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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

 
FCBD Wrap-up -- Click on over to German site Comicgate's look at this year's Free Comic Book Day. I weigh in, along with a host of intelligent comics commentators. How they ever let me in as distinguished a crowd as that, I'll never know, but check out what we all had to say about this year's event.

Note, also, that the article is in German and English -- click on the English link at the top of the page or scroll about halfway down. Unless you're German, of course.

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Two for Tuesday -- And welcome back, everyone who only surfs the internet at work.

A big THANKS! to Augie de Blieck for his link and kind words about my first attempt at podcasting, which debuted here yesterday morning (see what you miss if you take a three day weekend?).

As I mention at the end of the first podcast (me discussing Fantagraphics news for the month of June), Augie's excellent comics and DVD podcasts were a big inspiration for me to take the plunge and give it a try. And Augue has, this morning, provided a further push: I'm going to attempt to stream the audio so you don't have to wait for the podcast to complete downloading if you're impatient like me, or just want to listen to it at your desk and move on with your life. So, that's where the "Two for Tuesday" title of this post comes in.

So confident am I in my HTML skills (HA HA!) that I actually think this is going to work, so I am going to hit "Publish post," and move on with my life. Let me know if you have any problems with it, or if you have suggestions of what you'd like to hear discussed in future Galaxy podcasts. Thanks!

Monday, May 30, 2005

 
A Minor, Sad Moment in Comics -- Compared to the average comics buyer, I don't seem to buy a lot of floppy single issues. So they tend to pile up before I realize it. From the available evidence, it looks like I hadn't filed my floppies in at least two months, but I decided to get rid of the piles this afternoon, a nerdy process of checking which shortboxes have which series and then trying to get everything into some sort of order before returning the shortboxes to their unattractive but orderly arrangement near my bedroom door.

Putting stuff away this afternoon, I noted with minor, but genuine sadness that I was filing for the final time the last issues of Sleeper and Human Target.

One wonders if the geniuses at DC realize that they have replaced those titles with absolutely nothing I am interested in, and that they have lost those dollars forever. One wonders if they care.

But one does not wonder for long. When is that non-DC Brubaker/Phillips creator-owned series due...?

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The Monday Briefing -- I know it's a busy Memorial Day three-day weekend, but here I am anyway on Monday morning, your internet pal who cares.

Galaxy Radio -- I've been in radio for 20 years, so you would think a podcast would be a natural for me. Hell, Augie's been doing them (and quite well, at that) over at CBR for months now! My wife and I invested in a new Pentium 4 a few weeks ago, and its memory and resources are apparently much better suited to editing digital audio, so yesterday I took the plunge into the first Galaxy Podcast, a kind of test-run that features my commentary on the Fantagraphics June Newsletter. So click here to download my first podcast, and I implore you, e-mail me with your thoughts. Like it? Hate it? Suggestions to improve it? Whatever your comment, please let me know. Anyway, Marshall's been pestering me to start a podcast for a long time, and it looks like the stars have finally aligned. (Thanks to Ian and Chris for prompting me to change a mispronounciation, too!)

Paul Moves Out -- The latest in the Drawn and Quarterly series of graphic novels by Michel Rabagliati ships this week, so here's a timely reminder to pick it up, and if you haven't already been totally addicted to Rabagliati's extraordinary storytelling, check out Jason Marcy's review of Paul Moves Out.

Super-F*ckers Ships -- Also noteworthy is this week's arrival of James Kochalka's Super-F*ckers. Read my 5 Questions interview with James to get a feel for the project, and be sure to pick this one up: I promise it'll be worth it.

Crumb Contest Deadline -- You have until about midnight tomorrow night to enter Our Crumb Contest here at Comic Book Galaxy. If you haven't entered yet, please click over to the contest page and send in your entry before it's too late! And coming very soon...the biggest Comic Book Galaxy giveaway ever.

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Friday, May 27, 2005

 
The Friday Briefing -- Yesterday was update-free here, to highlight yesterday's efforts by The Committee to Protect Bloggers. Comic Book Galaxy fully endorses and supports their efforts, and if you haven't visited their site, please do, and be more informed about the issues at stake.

Glad to see Abhay liked TCAF's Comics Festival one-shot. I sent it to him guessing it'd be his thing, looks like I was right. Yay, me!

In other news, today is my 12th wedding anniversary. I cannot imagine a better life than I have had with Lora, and the family we created together. To my wife, I say thanks for putting up with me, and for being the prime mover in getting us into the house we moved in to last fall. Our lives have been much, much better since we came here, but no matter where we have been over the last 12 years, I've always felt at home when I am with you. Thanks, honey, and happy anniversary.

Everyone else, I hope you have the long weekend off from work, and that your Friday sails by quickly and painlessly to get to it. We'll be back next week, as the countdown to our most exciting day ever kicks into its final days.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

 

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

 
CCS: Helping Grow Cartoonists -- The Center for Cartoon Studies is opening this fall in Vermont, and has started a worthwhile campaign to help students with tuition while the school undergoes the long accreditation process.

Cartoonist and CCS Director James Sturm says "The newest challenge is students being able to afford tuition. Even though we are substantially less than comparative art schools it will be awhile until CCS is accredited. Until then our students will not be eligible for guaranteed student loans. Some extremely talented young cartoonists may not be able to attend because of lack of funds. A few thousand bucks could make the difference between a student attending or not. So I am beating the bushes to find ways to help raise some scholarship funds."

A web page has been set up to make it easy for people to donate:

http://cartoonstudies.org/donate

The CCS is one of the most promising developments in the comics artform that I can remember in my lifetime. I hope you'll look over the school's site and give as much as you can. I can't think of a more worthy cause, and it's one that most definitely pushes comics forward.

 
TCAF Preview -- Cartoonist Diana Tamblyn has written a terrific preview of this weekend's Toronto Comic Art Festival. I'm thrilled to be featuring this preview, and I wish more than just about anything I could make it up for the show this weekend. If you're going, have fun for me!

Monday, May 23, 2005

 
The Monday Briefing -- There's a good batch of new reviews up today, including my Quick Hits reviews of Dance, Elsewhere #1, Blecky Yuckarella, Happy Town vs. Neil Jam, Reunion #1, Firestorm #14, Graphic Classics Vol. 3 and Why Are You Doing This?

Also today, Marc Sobel reviews Marjane Satrapi's Embroideries, and Jog looks at Samuel Hiti's El Largo Tren Oscuro.

Today's the day Rich Johnston is supposed to start doing comics journalism at Comic Book Resources, eschewing gossip-mongering for a few weeks in favour of hardcore news. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes of that experiment. CBR seems to be having some expired-domain problems, at least on my browser, but Rich tells me it comes up okay on his side of the pond, so hopefully by the time the column is supposed to go live (3 PM Eastern Time), things will be straightened out.

Man, was I busy this past weekend. I got a haircut, which was actually more interesting than it sounds (maybe I'll write about it sometime soon), I had an eye exam and ordered new glasses and sunglasses (my first prescription pair in a while, but since I don't work overnights anymore I really need 'em), I hit Earthworld to pick up my weekly books (and grab the recent Stray Bullets Vol. 1 trade), we took the kids to a pretty awesome BBQ joint that also turned out to be awesomely expensive, and most importantly por vous, I spent hours and hours working on the mysterious behind-the-scenes goings-on that, if you're a longtime Galaxy reader, you're going to enjoy starting in a couple of weeks.

You'll recall last month I wrote about the the death of my red car. While I can't say I'm glad it happened, and I wish my neck didn't still feel stiff and sore on occasion, I can say that the crash changed my life in some pretty significant ways. It's probably a cliche to say it made me realize how lucky I am to have the things and people in my life that I do, but it did. It occurred to me that the woman who hit me, if she had been driving a big SUV and driving ten miles an hour faster, might very well have killed me. That kind of makes you stop and evaluate everything in your life.

In the past month I have become more passionate about my family, my life, my career, and this very website, than I can ever remember being. As far as Comic Book Galaxy, I haven't been this engaged and excited about it since August of 2000, when I was putting together the first team of writers, designing the site and getting everything ready for the big launch September 1st, 2000.

Right now I've got ideas and plans and the energy to put them into action. Most importantly, I've got brilliant friends and colleagues that are necessary to start to implement everything I want to see happen on this site. If Comic Book Galaxy has been important to you over the past five years, I think as we head into Year Six (!) that it will become essential reading. Not that many people will read down this far (hmm, maybe my wife's right about me being a manipulative bastard?), but for those of you that have, I'll tell you now that two weeks from today you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

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Sunday, May 22, 2005

 
The Sunday Afternoon Briefing -- Who reads comics blogs on Sunday afternoon? Hell, who writes them? Anyway...wrote a decent batch of Quick Hits reviews this morning and early this afternoon, finally putting a dent in the huge pile of stuff I need to review. So that's exciting. Hope to edit and post those and a few other reviews by the Galaxy Gang either later tonight or first thing in the morning. A lot of things are about to change here at COMIC BOOK GALAXY, and one of those is that you'll be able to precict with a bit more regularity when you see a given writer's stuff appear. And wait 'til you see what else we have up our sleeves...!

Boy, that was brief. Well, I wanted to pop in and say hi, and now I really wanna get OFF THE COMPUTER. I have I Heart Huckabees and the new Seinfeld Season Four DVDs to watch, and Huckabees isa rental, so I gotta get to that tonight or it goes back unwatched. WOuldn't be the first time I've done that, but I hate it when it does. It makes me never want to rent said movie again for fear it'll happen again, and it's also a colossal waste of four bucks. Y'know?

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Creators Rights -- Steve Bissette and Tom Spurgeon are talking Creators Rights over at The Comics Reporter. That last paragraph is a scorcher, Tom. Bravo.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

 
Computer Geniuses: Win Free Comics -- I need help with a one-time special project to help tweak the site's archives; you need to understand HTML and/or website construction, and need to have the time and desire to help out. In exchange, the Galaxy Prize Vault will be thrown open and you will find Free Stuff on Your Stoop in no time fast. The ideal candidate may be enlisted for future projects with the enticing lure of even more free, yes free comics and graphic novels in exchange for being just a little smarter and more efficient than me, which is not exactly a difficult requirement. Anyway, if you think you can help and would like some goodies, e-mail me now. HELP!

Friday, May 20, 2005

 
Cup of TCAF -- Over at Silver Bullet Comics, Christopher Butcher is interviewed about The Toronto Comic Art Festival. Man, I wish I could be there. Crap. But, bit of good news, we will have some pre-show coverage from a prominent mini-comics creator planning to attend and debut a new title at the event. More on that very soon.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

 
A Worthy Cause -- Warren Ellis's blog has a lot of visitors, and therefore costs more money than, say, Schmucky Schmuckerson's LiveJournal that no one reads.

Therefore, I urge you to go give Ellis a little money.

 
Propane Powers, Activate! -- When did Hank Hill's niece Luann join the Teen Titans?

 
Soup's on! -- Yes, it's a visual gag nicked from Meticulous Mark Evanier, but the message is the same; posting has been light here on the blog, and new content much the same over on the main site, but there's some good reasons, all of them of a positive nature. I'm working hard on a Galaxy-related project that should blow your mind when it finally arrives*, as well as the usual real-life stuff that occasionally gets in the way of the FUN, FUN, FUN of running a comics website. Meanwhile, Chris Allen tells me a new Breakdowns is coming this week, and I do have a good-sized stack of stuff I need to review ASAP, so, please be patient, and check out the stuff I posted links to directly under this post. Enjoy your day!


* Official Hint #2, for those of you playing along at home.

 
That Thing You Dugan -- Go read Marvelous Marc Sobel's Dugan Under Ground review, right here at Comic Book Galaxy.

 
Kochalka Meets Cute Arrant -- It's a headline only a Roger Ebert fan will appreciate, but anyway, you should go read Chris Arrant's Kochalka interview at Newsarama, if for no other reason than it's not a Kochalka interview written by moi.

Monday, May 16, 2005

 
The Straight Poop -- Good news for fans of good comics; here's Rick Bradford's press release.

Poopsheet Shop Relaunches at a New Domain

http://www.poopsheetfoundation.com/shop

Now that I've conquered – with plenty of help — a few minor setbacks and technical hurdles, I'm happy to announce that

the new Poopsheet Shop is open for business!

With the relaunch we've added around 25 new books, many of which are included in the graphic above. On the main page

of the site is a "Newest Additions" section where the most recent are spotlighted. However, the entire list of new items is

as follows:

• John Porcellino / La Mano - Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man
• Robin Bougie - Cinema Sewer #16
• Ansis Purins - Duppy and Zombre vs. Slappy
• Mark Burrier - The Intruder
• Josh Simmons - All About Fuckin' #s 7, 8, 9 and 10 and Pussies #s 1 and 2
• Chris Cilla - Hot Dog Holiday and A Moon, A Girl... Swonk
• Lonnie Allen - The Cheerleader & Other Stories, Boxer #1 and Tell Tale Signs
• Zeke S. Clough - Petstatic #5
• Dan Moynihan - Catching the Moon and Sidewalk Bump
• Jim Siergey - Pete the Pit Bull Puppy
• Dave Kiersh - Dave K. Greatest Hits
• Damien Jay - Plates Are Cult #2
• Warren Craghead - Jefferson Estates #s 1-3

Plus, there's lots more just waiting to be added, including books by Robert Goodin, Derek Ballard, Souther Salazar,

Vanessa Davis, John Hankiewicz, Debbie Huey, Warren Craghead and others.

So surf on over, take a look, and let us know what you think!

Thanks for your time,
--Ricko


Click on over now and spend some money on good comics!

 
Butcher: Always Right -- Christopher Butcher at comics.212.net linked to Tom Spurgeon's Guide to the San Diego Comicon. I've never been and probably never will, unless I get rich and retire, so, I didn't think I'd need to read it. I was wrong, Butcher was right. It's a great damned piece, in the usual Spurgeon style of engaging, sardonic prose. I particularly like his comment on cell phones. Go read it, whether you're going or not.

 
Jay's Back Online -- I should mention that autobiographical cartoonist and all-around ubermensch Jason Marcy has started posting his daily diary strips to his LiveJournal. And after some fine-tuning, they're looking good! Jay's strip and James Kochalka's American Elf are the first two things I check out every morning, and you should add them to your day too.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

 
Reason #11 -- Tom Spurgeon provides 10 Reasons He Won't See Revenge of the Sith, to which I can only add that the last good Star Wars movie was The Empire Strikes Back, and that was a long frigging time ago. Since then, it's been nothing but Ewoks, all the way down.

 
Nostalgia -- I am instinctively interested more in the here and now and the future of comics than I am in its often crumbling, off-white-to-brown VG- history.

That said, I was delighted to think about my answers to this week's nostalgic Five for Friday at The Comics Reporter. Tom Spurgeon always comes up with thought-provoking questions, and the answers of his readers are often nearly as interesting as his own. So go on over and see what makes me all misty for the Good Ol' Days of Comics.

First official hint: I have definitely been looking more to the future than to the past over the last week, and the future of Comic Book Galaxy looks pretty damned cool to me at the moment.

Friday, May 13, 2005

 
New Kochalka CD/DVD Review -- Just posted my review of the new James Kochalka Superstar CD and DVD (and comic!). Check it out!

 
Allen on Tarts -- One of my favourite things Chris Allen does, and he has done it off and on as long as he's been writing about comics, is to look at the comics media. Last night he poked around the Sequential Tart website and came up with some apt criticisms that describe why it currently is a third-tier comics website at best.

I agree with all his sentiments, including and especially the fact that ST should be a vital and forward-looking voice in the ongoing discussion of comics online. I'm keenly aware of late how circumstance and time can take your eyes off the prize, and many of the issues Chris addresses about ST I see as needing some attention here at Comic Book Galaxy, too. Just yesterday I took the initiative to set down some new policies for our contributors and set in motion some major, positive changes as we approach our fifth anniversary and the beginning of our sixth year this September 1st.

So thanks to Chris for his inspiring comments on Sequential Tart -- I'd like to see much more of the same, Chris, maybe a series, and including coverage of sites that get it mostly right, too, of course -- but this one really has me thinking, and came along at exactly the right time. Good things are coming in the very near future.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

 
The Music Meme -- Spotted at Trusty Plinko Stick:

1. Of all the bands/artists in your CD/record collection, which one do you own the most albums by?

Probably Moby, followed by James Kochalka Superstar.

2. What was the last song you listened to?

"Homeward Angel" from Moby's new CD Hotel.

3. What's in your CD player right now?

The ambient bonus disc that came with Hotel.

4. What song would you say sums you up?

William Shatner's "You'll Have Time" comes to mind. It's on his recent CD produced by Ben Folds.

5. What's your favorite local band?

James Kochalka Superstar is as local as it's going to get, a few hours up the road, over Vermont way.

6. What was the last show you attended?

The book signing party for American Elf, which included a performance by JKS.

7. What artist do you consider to be very underrated?

Uh, guess.

8. What's the shittiest band you've ever seen in concert?

U2 on the Popmart tour. But the best concert I ever attended was U2 on the Joshua Tree tour. So, go figure.

9. What band do you love musically but hate the members of?

I don't think enough about the members of any band that this question even applies. To me it's about the music, not the artists.

10. What is the most musically involved you have ever been?

Playing it on the radio.

11. What show are you looking forward to?

I'd like to see Green Day live sometime. I'd settle for a live DVD of the American Idiot tour.

12. What is your favorite band shirt?

Don't have one.

13. What musician would you like to hang out with for a day?

Peter Gabriel.

14. Metal question- Jeans and Leather vs. Cracker Jack clothes?

I am happy to have no idea what this question means.

15. Sabbath or solo Ozzy?

I think I like one song by each.

16. Commodores or solo Lionel Ritchie?

Faith No More.

17. Blackjack or solo Michael Bolton?
Oh, good God. Are you kidding me?

18. The Eagles or solo Don Henley?

I prefer the introspection of solo Henley to the country corn of the Eagles.

19. The Police or solo Sting?

I like 'em both. although I can't remember the last good Sting CD.

20. Doesn't emo suck?

Oh, probably.

21. Name 4 flawless albums.

Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd
So - Peter Gabriel
Don't Trust Whitey - James Kochalka Superstar
American Idiot - Green Day

22. Did you know that filling out this survey makes you a music geek?

I'm pretty sure it doesn't, actually. I'm not informed enough to be a geek.

23. What was the greatest decade for music?

I spent more time and money on it in the 1980s, but the music I like best today is being made today.

24. How many music-related videos/DVDs do you own?

The Polyphonic Spree DVD that came with their last CD. And hopefully by the end of the week, the new JKS CD/DVD.

25. Do you like Journey?

Sadly, I used to. But only a couple of their albums. Never cared for the "Lights/Lovin' Touchin'/Squeezin'" era at all. I cringe at all of it now.

26. What is your favorite movie soundtrack?

Donnie Darko.

27. What was your last musical "phase" before you wised up?

Bought a lot of classic rock in the 1980s. I still like The Beatles and some Pink Floyd. I'm allergic to Southern Rock.

28. What's the crappiest CD/record/etc you've ever bought?

Remember that song "Hey Mickey" in the '80s? By that cheerleader chick? What was her name? Yeah, I had that whole album. Agggggh.

29. Do you prefer vinyl or Cds?

Records always aggravated me. Too much work.

30. What is your guilty pleasure CD, that being the CD you love but would be ashamed to admit you have in your collection?

I don't think my "collection" is big enough to hold such horrors. I only have stuff I really, really like and am not ashamed of.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

 
Merci Beaucoup, Kevin -- Thanks to Beaucoup Kevin for liking me, and more importantly, Sleeper.

 
Hype the Front Racks -- Shawn Hoke looks at hype. Good column.

 
Goodbye, Holden Carver -- Ed Brubaker says farewell to Sleeper, one of my all-time favourite comics, and certainly one of the best action/adventure books put out by DC or Marvel ever.

 
Project Superior Contest Winners! -- Congratulations to the winners of our Project Superior Contest:

The Grand Prize winner is Matthew Kish of Dublin, Ohio. Matthew wins a limited edition hardcover of Project Superior, as well as a signed & numbered Project Superior James Jean postlet, Limited Edition Project Superior Trading Cards, Project Superior Postcards, and a Project Superior Poster.

Our two Runners-Up are Steve MacNeil of Sydney, Nova Scotia and Rina Ayuyang of
Oakland, California. Steve and Rina both take home a Project Superior softcover, Signed & Numbered Project Superior James Jean Postlet, and Project Superior postcards.

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest, and make sure you sign up for Our Crumb Contest, running throughout the rest of this month!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

 
Pipeline Preview -- Go over and check out Augie's new column today. He has a good discussion on the thought that ought to be put into collections from the corporate/superhero comics publishers*, some nice blog-like bullet points, and the big finish, a dead-on point about the most useless, navel-gazing of blogposts, the "Here's what search terms bring people to my site" post. Yes, we KNOW people looking for "Horse cousins incest" and "Naked Starfire and an iguana" bring people to your site. We're glad you find it entertaining. We don't.

Good work, Augie.

* I mean, the new catalog from Fantagraphics (the one they do for the book trade, not for comics buyers) is a thing of beauty, explaining in detail what they'll be publishing for the next few months, how it will be marketed, who the audience is, and what the books will look like. If Fantagraphics can do it, why can't Marvel and DC?

 
Happy Kochalkulations! -- If you go over to James Kochalka's American Elf site right now, you should see the strip celebrating the release of his band James Kochalka Superstar's new CD and DVD Our Most Beloved, which I do believe comes out in what we used to call record stores today!

The set is put out by Rykodisc, so if your CD/DVD store of choice doesn't have it, make sure you ask them to order it for you. The music -- playful, addictive, and uniquely Kochalka -- is remastered and in some cases redone entirely, so this is a whole new thing. The DVD has some great JKS video on it, full of fun and mindbending imagery. And if I recall correctly, it even comes with a comic booklet.

If you're a fan, this should be a great addition to your Kochalka collection. If you've never taken my word for how great James's music and comics are, here's a chance to sample both and get a free DVD to boot. What are you waiting for, go buy it!

Monday, May 09, 2005

 
The Monday Evening Briefing -- Man, this was a long day. Longest day I've had in many months. But it was a productive one, and so even if I am tired, "It's a good tired," as they say.

My sincere thanks to everyone who linked to Our Crumb Contest. I haven't had time to properly hunt down all the links, so, if you did link to the contest, thank you, very much. I appreciate the help getting the word out about the chance to win the fantastic R. Crumb Handbook.

As evening sets in, the kids are playing out in the yard for a few more minutes. This house we moved in to in October provides them with that opportunity for the first time, as the apartment we lived in for ten years before that had no yard to speak of. They're out there now riding their bikes and having a great time. Dad's all worn out, but we've already had dinner, and they just need to take their baths before bedtime. Ah, bedtime. Soon; soon and very soon.

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The Monday Briefing -- Hello, good morning, and welcome to your Monday Briefing. I'm Alan Doane, and I'm here to help.

Super-F*cking Contest Winners -- Well, it took weeks of back-breaking sitting in a chair and typing, but the data entry has been completed, and ten winners have been chosen at random from the hundreds of folks who entered the Super-F*cking Contest from James Kochalka, Top Shelf, and Comic Book Galaxy. The GRAND PRIZE WINNER is Jason Plapp of Long Beach, California. Jason wins an original painting of Jack Krak, the main character in Super-F*ckers, from Super-F*ckers creator James Kochalka; a super-rare and super-beautiful American Elf Hardcover from Top Shelf (including a variant cover! Take that, Identity Crisis!); a copy of Super-F*ckers #1 from Top Shelf; and a copy of The Comics Journal #222 from Comic Book Galaxy and an extremely shy but extremely decent and wonderful anonymous contributor. I'm also throwing in a copy of the FCBD wonderment that is Comics Festival! Congratulations, Jason!

Nine runners-up will receive a free copy of the first issue of Super-Fuckers, which Top Shelf tells me will be out within a month or so. Our runners up are Denise Stephens of Chandler, AZ; Nenad Vidovic of Toronto, ON; Melkorka Helgadóttir, of Reykjavík, Iceland; Joshua Leto of Costa Mesa, CA; Kelly Tindall of Calgary, Alberta; Nik Ramirez of Los Angeles, CA; Andrea Faetanini of Sandusky, OH; Steven Goldman of Brooklyn, NY; and Remi Treuer of Durham, NC. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Our Crumb Contest -- While we wait for the selection of the winners in the Project Superior Contest (wow, are we giving some great stuff away lately, or what?), why not take a moment to enter the brand-spanking-new Our Crumb Contest, in which some lucky Galaxy readers will get a free copy of the spectacular new hardcover autobiography of cartoonist R. Crumb called The R. Crumb Handbook. My review of the book doesn't even begin to explain how much I love this book. 440 pages, beautifully illustrated, many of Crumb's best stories included, free CD of Crumb's music, man, this thing is a gem. Enter the contest and find out for yourself!

Free Comic Book Day -- Yep, scheduling it the day before Mother's Day might not have been the smartest move ever, but it didn't slow down the crowds at Earthworld in Albany, NY. My wife and I took our kids and one of their friends and showed up promptly at opening time, and within a half-hour the place was packed with new faces looking for free comics and seemingly extremely interested in all the other comics and action figures and assorted doo-dads to be found in Upstate New York's Best Comics Shop. Owner JC Glindmyer can once again be proud of his staff and his shop, as the event was just a blast, and there were plenty of every single one of the FCBD offerings available. I've heard some people say their shop either didn't participate or didn't carry the full line of available books, and, you know, if that's the case where you live, it's time to find a comics shop that knows what it's doing. I'm incredibly grateful that our family is only an hour's drive from a shop as great as Earthworld, where FCBD seemed to be a terrific success again this year. I hope you were able to get out to your shop and support their efforts this year.

C for Chris -- Check out Chris Allen's look at F for Fake. This Orson Welles movie is one of my all-time favourite films, and this DVD may be the very best one I own, with a fantastic selection of special features and attention to detail. And hey, it looks like Chris has been posting a lot to his blog the past few days, so why not poke around the whole thing?

The Week in Comics -- Looks like another light week on New Comics Day. I'm looking forward to CONAN & THE JEWELS OF GWAHLUR #2, DESOLATION JONES #1, ASTONISHING X-MEN #10 and the biggest highlight of the week, ZAP COMIX #15. which I think some shops have already gotten, but this'll be the first I've seen of it, and with new Crumb material, it's a must-buy.

Okay, I'm outta here. Enjoy your Monday, and I'll see you back here on the blog soon. Thanks as always for making Comic Book Galaxy part of your Comics Internet experience!

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Sunday, May 08, 2005

 
Our Crumb Contest -- As I've mentioned, the new R. Crumb Handbook from MQP is just about the most fabulous book on a single comics creator that I've ever seen. Starting today, you can register to win your own copy in Our Crumb Contest. Thanks to everyone at MQP for making it possible for us to bring you this extremely cool prize!

 
AK on Comics -- You know what it means. Abhay's talking comics again, thank whatever God you choose. Good Sunday post-FCBD reading.

 
FCBD Dateline: Oshawa, ON -- Here's a FCBD report from cartoonist and longtime Galaxy contributor Jason Marcy:
With my son Xander in tow I decided that after his
pre-birthday party haircut (his birthday was this past
Wednesday, but it's the family shindig today...), we
would head on in to my local retailer, Icons Comics
and Collectibles here in Oshawa, and partake in a
little FCBD goodness.

Haircut mission complete, Xander clutching his plush
Spidey doll, we got to the store. It wasn't open yet,
but being a pain in the ass has its priviliges. The
weekend guy let us in and of course right away
Xander's little two year old mind was blown away by
all the Spiderman and Batman goodness, while Dad here
was eager to hit the free comics, both for my self and
my young lad.

Icons over the past couple of years has collected
quite a few FCBD editions, and many were represented
along with this year's crop. There were no limits to
the number of books I could take, so I grabbed a
healthy sampling of all they had. Being a picky
bastard, I was noting the fact that few of this year's
alternative titles had made the grade, and in fact,
their was a seemingly overwhelming amount of previous
years books on hand as opposed to this year's batch. I
think it was more that they hadn't delineated just
what was what and when, which was a bit distressing
for me. Xander, he didn't care. He was happy to grab
at the Star Wars toys, and even happier to see that
Dad had nabbed him some Star Wars FCBD stuff along
with his faves Spidey and Bats. I also took the
prerequisite Disney books knowing he would garner
something out of them somehow.

On the plus side, there were separate kiddie bags that
had a decent selection of kid popular titles and even
those little Heroclix figures (Spidey-go figure...).
That was new this year, a way to streamline the
selection process if you were a harried non comic
loving parent passing by who saw the big FCBD poster
in the window and wanted to grab something. The
negatives however were obvious. Not enough Indy
material from this year's choices. I didn't get the
Alternative Comics sampler (though they did have last
year's...), the only book from the Indy side of things
I had any clue what it looked like (Other then the
TCAF Comics Festival! book,
picked up at a con two weeks earlier...). I noted later
upon returning home I had
grabbed something I thought new, but it was actually
from last year. Knowing Icons audience (there's only
one other guy who pre-orders a lot of Indie
titles...), they played it safe and stuck with the
tried and true. This kind of goes against what I think
the whole point of what FCBD is all about, which is
getting something into people's hands they might not
normally buy at no cost to them and hoping it will
broaden their horizons.

Overall, my experience was neutral. I got stuff I know
Xander could look at and enjoy (he's nearly worn out,
from many look throughs, the softcover Spidey
Masterworks book I gave him a few months back...) on
some levels, but Dad, he kinda got gypped on the books
he'd read. Looking at what I did take, it's hard to
say how much of it I'll actually bother to read in the
end.

I have tried to push the owner to get more Indy
friendly books each year, and he has for the most part
done not too bad, but still is lollygagging for the
most part. I would have also liked to have seen a
better filing system from the old and new. It's great
you're gonna give out those old previous years books,
but have a system that can let the fan know which is
which without having to hold PREVIEWS in front of
them. I'd also liked to have seen a better alternative
book representation, but when you're catering only to
those who shop in your store and maybe getting
familiar titles for the non reader, it's not likely to
happen.

Free Comic Book Day at Icons Comics and Collectibles?
About a 5 out 10 for Dad, a 10 out of 10 for Xander
and certainly I think kids up to eleven or twelve.


More FCBD reports as they come in...if you want to share your FCBD story, just e-mail it to me ASAP!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

 
Totally Awesome Linkblogging -- Three in the morning, awoken early by the sound of my wife's, erm, aggressively noisy slumber. Surfing the web.

Oh, hey, it's Free Comic Book Day! Read the past week's entries here on the CBG blog for some recommended titles and pointers to my reviews of the very best of what's being offered today, and enjoy what I like to call Our National Holiday. See you out there!

Friday, May 06, 2005

 
Five For Friday -- Over at The Comics Reporter, check out Tom Spurgeon's, mine and possibly other people's Five Titles That Define Comics Right Now.

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Alias Deathwatch Begins -- Not since the final, disastrous days of CrossGen has a comics company had to explain away both apparent incompetence and alleged perfidy; the difference is, this company hasn't even shipped one book yet to comics shops.

And therein lies the rub. Yesterday, Newsarama reported on Alias Comics and its failure to ship any of its titles on time -- or at all -- in the month of April. I noticed with interest a quote from Alias head and noted homophobe Mike S. Miller that "Nine of the titles will be in stores May 11th. Next week." My guess is that, although Miller thinks this somehow is a positive, it will indeed be "A day that will live in infamy." The first thing I would advise any new publisher is to start small with one or two quality titles and establish a reputation for quality and regular shipping. By blasting a mostly-uninterested marketplace (I don't see Blue Beetle getting shot or Sue Dibny getting raped from behind on any of the Alias covers released to the press) with nine of these titles on a single day, Alias is immediately creating retailer hostility by insuring that the titles will remain on the shelf and be fodder for the quarter bins mere months from now.

Following the Newsarama story, Rampaging Fanboy Graeme McMillan soon smelled blood in the water and swam in for the kill, asking "Is anyone really still wondering if Alias can deliver what they promise at this point?" This all prompted Miller, the apparent public face of Alias Comics, to rush to defend his company and its failure out of the gate to keep its promises to readers and to the market. In the comment thread at Fanboy Rampage, Miller fought off criticism from experienced industry observers like Brian Hibbs, Augie De Blieck Jr., Paul O'Brien and Tom Spurgeon, inadvertently revealing that Alias has diverted money for printing Alias's books from North America to Asia, in order to take advantage of cheaper labour overseas, and denying much-needed labour to North American workers in a troubled economy.

Miller apparently rejected the single best piece of advice he got, from retailer Brian Hibbs, who literally wrote the book on comics retailing: "Seriously, save yourself the trouble, because I absolutely guarantee you that with this kind of start, you're going to be one of the thousands of wannabe publisher corpses that litters the history of the Direct Market."

Developing...

Thursday, May 05, 2005

 
TV I Watch -- I don't watch much TV, because, frankly, a lot of it sucks. Like, I grew up loving Star Trek in the 1970s and was devoted to The Next Generation throughout all the ups and downs of its run. Somewhere after Star Trek: First Contact I started to actively hate the people in charge of "the franchise," though, and I remember Insurrection, Nemesis, the series finale of Deep Space 9, most of Voyager and all of Enterprise with varying degrees of loathing. For all the hammy acting and overwriting, Babylon 5 probably remains my favourite science fiction TV series, although J. Michael Straczynski is probably one more bad comic book away from beginning to chip away at the goodwill I retain for that series.

The Prisoner, Fawlty Towers, Twin Peaks and the British version of The Office are all all-time favourites that I would bring to that mythical desert island with me; it's no coincidence that I have them all on DVD, despite the outrageous price of the full-season Prisoner set and the sadly as-yet unreleased status of Twin Peaks Season Two. I've never even been able to successfully download those, although apparently it is possible if the stars are aligned the right way, or so I hear.

Here's a look, then, at what I currently am watching on my teevee.

The Shield -- Despite occasional doubts about certain plot elements and how they relate to the fact that the show is a Fox production (see next entry, as well), this is cutting-edge storytelling with a flawless performance from star Michael Chiklis and all-around excellent work from all the other actors, too. Glenn Close has settled in nicely, and the Acaveda character has succeeded in becoming even more loathsome than Vic Mackey in his darkest moment (which was, you'll note, at the end of the very first episode).

24 -- Anyone beside me notice that Jack Bauer says "nukuler?" Yes, this is a Fox production, and in addition to the Arab-bashing this season, Our Hero must apparently emulate the Resident-in-Chief's verbal uneloquenceness. Despite all that, this season has been the most riveting yet, with only the badly-paced episode featuring the shooting down of Air Force One standing out in my mind as a mis-step. Having no inside knowledge of the series at all, I fully expect that Jack won't make it out of this season alive. Of course, I also thought he'd shoot Paul on the operating table to relieve the doctor of his ethical dilemma, and I was wrong about that, so...anyway, yeah, 24 is probably the series I most look forward to every week.

The Daily Show -- The one I most look forward to every day, though, is Jon Stewart's amazing faux news show. Ironically you'll find more real news on any given episode than in any 24 hours of any "real" cable news network. Just the best televised journalism around, and increasingly, the only choice for people interested in actual news.

The Sopranos -- Man, it's been a long time since this has been on. But when it is in session, it's one of the best series in the history of television. I'd love to own the way over-priced DVD sets, but, did I mention how overpriced they are?

Justice League Unlimited -- The only corner of the DC Universe that I have any remaining interest in at all. Just a wonderful series, as all the various Batman and Superman and such series leading up to it were. And one of the few series that every single member of my family seems to enjoy equally.

Lost -- I'm not entirely convinced this one is gonna hold up when all is finally revealed, but so far it's been one hell of a ride.

Boston Legal -- I could watch Spader and Shatner chew the scenery all day long. I just wish creator David Kelley had a better grasp of what does and doesn't work in his writing.

Doctor Who -- Oh, here's another one that my kids and I enjoy together. Sure, the "Dalek" episode had a goofy ending, but observing my 9 and 11 year olds watching it, it worked for the target audience. So far, this revival has been good to very good overall, and I really like Bille Piper's Rose Tyler, even if it seems everyone on the V hates her.

The Simpsons -- Don't always remember to tape this, but when we watch it, it's still good, subversive fun.

Arrested Development -- Ditto.

ER -- The longest-running series my wife and I have watched since Day One. Sometimes it seems a little long in the tooth, but many of the recent characters seem worthy of the series, and Donnie Darko convinced me that Noah Wyle is just one hell of an actor. I'm gonna miss him once he's down to a few episodes a year beginning next season.

The Office -- Yeah, the US version. Cancelled after six episodes, and you know, shit! I was really enjoying it on its own merits. I was even rooting for Jim and Pam, without reflecting on Tim and Dawn in any noticable way. It's a shame this one didn't get more of a chance. For the record, other than the pilot and the basketball episode, most every episode was worth watching.

NYPD Blue -- That pull-back from the boss's office with Andy sitting in the big chair was just goddamned moving television. The series got wonky somewhere in the middle, but the last few episodes really captured what was good about Blue, and I don't think there'll ever be a time I don't miss having this show be a part of my week.

So, my fellow bloggers: What are you watching?

 
The Complete FCBD List -- With thanks to The New Comics Release List, here's a rundown of everything that may be offered at your local comic shop on Free Comic Book Day.

Recommended titles appear in BOLD.

ADHOUSE BOOKS
Superior Showcase #0 FCBD Edition, AR

ALTERNATIVE COMICS
Alternative Comics Presents FCBD Ed 2005 Edition, AR

ARCANA STUDIO
Arcana Studio Presents #2 FCBD Edition, AR

ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS
Betty & Veronica FCBD Edition #1, AR

BECKETT COMICS
Ronin Hood Of 47 Samurai #1 FCBD Edition, AR

BONGO COMICS
Bongo Comics Gimme Gimme Giveaway FCBD Edition, AR

CAPTION BOX
Mortal Coils Presents Free Bodies FCBD Edition, AR

DARK HORSE COMICS
FCBD Star Wars Edition, AR

DC COMICS
Batman Strikes #1 FCBD Edition, AR

DEVILS DUE PUBLISHING
Devils Due FCBD Special Edition, AR

DIAMOND SELECT TOYS
DST Bag O FCBD Minimates, AR

DRAWN & QUARTERLY
Adventures Of Paul FCBD Edition, AR (my review)

FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS
Funny Book FCBD Edition, AR (my review)

GEMSTONE PUBLISHING
Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge FCBD Edition, AR

G T LABS
Bone Sharps Cowboys Thunder FCBD Edition, AR

HEROIC PUBLISHING INC
Flare FCBD Edition, AR

IMAGE COMICS
Flight Primer FCBD Edition, AR

IMPACT BOOKS
Impact University FCBD Edition, AR

JETPACK PRESS
Johnny Raygun Freebie FCBD Edition, AR

KEENSPOT ENTERTAINMENT
Keenspot Spotlight 2005 FCBD Edition, AR

LEGION OF EVIL PRESS
Comics Festival FCBD Edition, AR (my review)

MARVEL COMICS
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man & Fantastic Four FCBD Edition, AR

ONI PRESS INC.
Oni Press Fist Fest Featuring Hysteria & Sharknife FCBD Ed, AR

RENAISSANCE PRESS
Amelia Rules #0 FCBD Edition, AR

SERVE MAN PRESS
Runners #1 Remastered FCBD Edition, AR

SKY DOG PRESS
Buzzboy Roboy Major Damage Triple Frosted Fun Comics FCBD Ed, AR

TOP SHELF PRODUCTIONS
Owly Splashin Around FCBD Edition, AR

WIZARD ENTERTAINMENT
Wizard Presents The Top 100 TPs FCBD Ed, AR

And remember, you can find your closest comics shop by using the Comic Shop Locator. Free Comic Book Day is this Saturday, May 7th. I hope to see you out there!

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The Truth About Crumb -- Watching the Criterion Collection DVD of Orson Welles's masterwork F For Fake these past few days -- I literally have been unable to stop watching it and its special features for more than a few hours at a time, before I am drawn into its world again -- I have thought a lot about what is real and what is fake, and I have thought a lot about the power of narrative in the hands of an author who knows himself and his art, and how to best use the two to create a powerful expression that will change the life of all who experience the resulting work.

Not entirely coincidentally, here's my review of the R. Crumb Handbook.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

 
International Birthday Wishes -- A big, cross-border HAPPY BIRTHDAY today to Xander Marcy, two years old today!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

 
Free Comic Book Day This Saturday --Here's your official Comic Book Galaxy reminder that Free Comic Book Day is this Saturday, May 7th, 2005.

As always, I'll be bringing my family (and any other interested kids and adults we can bring along) to Earthworld Comics on Central Avenue in Albany, New York. Earthworld is always the most fun place to be in Albany, especially on FCBD, and this year I hear Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn may be plotting their next moves against Batman in between posing for pictures and signing comics.

You can find the nearest participating comics shop by using the FCBD store locator.

I've reviewed a few of the better FCBD titles you can pick up this Saturday, so go check out my preview/reviews of The Adventures of Paul, Comics Festival! and Funny Book. All three are fantastic examples of the very best of what comics has to offer, and these three are just a small sampling of the big variety of comics you'll be able to pick up absolutely free.

Remember, Free Comic Book Day is this Saturday, May 7th. Make sure you take part in the fun, and make sure you bring along all the friends, relatives, kids, and confused strangers that you can!

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The Bluesman Project Comes Alive! -- Eisner-nominated creators Rob Vollmar and Pablo G. Callejo invite sinners and saints alike to come get their mojo working at The Bluesman Project, a new website dedicated to the BLUESMAN graphic novel.

BLUESMAN, currently serialized internationally in three languages, is the story of wandering musician, Lem Taylor, and his harrowing journey across Arkansas of the late 1920s with much worse than hellhounds on his trail.

The Bluesman Project website is intended as a resource for reader and retailer alike, offering a full preview of the first chapter of the book along with creator biographies, excerpts of and links to interviews and critiques, and a regularly updated blog from BLUESMAN writer, Rob Vollmar.

The music's done commenced but we reckon it ain't a show ‘til the folks in back are dancing too. Visit The Bluesman Project now!.

Monday, May 02, 2005

 
The Monday Briefing -- Over at The Great Curve, a comics blog I contribute to, they've got a highly readable new look and an interview with Steve Englehart conducted by Curve editor Alex Segura Jr.

Englehart's Dark Detective revisits one of the best Batman eras ever, the 1970s Detective Comics by Englehart with artists Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin. The whole gang is reunited for the mini-series that kicks off this week, and as someone who was just the right age to appreciate their original stories, I am curious enough about this reunion that I might give it a look.

Yesterday my wife and I watched "The Balance," an above-average episode of Justice League Unlimited. The main characters were Hawkgirl and Wonder Woman, and the plot focused on the tension between them as they tried to shut down a supernatural threat to the League's magical members. Nice cameos for The Demon and Zatanna, The Flash f8inally showed up for a (funny) bit, and the anger between Hawkgirl and Diana was nicely played. If you're not watching the series, it was revealed some time ago that Hawkgirl was a sort of advance scout for an invasion of Earth by Thanagar, and how she's trying to find her way back into the good graces of some League members who feel she betrayed them. It's interesting to see how these DC characters can be involved in serious conflict like this without anyone being raped from behind or having their head brutally blown off; turns out it's actually more enteraining and provides more story potential for the future than the cynical fan-fiction that passes for DC's comics these days. Yep, interesting. Dwayne McDuffie and the rest of the people writing JLU should be handed the DC Universe for a few years, just to show the current bad stewards of the DCU how professionals can create good superhero stories without treating the characters like Dr. Mengele's test subjects.

After nearly a week of trying to track it down, I finally found a copy of the new Criterion Collection DVD of F For Fake, a brilliant latter-day film written and directed by, and starring, Orson Welles. Those of you using Netflix should put this one in the top of your queue, as it's probably Welles's best and most interesting film other than Citizen Kane. The Criterion DVD has some impressive bonuses, including the terrific documentary One Man Band, which I had seen, I think, on Showtime, a year or three back. This two-disc set is must-watching for anyone interested in fraud, fakery, fiction, storytelling, movies, or Welles himself. I find all those subjects endlessly fascinating and was delighted to slap down my forty bucks for this new release. Like I say, if you're not as committed as I am to F For Fake you might want to rent it first, but it might be a bit hard to track down. It's well worth the search, though.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

 
New Kyle Baker Interview -- Tom Spurgeon is playing host to a new Kyle Baker interview conducted by Andrew Farago. Click on over and take a look.

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