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.


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!


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

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

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!

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