal Special Edition Vol. 5 -- Head over to the Comics Journal website to get a rundown and preview of the contents of the new Special Edition, which has some informative and entertaining pieces on manga (including one by once and future Galaxy contributor and Eisner-nominated comics writer Rob Vollmar of The Castaways and Bluesman fame), tons of comic strips (like this one by Carol Swain) on the subject of "seduction," and other great essays and articles as well.

The article that surprised me the most was Bob Levin's touching, brilliant biography of the late cartoonist Vaughan Bode. I remember coming across Bode's work in the 1970s, but as a pre-teen being completely unable to process or even begin to understand Bode's seemingly otherworldly talent. Levin's piece gave me a whole new understanding and appreciation of Bode's work, and invaluable insight into the tragic, seemingly unavoidable course his life took. The new TCJ Special Edition quite literally is worth the cover price for this piece alone.

But there's lots of other wonderful stuff filling out the book (and it is a big, oversized book, not a magazine), and it'll take you days or even weeks to absorb all the information and entertainment contained in it. These Special Editions and their companion publications The Comics Journal Library editions forcusing on single cartoonists like Jack Kirby and Frank Miller, are essential additions to the reading library of anyone with an interest in comics. Congratulations and a big THANK YOU to Gary Groth, Dirk Deppey, Kim Thompson, Eric Reynolds and everyone else at Fantagraphics for this one, and for all the other great work they do. Comics literally wouldn't be worth bothering with without them.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

I Burn for You -- Mick Martin has posted two really insightful essays at his revived Daily Burn blog.

He looks at Buffy the Vampire Slayer, going into detail not only about how he came late to the series, but more fascinatingly how he sees issues of gender and sexuality handled by Joss Whedon and Co. throughout the series. While I disagree that Season Four might actually be better than generally acknowledged (I still find many episodes from S4 hard to watch), I will concede that that might be because Season Three was just about the best season of any series in the history of television, certainly as far as genre series go. In any case, though, Mick's thoughts on the show are provocative and worth checking out.

Ditto his comments on the gay thing in New Avengers. I hadn't realized that the Thor and Hulk wannabes in that Teen-Titans-for-Marvel-Zombies book were apparently pulling a Midnighter and Apollo-type romance, which of course has the fans -- already crushingly insecure about their sexual identities, being given to spending hundreds or thousands of dollars yearly on books of drawings of near-naked men beating the shit out of each other -- up in arms and decrying the destruction of values in blah blah blah.

Come on, you're the Incredible Hulk, or his teenage avatar, anyway -- how many people on the planet do you think can accept your Manly Love? I say if he's lucky enough to have found a receptacle for his Gamma-Powered Passion, more power to him! Puts that whole hammer fetish in a whole new light, though, doesn't it?

Friday, March 25, 2005

Morrison and Stewart Do It Again -- The creative team behind Seaguy has kicked off its new four-issue mini-series The Guardian, part of the Seven Soldiers Grant Morrison Mega-Meta-Crossover-Thingy, and man, it is the best superhero first issue since Street Angel #1.

I was pleased with the way The Guardian's boss is the floating head of Jack Kirby, and I also sensed some meta-commentary in his job description, stuff about circulation rising but needing to break out in new ways, however Morrison put it, it sounds as much a job for superhero comics as a job for Jake Jordan. That final, mindblowing image was channeling classic Kirby, too, ultra-vivid and totally bizarre.

It looks, so far, like this Seven Soldiers deal is going to turn superhero comics on their ear and be the best thing to come out of "The Big Two" in 2004. With the ABC line mostly defunct now and Sleeper about to wrap up, I'm thankful that Grant Morrison is giving me a reason to keep buying DC superhero comics a little while longer.

The Frank Miller Library -- While the bitter taste of DK2 may never fully wash itself out of my mouth, this article at ign.com features a nice selection of ten volumes by Frank Miller which should serve as a reminder of just how vital a comics creator he once was.

As I pointed out in Kevin Melrose's comments section, I question why they would pick the Daredevil Visionaries volume mostly written by Roger McKenzie, since Volume Two starts with the first Miller-written story that introduced Elektra and would therefore make more sense as being "Essential" Miller Daredevil, but the article's author clearly hopes readers will investigate their suggestions pretty deeply, as the follow-up recommendations after each entry indicate. The author is more than a little indicted by the recommendation of DK2, as far as I am concerned; it would be nice if a lengthy explanation of that recommendation had been included, since new readers are unlikely to enjoy that work and probably half of all longtime Miller readers despise it as well.

But, yeah, mostly a good article worth checking out.

Fixing The Matrix: Revolutions -- Excellent, 15-point dissection of the failure of The Matrix sequels by some writer from Long Island.

You know, I actually bought the ten-disc Matrix box set entirely for the first film and its new transfer/remix/remastery goodness. I totally agree with Sean that there were many good moments in both of the sequels, but I also totally agree with all of his criticisms, and dearly wish he had been on-set to explain this all before hundreds of millions of dollars were spent totally fucking up what could have been the most memorable and thrilling action film franchise in history, and one that actually (in the first film, anyway) speaks pretty profoundly to our current era and the manner in which the populace is kept sound asleep while an elite class of beings sucks the fucking life out of us.

So, yes, the first Matrix movie is pure gold, just a great movie that works on many levels. Kudos to Sean for being the canny writer he is, able to explain in such vivid, eloquent detail all the problems with those two movies. It speaks to the power of the first one, how very actively disappointed and regretful I feel contemplating the final two films in the trilogy.

Vegetarianism -- As you might recall, early last year I went on the vegetarian bandwagon, and stayed on there pretty much for the remainder of 2004. While I have, since then, stumbled back into the world of carnivorality (or whatevr the word might be), I still don't eat as much meat as previously, and eat quite a few meat-free meals altogether.

This story makes me wish I'd stayed on the wagon, especially given that the very first thing I ate with meat in it when I fell off was, indeed, Wendy's chili.

MoCCA's Now and Then Online Exhibit -- This is absolutely terrific, lots of amazing artwork, and it should be an inspiration to children, too.

Burned Again -- Hey, sometime Comic Book Galaxy contributor Mick Martin has revived his blog. This time out The Daily Burn seems more aimed at actual commentary than superhero satire. And while I'm sure there's a place for superhero satire, I'm more interested in Mick's genuine opinions on the industry (I'm just no fun at all, goddamnit), so, I'm looking forward to seeing what he has in store for us.

Confidential to Mick: I'm also interested in what happened to the whole "Superheroes, Etc" thing; that was a fast change of plan, my friend!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Book Meme -- Ooh, I've been forcibly memed by Sean T. Collins, no less! Well, away we go!

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

I don't know what this means. I suppose it would help if I'd ever read Fahrenheit 451.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Yes, Jenny Sparks, I'm somewhat ashamed to admit.

The last book you bought is:

The last graphic novel I bought was Bone: One Volume Edition, which at 1300 pages, I think, counts as a goddamned book.

The last book you read:

Hell if I know. We can say Bone, though.

What are you currently reading?

Some Michael Moorcock novel Marshall loaned me because he said it reminded him of Alan Moore's work. The lead character has sex with his mother in the first chapter. My interest is, shall we say, flagging.

Five books you would take to a deserted island.

James Kunstler's The Geography of Nowhere, Carl Sagan's Cosmos, Roger Ebert's The Great Movies, Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's From Hell and James Kochalka's American Elf: The Collected Sketchbook Diaries of James Kochalka.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?

Chris Allen, Derek Martinez and Logan Polk, because they will probably play ball.

UPDATE: Here are the answers from Derek, Logan and Chris.

Seven Ideas for FCBD -- Comic Book Galaxy's Marc Sobel weighs in now with some thought-provoking ways for retailers to better utilize Free Comic Book Day to their advantage:

Free Comic Book Day is a little over 6 weeks from today (Saturday, May 7, 2005) and with the fourth annual event starting to seem a little familiar, here’s a list of seven recommendations for retailers to make the most out of this otherwise dreaded event:

Get out of the comic book store – this may seem counterintuitive, since the idea is to drive traffic (i.e. – customers) into the store, but the customers who are there already know about your store, and ones who don’t aren’t going to just wander in off the street. Take the comics to the people. Give them away on the street. Set up a booth in the local shopping mall. Or the library. If you want to reach new customers, you have to go to them, not expect them to come to you.

Give comics to as many kids as possible – the offerings from Marvel, DC, Disney, Archie and at least a few other independent publishers are usually geared toward attracting new children to the hobby. Why waste these on 20-30 year old men?

Don’t give in to fans’ sense of entitlement – many collectors will come in, expecting a stack of every publisher’s comic. I’ve seen it; they’ll be lined up before the store even opens. It doesn’t make them bad people, I’ve been there too, but we should all remember the purpose of FCBD in the first place, which was to reach a wider audience, and demonstrate the diversity of the comic book industry. If you warn people ahead of time that this is your store’s policy, you’ll avoid a lot of grief on the actual day.

Advertise creatively – the idea here is not to take an ad out on a comic book website, but to think about your local newspapers, bulletin boards, grocery stores, libraries, YMCA’s, shopping malls, elementary schools, day cares, etc. Any vehicle that is relatively cheap, or even free, and allows you to reach the non-collectors will do. And since these are comics, use pictures as much as possible. It makes a big difference. The idea is to get the word out, starting now, so people can plan ahead. Trust that if there’s free stuff, people will show up, no matter what it is. And that’s the point.

Use the “complements of” stamp – there’s a reason each comic is printed with a large white box on the cover. It’s a place to put your store’s name, address and phone number, but surprisingly few retailers take advantage of this. This is free marketing at its best and to ignore it is a waste of free advertising. People should know where the comic came from, and where to get more, especially if you follow recommendation #1. You may not hear from them for months, but come Christmas time, you’ll be glad you added that stamp.

Don’t give the entire stock away in 1 day – yes, it’s called free comic book DAY, but that doesn’t mean you have to liquidate. The idea is not to give each customer a stack of 40 free comics. Believe me, if you do, each person will actually read maybe 5-10, flip through the rest, and either file the rest away in some box, sell them on E-Bay (a despicable way to profit off free books) or just toss them out. Why not instead keep giving 1-2 comics away for a month, taking opportunities to introduce existing customers to new titles, rather than deluge them, and targeting those few new customers (and they’re usually not hard to spot, i.e., mothers looking for gifts for their children, etc.) instead.

Have additional issues available for purchase – for example, if Dark Horse decides to give away Conan #1 on Free Comic Book Day, make sure people know they can get issues 2-6 so they can enjoy the entire story. It’s common sense, but in the rush of collectors, it’s often forgotten. Make these other issues as visible as possible, even shelving them together with the free books, and make sure people know its part of a larger story.

I hope this helps. We all want to increase the sales of comics. It’s good business for the retailers, good exposure for the publishers, and ultimately, more collectors equals more diverse titles which is good for the fans, too.

-- Marc Sobel

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Snapshot -- Kids playing outside, wife at work, kitchen table a mess from the pizza we had for dinner, pondering watching Donnie Darko again. Or maybe Spaced. (Apologies to Sean.)

10 Things I Love About Tom Spurgeon -- All right, he's gone and shown us all up, as usual. So with that in mind, here's 10 Things I Love About Tom Spurgeon:

1. He can come up with 1000 Things to Like About Comics.

2. He openly discusses how Comics Made Him Fat.

3. He co-wrote the definitive biography of Stan Lee.

4. And I got to interview him about it.

5. He made the definitive statement on the value of comics.

6. The way he is able to convey his profoundly personal relationship with comics.

7. His interview with Joe Casey was so good that it convinced me to take a second look at some of Casey's comics to see if I was missing something. I wasn't, but Spurgeon's interview was able to bring out an eloquence and passion in Casey that clearly hasn't translated to most of his comics. Somewhere in there is a noteworthy accomplishment on Spurgeon's part.

8. His other great interviews, including Drew Weing, James Sturm, John Romita, Sr., and Steve Rude.

9. His love of even the smallest of comics.

10. He maintains the best comics website in existence.


Monday, March 21, 2005

The Monday Briefing - There's a ton of comics goodness up right now at Tom Spurgeon's Comics Reporter, the most enjoyable of which are his Jeff Smith and Peter Bagge interviews. The Smith piece particularly interested me because I recently finshed the Bone One Volume Edition, and was absolutely dazzled by Smith's storytelling chops. I usually am repelled by the fantasy genre, but Smith's blend of influences, ranging from Carl Barks to Joseph Campbell (not that much of a stretch, come to think of it), complemented by wonderfully complex and lively characters, makes Bone just a masterpiece of comics art. Bravo to Scholastic for bringing the series into just the perfect format for kids, too, with the new colour TPBs and HCs. If these books get as much infiltration into schools as I suspect they will, between Bone and the Fantagraphics Complete Peanuts volumes, the next few years should be quite wonderful for comics readers of all ages to see the very best the medium has to offer in formats that truly serve the material and present it in its very best possible light.

Speaking of which, Absolute Watchmen, huh? I've been unsuccessfully trying to track down the deluxe hardcover of this for years, so this comes as wonderful news, although how the hell I'll be able to afford it is another question altogether. But since it appears to have Alan Moore's approval and the direct involvement of artist Dave Gibbons, chances are, if DC doesn't managed to grab defeat from the jaws of victory, that this could be pretty much the definitive presentation of the definitive superhero graphic novel.

Of course, John Byrne would disagree, but once you know that he finds Jessica Alba distasteful, well, what more to you need to know about John Byrne?

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Ramblings Man -- Once and future (hey, I can hope, can't I?) Comic Book Galaxy contributor Derek Martinez has resumed blogging. Fair warning: He says he won't be talking a lot about comics. Bitter irony: He spends most of his first new post talking about comics. Winner: Everybody!

Friday, March 18, 2005

Happy Birthday, Logan! -- Leave it to Logan Polk to boost my ego on his own damned birthday. Reading his brief history of how he ended up blogging and reviewing for Comic Book Galaxy was both touching and inspiring. Thanks, buddy, and I hope you have a wonderful birthday today.

For the rest of you, drop the guy an e-mail and wish him a happy birthday, willya?

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

TV Talk -- My wife and I watched last night's episode of 24 this morning courtesy of the ol' VCR, and while I was a bit amused by the good-Arab-shopkeepers-as-apology-for-all-the-evil-Arab-terrorists-this-season, overall it was another tense and dramatic episode. I was leery of the agitprop potential of this season's storyline early on, but it seems a little more, uh, "fair and balanced" now that we have senior officers of the third largest military contractor gunning for the good guys. I have no idea if real military contractors employ their own private armies as seen in this episode, but it was an amusing -- and terrifying -- conceit, anyway.

Excited that The Shield returns tonight. I've missed Vic and his greedy band of fuckheads since the end of the powerful third season, and I'm wondering if Glenn Close will be a positive addition to the series in the same, rather unexpected way Candice Bergen has so lit up Boston Legal (despite some clunker plots, her, Shatner and Spader can act their asses off). With all these series and shows like Lost on this season as well, it's not a bad time to be a fan of quality TV drama. If The Sopranos were currently airing new episodes I might actually overdose on all of it.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Proof of Spurgeon -- I've called the writing of Tom Spurgeon "sublime," on more than one occasion, and his new essay Ten Comics, Ten Memories should pretty definitively prove the point. If he weren't already associated with A) The most vital magazine about comics and B) The most valuable comics weblog, I'd say someone ought to call attention to the guy's work. I'm in awe. Thanks for sharing these particular memories, Tom.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

It's About Girls -- I have to say a big thank you to Websnarker Eric Burns for turning me on to William G's It's About Girls webcomic. It starts off pretty good and by Chapter 12 is sublimely terrific, wonderful character stuff with a great sense of colour. Like Eric, I am a big proponent of the "click each page for the next" style, especially when they are actually formatted to fit on the computer screen. By Chapter 12, William G has totally figured out how to present his story (not that the earlier presentation is unreadable, far from it, I just like the later style better), and it's a story well worth reading. Go read it now.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Congratulations -- Hearty congratulations and best wishes from everyone here at Comic Book Galaxy to Rich Johnston and Janice Hodgson: At 10.37 this morning Janice gave birth to their baby girl, who weighed in at 8 lbs, 12 oz. As I told Rich, "Nothing changes your perspective like having a daughter."

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Street Angel Contest Winners -- Here's the list of winners in the Ultimate Street Angel Contest:

Grand Prize:

Christopher Amis
Collingwood, Ontario


The Beguiling
601 Markham St.
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M6G 2L7

Other Winners:

Que Banh
Victoria, BC


Curious Comics
631 Johnson St.
Victoria, BC

Jamie Tarquini
Norwood, MA


464 Commenwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 266-4266

Damian Duffy
Champaign, IL

44 E Main St., Suite # 101
Champaign, IL 61820

Erin M. Schadt
Bellingham, WA


Cosmic Comics
1905 Cornwall Ave.
Bellingham, WA 98225

Congratulations to all the winners, and a big THANK YOU to Jim Rugg, Brian Maruca, Slave Labor Graphics, and everyone who entered the contest. Remember that Street Angel #5 ships to stores TODAY, so make sure you grab one, and let your retailer know you want to order the STREET ANGEL TRADE PAPERBACK.

Butchering Manga -- Christopher Butcher (apologies for the pun, Chris) posts a sharp, informational essay on DC's utter, mindblowing mishandling of the CMX Manga line.

"Sport of Kings," indeed. I wonder if the corporate comics companies will ever hire someone as intelligent as Butcher to prevent them from tripping over their own club feet like this again and again?

One hopes not, because as Christopher correctly points out, it's kind of fun to watch.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Random Notes -- Woke up at 4 AM to find it was raining; by 8 AM and my first look out the window since the sun had come up, it was snowing. Now we're looking at 4-8 inches of snow. Nice that the rain slicked all the snow on the sidewalk and driveway into a potentially deadly sheet of ice. Yay, winter!

1. I am so, so glad that Enterprise is going off the air. Star Trek hasn't been much good since the end of TNG, and even that series only had one good episode for every 4 or so. The formula I have devised for the various series is TOS: 1/3. TNG, 1/4, DS9, 1/5, VOY, 1/20, ENT 0/All. Time to give it a rest and never allow anyone associated with the series from the past ten TV years to ever touch the franchise again. Until that happens, it will continue to suck. At the very least, it needs to go away for at least five years, maybe ten.

2. Finally managed to download and view the first episode of the new Doctor Who series. It's fucking great, in a nutshell. It feels like Doctor Who, but it also feels like 2005, and that's a bit of an accomplishment. The burping trash can was a bit unwelcome and over-the-top, but probably was seen as necessary to either tone down the horror of the death involved or make it clear that the person in question had, indeed, been consumed.

3. The winners have been drawn in the Ultimate Street Angel Contest. Will probably announce the winners tomorrow. Sound good?


5. Stuff I had for breakfast: Blueberry pancakes, scrambled eggs (I think from powdered, urf, not up to the restaurant's usual standard at all, and a bit of home fries.

6. Stuff I had for lunch: Haven't, yet. Still full from breakfast. May skip it altogether and make a big dinner.

7. Gorblimey, still snowing.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Spurgeon's Top Shelf Recommendations -- The Comics Reporter picks his Five Top Shelf Picks, worthwhile offerings from Top Shelf that you can pick up for criminally low prices during their Three Dollar Sale. Tom's picks are universally good ones, you really can't go wrong by picking up all his choices. And as I said to Chris Allen on the phone last night, at these prices, pretty much everybody should be doing some holiday shopping a little early during this sale -- great comics that will cost you, from the look of it, less than they probably cost to print in most cases.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

W on Who -- Warren Ellis has a good review up of the new incarnation of Doctor Who. Regrettably it seems no U.S. channel is jumping on the opportunity to carry the series, which is damned stupid given how many people here fondly remember the series from the Tom Baker and Peter Davison days.

It's nice to see Warren holds at least some of those Peter Davison stories in high
regard; unfortunately, US distribution of the series went to hell around the time he left the series, so other than the Paul McGann TV movie (which I enjoyed, but mostly as a handful of water in an otherwise arid desert) I haven't really seen any Who since then. The Peter Davison era is my personal favourite, perhaps because he was the first Doctor whose transformation I watched. It's a shame the series has been missing from American TV all these years, as I'm pretty sure its (as Warren notes) family nature would have made it a big hit with my kids in their formative years.

Spurgeon on Great Power and Responsibility -- Awesome essay by Tom Spurgeon up today at his Comics Reporter website, specifically on the manner in which the comics industry has misused and sbused its most valuable resource, its creative people.

A canny choice of cover art to illustrate the piece with, too. Herb Trimpe, how much did he get from the X-Men movies, do you think? I've long said that the guy who drew the first Wolverine story should have gotten something out of the enormous wealth generated from those films. How much do you think he got?

Given the situation as it has existed for years, it's no mystery at all why the most popular creators in corporate comics today almost never generate compelling new characters for Marvel or DC. You'd have to be out of your fucking mind to do so.

Unbelievable Top Shelf Sale -- The fine folks at Top Shelf Productions are staging a ten-day sale in which some of the best graphic novels of the past few years are on sale for as little as $1.00-$3.00.

Click here to go to the sale page.

Here's the titles I most strongly recommend you pick up:


Abe: Wrong for the Right Reasons -- $14.95 $3.00 (US) - Diamond: STAR14840
Big Clay Pot -- $12.95 $3.00 (US) - Diamond: STAR12266
Cicada: A Broken Fender Book -- $12.95 $3.00 (US) - Diamond: STAR14848
Dang! -- $3.50 $3.00 (US) - 32 pages, Comic Book, Diamond: MAR042843
Egomania #1 -- $4.95 $3.00 (US)
Hey, Mister (Vol 1): After School Spec -- $7.95 $3.00 (US) - 96 pages, Diamond: STAR14243
Hey, Mister (Vol 3): The Fall Collection -- $12.95 $3.00 (US) - Diamond: STAR15108
The Legend of Wild Man Fischer -- $7.95 $3.00 (US) - Diamond: JUN042871
Magic Boy and the Robot Elf -- $9.95 $3.00 (US) - 80 pages, Diamond: STAR18025
Sketchbook Diaries (Vol 1) -- $7.95 $3.00 (US) - 96 pages, Diamond: STAR18835 Sketchbook Diaries (Vol 2) -- $7.95 $3.00 (US) - 96 pages, Diamond: STAR15571 Sketchbook Diaries (Vol 3) -- $7.95 $3.00 (US) - 96 pgs, Diamond: STAR18151 Sketchbook Diaries (Vol 4) -- $7.95 $3.00 (US) - 96 pages, Diamond: DEC032724
The Soap Lady -- $19.95 $3.00 (US) - Diamond: STAR16773
Speechless -- $19.95 $3.00 (US) - Diamond: STAR12830
Top Shelf #1: The Anthology -- $5.00 $3.00 (US) - 40 pages, Anthology
Top Shelf #2: The Anthology -- $5.00 $3.00 (US) - 40 pages, Anthology
Top Shelf #5: The Anthology -- $6.95 $3.00 (US) - 80 pages
Top Shelf #6: The Anthology -- $6.95 $3.00 (US) - 80 pages
Top Shelf #7: On Parade -- $6.95 $3.00 (US) - 96 pages, Diamond: STAR16778
Top Shelf #8: Under the Big Top -- $14.95 $3.00 (US) - Diamond: STAR16779
Top Shelf #9: Asks the Big Questions -- $24.95 $3.00 (US) - Diamond: STAR19263


Broken Fender #1 -- $2.95 $1.00 (US) - 32 pages
Broken Fender #2 -- $2.95 $1.00 (US) - 32 pages
Doublecross -- $4.95 $1.00 (US) - Diamond: STAR15939
Hey, Mister #3 -- $2.95 $1.00 (US) - 24 pages
Hey, Mister #4 -- $2.95 $1.00 (US) - 24 pages
Hey, Mister #5: Behind the Green Door -- $2.95 $1.00 (US) - 32 pages
Hey, Mister #6: The Trouble with Jesus -- $2.95 $1.00 (US) - 32 pages
Hey, Mister #7: Eyes on the Prize -- $2.95 $1.00 (US) - 32 pages
Hey, Mister #8: Dial M for Mister -- $3.50 $1.00 (US) - 32 pages
Staros Report -- 1996 -- $4.95 $1.00 (US) - 112 pages
Staros Report -- 1997 -- $4.95 $1.00 (US) - 96 pages


American Elf (softcover) -- $29.95 $19.95 (US) - 520 pages, Diamond: MAY042960
American Elf (hardcover) -- $49.95 $39.95 (US)
The Mirror of Love -- $24.95 $19.95 (US) - Diamond: OCT032748
The Mirror of Love (signed) -- $49.95 $29.95 (US)
Slings & Arrows Comic Guide -- $39.95 $19.95 (US) - 816 pages
Voice of the Fire -- $26.95 $19.95 (US) - 336 pages, Hardcover, Diamond: JUN032566
Voice of the Fire (signed) -- $49.95 $39.95 (US)

Awesome selection of books, comics, and other great stuff at unbelievable prices. Head over and buy some stuff now! Tell 'em Comic Book Galaxy sent you.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Atlas Shuddered -- Watch out, people of Earth, John Byrne has discovered Ayn Rand.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The Definitive Column on Selling Comics -- Shawn Hoke's new column (discovered via Fanboy Rampage) on the direct market and how to properly serve your customers if you choose to call yourself a comics retailer is fucking brilliant and 100 percent accurate from beginning to end.
If this is the Direct Market, then I hope it fails. If you have ignorant employees and a limited stock, you deserve to fail. Shops like this do the industry and the medium of comics a disservice simply by existing.

If your store does not truly serve the widest possible audience for comics, print out Shawn's article and give it to the owner. If your store IS a full-service comics shop that truly promotes the entire spectrum of comics (and therefore stands the best chance of both increasing the readership of comics and still being in existence ten years from now), tell them how much you appreciate what they do, and make sure you let people know about them.

I truly believe we need an online resource that identifies and promotes ONLY these comics shops, as I said in a recent letter to Tom Spurgeon's Comics Reporter. Who's gonna take up the challenge?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Another List of Ten -- Courtesy of Sean T. Collins and his ginchy new blog, here are Ten Things Meme I've Done That You Probably Haven't.

01. Been offered the chance to write for Marvel Comics and turned it down.
02. Raised two children to love reading, and reading comics.
03. Played Bob Cratchit AND Young Scrooge (with baby-powdered gray hair!) in a
Christian version of "A Christmas Carol."
04. Been hugged by James Kochalka during a performance by James Kochalka Superstar.
05. Eaten eggplant pizza with Barry Windsor-Smith.
06. Been called a "fucking asshole" by Tony Millionaire.
07. Interviewed Alan Moore.
08. Written for Silver Bullet Comic Books, Comic Book Galaxy, Newsarama, Graphic
Novel Review, The Comics Journal and Stalagmite Magazine.
09. Spoken to Dave Sim on the phone and found him cordial and engaging (for the
duration of the call).
10. Been present in the delivery room for the birth of my two children.

Big Congrats to Bill! -- Happy Third Blogaversary to Bill Sherman, one of my longer-lasting internet buddies and a great supporter of my online efforts for about as long as I've been doing them. Bill's also a fellow contributor to The Comics Journal, although he's been doing that a lot longer than I have -- but it's a club I'm proud to be in with him.

All this talk recently of Blog Birthdays prompted me to check in on my own anniversary -- and it seems I officially started blogging on June 7th, 2002, with the ADD Blog in-between there as a brief, separate site before coming back here. My career as a blogger has been messy, but mostly fun.

Farewell to Andy, and ADD's Top 10 TV Characters -- My wife and I got married in 1993, and watching NYPD Blue has been a tradition for us for the entirety of our marriage, save the occasional taping mishap. Much as I would like to make an event of it and watch tonight's finale live, she'll be at work, so it'll have to wait until tomorrow morning when we watch it on tape.

Dennis Franz's arc this season has been especially moving, and while I saw his ultimate fate "on the job" coming way in advance, I have to say his amazing acting chops have totally sold it as believable and altogether appropriate. Andy Sipowicz has got to be one of the best TV characters ever created, thanks to a combination of sublime acting and wonderful material with which to exercise those skills. I'm gonna miss this show more than just about any other series I've watched in my life.

ADD's Ten Favourite TV Charcters

Andy Sipowicz - Dennis Franz on NYPD Blue
Number Six - Patrick McGoohan on The Prisoner
Agent Dale Cooper - Kyle Maclachlan on Twin Peaks
George Costanza - Jason Alexander on Seinfeld
David Brent - Ricky Gervais on The Office
Buffy Summers - Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Batman - Kevin Conroy on Batman Animated, Batman Beyond, Justice League Unlimited, etc.
Captain Kirk - William Shatner on Star Trek
Basil Fawlty - John Cleese on Fawlty Towers
Tony Soprano - James Gandolfini on The Sopranos

[Just missed the Top Ten: Giles from Buffy, Spock and Dr. McCoy from Star Trek, Mulder from The X-Files, Vic Mackey from The Shield, Sheridan, Ivanova and G'Kar from Babylon 5, John Carter and Abby Lockhart from E/R, The Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) from Doctor Who]

Edited to Add: Christopher Jones has begun a thread on the Galaxy message board for others to run down their own Top Ten TV Characters, so stop by and add yours to the list.





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