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Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Last Post of 2005 -- Oh, man, the year's over already, huh? That seemed to go by fast. Look for the Comic Book Galaxy 2006 Roundtable column coming up on Monday, when you'll get an earful about the year ahead from folks who know whereof they speak.

What am I doing today? This morning I watched Blade Runner with Lora, who this afternoon left with her parents for a New Year's Eve casino gambling Connecticut adventure, woo-hoo. My interest in gambling begins and ends with two or three scratch-off tickets per year, so I hope they all have a ball, but I am happy to hang out at home with the kids.

Who, by the way, I took out to lunch at Wendy's, and then to various stores to pick up snacks and (for me and any possible guests later this evening) a bottle of champagne, currently chilling in the fridge. The kids (including one from down the street) are watching the freshly-rented Lilo and Stitch 2, and after they're done with that I plan to pop in one of the movies I bought for tonight, either The Usual Suspects or Strange Days. Yeah, bought, not rented. I used Saturnalia Week as an excuse to buck up my DVD collection a bit.

Earlier today I spent about an hour on the phone with my buddy Rob Vollmar, who shared some very, VERY good news with me about Bluesman. I'd tell you, but I am sure he wants to announce it himself...

My biggest project this week after putting together a couple of big pieces for Comic Book Galaxy, has been my third re-read of Alan Moore's novel Voice of the Fire. It gets better every time I read it, as I pick up on more and more of the recurring motifs and am better able to immerse myself in the world Moore creates over the course of the book. I really can't recommend it enough, it's as good or better than anything the man has ever done in comics, and I remind you that he is the best writer ever to work in comics, so, that's saying something.

All right, I should go and finish up the last two chapters of the book while the kids watch their movie...I also want to read some more of the Complete Calvin and Hobbes. Man, it's nice to have a three-day weekend and pretty much no work at all that needs to be done for quite some time. This almost never happens, and I am going to go enjoy it now.

Happy new year, thanks as always for spending part of your time here with me, and now you, too, go and have some fun. We'll chat again in 2006.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

2005: The Year in ADD Reviews -- As the year draws to a close, and as I am busy working on an article that should be up by the end of this week or the beginning of next, I thought it might be space-filling entertaining and enlightening to look back on the last year's worth of reviews written by yours truly.

Strongly recommended titles are marked with an asterisk (*).

World War 3 Illustrated #36*
The Ticking*
The Secret Voice #1*
Conversation #2
Damn You, Frida Khalo
The Cute Manifesto*
Magic Boy and Girlfriend*
Top Ten: The Forty-Niners*
Or Else #3*
Dead West
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World*
James Kochalka Superstar: Our Most Beloved
The R. Crumb Handbook*
Temporary #2
Chronicles of Conan Vol. 7
Hello Again
Marvel Visionaries: Steve Ditko
Meatcake #14
The Naked Cosmos*
The Adventures of Paul*
Comics Festival*
Funny Book*
Dirtboy #1
Ed The Happy Clown #1
24 Hour Comics
Tiempo Finales (End Times)
Wingnut and Fidget
Angry Youth Comics #8
Flight Vols. 1 and 2
Apres Shampooing and Pig's Missing Poo
Jessica Farm #1*
Black Heart Irregulars #1
Shuck The Sulfurstar #1*
The Mini-Comics of Diana Tamblyn*
Outlaws, Rebels, Freethinkers and Pirates*
Pussies Vols. 1 and 2
Silver Age: The Second Generation of Comic Book Artists
Following Cerebus #3
The Long Haul
Steve Ditko: Space Wars
Nothing Left to Lose

...and, if you haven't checked it out yet, here is Comic Book Galaxy's Best of 2005 year-end column by myself and Christopher Allen. Enjoy!


Rage Against The Political Machine -- The new issue of World War 3 Illustrated is out, and it's a doozy. Packed with great political comics by folks like Peter Kuper, Tom Tomorrow and Joe Sacco, it's also the magazine's 25th anniversary issue. Need more reasons to read it? Here's my review.


Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Meme of Four -- As seen at Crooks and Liars.

Four jobs you’ve had in your life: Comic shop clerk, disc jockey, news producer, production director.

Four movies you could watch over and over: Ghost World, Donnie Darko, F for Fake, The Matrix.

Four places you’ve lived: Salem, NY; St. Augustine, Florida; Greenwich, NY; Glens Falls, NY.

Four TV shows you love to watch: Firefly, 24, The Daily Show, The Shield.

Four places you’ve been on vacation: Boston, Toronto, Disney World, home.

Four websites you visit daily (I'll name a few different ones): The Comics Reporter, American Elf, Comics 212.net, Jason Marcy's LiveJournal.

Four of your favorite foods: Scallops, pizza, lasagna, pancakes.

Four places you’d rather be: Toronto, Vermont, Northampton, Mass., Northampton, England.

If you're reading this and have a blog, consider yourself tagged.

Happy holidays!


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Five Years Later -- Big congrats to Mark Evanier for five years of News from ME. It's one of the best and most readable blogs around, period -- and his thoughts on his fifth blogging anniversary are well worth reading.


Saturday, December 17, 2005

Goodbye and Good Night, John Spencer -- Very sorry to hear of John Spencer's death. He was a fantastic actor and in many ways the heart of The West Wing. Even as directionless as the show has become the past couple of years, he always managed to fill his scenes with gravity, wit and intelligence, and his political resurrection in last season's finale literally brought a tear to my eye, a tribute to his power as an actor and the goodwill I and many other viewers felt toward him in his role as Leo McGarry.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Popping In To Say Hi -- Holidays, family and two jobs have me pressed for blogging time -- I don't even have time to read many comics blogs at the moment, never mind maintain my own. I know, I well and truly suck. I hope things will improve somewhat after the first of the year, when some changes should be evident hereabouts.

I did find the time to vote in the Comics Bloggers Poll that Chris Tamarri thunk up. If you have a comics blog or contribute to one, be sure to make your voice heard.

I finished reading the Will Eisner hagiography A Spirited Life this week, and my feelings echo those of Steven Grant. It's a fine, compelling collection of interesting, funny and/or enlightening anecdotes, but it lacks a cohesive narrative voice and solid point of view to really make it an enduring biography of one of the artform's most important figures. Of course, I felt the same way about the Silver Age book Grant reviews in the same column, and he seems to like that quite a bit more than I did.

But that is often the problem, with books on comics -- plenty of anecdotes, lists and factoids, but rarely a confident, bold point of view that carries you through the work and makes you feel like you've done more than just watsed some time on a breezy read. For an example of the right way to do it, I highly recommend Bob Levin's Outlaws, Rebels, Freethinkers and Pirates, which was probably the best book about comics in 2005.

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

"Hurm," To Coin a Phrase -- Maybe this wasn't the best weeK to get back to work here. The spirit is most definitely willing, but I'll tell you, the holidays have slammed me at the radio station (putting together dozens of Christmas commercials every day, among other things), I have been working extra on my second job, and yesterday I got asked to do not one but two presentations on comics before a group of about 150 librarians from all over upstate New York. And like a lunatic, an honoured lunatic, I said yes.

So, I'll be popping in here when I can, but it might be quiet for a few days as I try to keep all these insane plates spinning in the air.

Also: Look for a review from me on the main site tomorrow -- a review readers of Warren Ellis's The Engine got a sneak peek at today.

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