Saturday, April 02, 2005

Countdown Criticism -- Here's a letter from a reader named Paul which ended up in my spam folder for some reason, but luckily I spotted it and moved it to my inbox.

Dear Mr. Doane,

I have been a fairly regular visitor to CBG for about 3 years, and in that time I have started to appreciate comics from outside the mainstream. Taking a look to my bookshelf I see several books I never even knew existed, through you I have come to know such as Optic Nerve, Palestine, Blankets, and Bluesman just to name a few. And although my taste has differed from yours from time to time, (That whole Creature Tech fiasco rings a bell), I'd say our tastes are very similar. However, what I can't agree with you on is DC and there new Countdown to Infinite Crisis.

Over the years that I have been reading comics I have seen deaths and resurrections, ridiculous as it might seem that's what comics fans want. They want Jean Grey or Superman to die, they want Hal Jordan to go nuts and start killing people, they want characters to be misrepresented and mischaracterized just so another writer can come in and say, "that stuff we just did, that wasn't really Hal Jordan, it was just a parasite acting in Hal Jordan's body, Hal's really a sweet guy, a guy who killed a bunch of people, but really, a sweet guy nonetheless." Fanboys need there structure taken away from them because, for the most part, they'll start complaining or stop buying when the stories get to stale. Then they have that much more to complain about, "Blue Beetles Dead? WTF? I love Blue Beetle, I've loved him since day one, how could DC do this to us?"

Read any message board on the web, better yet just check out Fanboyarama, I swear with as many fans as blue beetle has, He should have had his own book and been outselling X-men and Spiderman by 50,000 copies! That being said, I understand where your coming from on Countdown, I read it, I liked most of it, but that's just it Alan, it wasn't really written for us. How many books do you read from either Marvel or DC (and I mean mainstream tights wearing superhero books) I'd guess maybe 2 or 3 tops. We've moved past it, I don't read Batman anymore strictly because it's all the same, how many different writers can tell you the same story of the Joker killing someone and Batman taking care of him and putting him back in Arkham.

Granted, some writers tell it better and the stories that we read as children will always seem sweeter than most, but it's all the same. That's why I say Bravo to DC for starting the cycle back over again, because no matter what, we've seen it before, maybe these writers will do a better job, maybe they won't, but it's all just the same, and Alan, we're old enough and our tastes have changed enough to accept it for what it is, an evolution in how mainstream comics are written, it's an EVENT book, written for the masses to shake things up. To get them talking about DC comics and to SELL books, like any other mainstream pop culture art form phenomenon, it's still always about the money.


Here's my response:


I appreciate the note, but I beg to differ. COUNTDOWN and its cynical,
nihilistic predecessor Identity Crisis are are just lousy comics. As a
father of two comics readers, I will continue to demand that comics --
even big event comics -- not be lousy. That they be created with some
artistry and creativity. DC's current crop of crap has none of that. I
want my kids to be able to find books aimed at them that will get them
as excited about comics as Claremont and Byrne's X-Men or Wolfman and
Perez's New Teen Titans got me when I was a kid. It's a genuine, if
minor, tragedy that entry-level superhero comics are being so poorly
stewarded these days, and it's an outrage that more people aren't
demanding better from the corporate comics companies.

Thanks for writing.



I honestly wish I had been recording the hour-long conversation Chris Allen and I had about Countdown and the entire "Hack Watchmen" sub-genre that is best exemplified by Identity Crisis.

The gist of it is, though, that this current crop of bad comics are just awkward, artless corporate creations, a fact that ought to be apparent from the credits boxes of most of them, and readers are letting themselves down by supporting such lousy works. Want to enjoy a good story about DC's great, iconic superheroes? Then tune into the Cartoon Network's Justice League Unlimited, because right now that's about the only place that these excellent, entry-level characters are being used right instead of being raped from behind or having their brains splattered out on-panel.

Dan Didio and the rest of the people entrusted with the stewardship of these characters ought to be ashamed of themselves for the cynical cash-grabs of the past couple of years. I don't believe DC's characters -- or anyone else's -- ought to be written strictly for children, or that conflict or violence have no place in superhero comics.

I just wish that the people entrusted with these characters and their fictional destinies could be trusted to shepard and create good stories that reflect the best that comics can aspire to. Even corporate comics can be art, as dozens of creators have proven over nearly a century. But the artless hackwork and creative thuggery currently on display in these uninspired event comics are a disgrace to the industry and whatever legacy it has left.

Saturday Morning in the Red Room -- ADD here, coming to you live from my living room, and trying to type as quietly as possible, since my 9-year-old son Aaron wandered down from his bedroom sometime in the middle of the night and crashed out on the futon, which is two feet from this very computer. But neither dark of night nor slumbering elementary schoolers shall stand in the way of my unappointed task.

Ian Brill has a fascinating look (part one of two!) at Grant Morrison's visit to Meltdown Comics. Morrison is one of the most interesting comics writers alive today, and Ian does a great job recreating his experience of watching the man speak. Most interesting to me was this quote:
Sigils and comic characters as sigils were tackled next. "Sigils," Morrison explained, "are just taking a figure and condensing unconscious desires into them. They always work, that’s the scary thing."
In my extremely limited experience, I have to say that that is as true a thing as I have ever read, and reason enough for folks to investigate Morrison's literary influences. It also reminds me of CrossGen, which criminally misused the word, and see where that got them?

At any rate, the Brill Building has become one of my favourite places to hang out over the past few weeks. Keep up the great work, Ian.

One of my other favourite blogs -- by one of my favourite people -- is Logan Polk's House of the Ded. Right now Logan is giving away not one but two copies of Bluesman by Rob Vollmar and Pablo Callejo (two of my other favourite people -- I can feel the love tonight!), signed by the aforementioned Mr. Vollmar, not coincidentally one of the other most interesting comics writers alive today.

Bluesman is a landmark work of conflict and drama, emotion and lyricism, and the fact that you have a chance to win a signed copy should already have you gone from here and over at House of the Ded.

Another great contest currently underway at Spatula Forum is the Jay's Days Giveaway, your chance to load up on swag from cartoonist/blogger/Galaxy reviewer Jason Marcy.

And there's even more stuff for you to win, with another Comic Book Galaxy contest just days from going public: I am not kidding when I say I am freaking psyched about this one, so watch this space for the announcement. I am just waiting to hear about one or two items to sweeten the pot, but already, at least ten Galaxy readers are going to win one of the coolest comics items of the year. It's not hype, I'm dying to tell you all about it, but...damn it, I gotta wait.

Oh, I got a kick out of Mick Martin's shameful confession of which great comics works he hasn't read yet. I'm proud to have suggested at least a couple of the titles he has recently investigated, and Mick, Louis Riel is literature, so don't let that more-important-literature-to-read-for-college thing stop you.

Mick also has a timely reminder that it's stupid to buy comics you're not enjoying. That's the second most important adage in comics, after Tom Spurgeon's "The only comics that are too expensive are shitty comics." The third most important adage in comics? Courtesy of John Pierce, it's "[The Comics Journal's] not elitist, you're just dumb."

Hmm, I wonder if I can stretch this out to five? Number Four would probably be the one I always go to about Marvel..."They screwed Stan Lee and they screwed Jack Kirby. You think they're not going to screw (fill-in-the-flavour-of-the-moment/month/decade)?"

Number Five? You tell me. I'm all out of adages. And my son is still sleeping, so I think I'll wrap this up for now. Enjoy your Saturday, and perhaps I'll see you back here later.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Win Bluesman Book 1 from Logan Polk's House of the Ded

It's a book that Alan David Doane calls "One of the most thoughtful, moving and human stories I've ever read in any form." and Marc Sobel says "This is an outstanding, unique story, crafted by an artist and a writer who are passionate about their subject matter."

Lem Taylor and Ironwood Malcott are a pair of travelling blues musicians who come to the town of Hope looking for food, rest, and a place that will let them preach their own brand of gospel. Set in 1930s America, Bluesman promises to be another fantastic story from the Eisner-nominated creative team behind The Castaways, Rob Vollmar and Pablo G. Callejo.

Here at the House we've got two copies of this wonderful first volume to giveaway, signed by writer Rob Vollmar. All you need to do is email your name and address to by midnight, April 30th and you could recieve a copy! Winners will be chosen at random and announced on May 1st right here at the House.

Links to the blues:

US Publisher-Absence of Ink
Alan David Doane's 5 Questions with Rob Vollmar
The PULSE interviews Rob Vollmar
Shawn Hoke looks at Bluesman Book One (some scrolling required)
Don MacPherson reviews Bluesman Book One
Marc Mason reviews Bluesman Book One (also some scrolling required)
Copacetic Comics on Bluesman Book One (more scrolling, they also have it for sale)
Brian Hibbs on Bluesman Book One
Artbomb Bluesman blurb

Great Post Eaten by Blogger -- FUCK YOU, BLOGGER! Summary of powerful insights you will never see: My wife is making tacos for dinner, I dropped off my son's tax information at the accountant, and goddamned publishers should have motherfucking websites that I can find on Google. To reiterate: FUCK YOU, BLOGGER!

Update: And now I need to send an important e-mail to Tom Spurgeon and I can't get into my g-mail account. GODDAMN YOU, GMAIL!!!

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 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.

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