Saturday, July 30, 2005

Hey, Hey, The Gang's All Here!

Vacation is officially over. The kids are all home as of last night and we're already swinging back into chaos. On the plus side, it also looks like it will be business as usual for the wife and me for a while. That interview with Bear McCreary that's been burning a hole in my hard drive will probably be hitting the 'net later today sometime and the same with my Keith Giffen Update (feat. my interview with Colleen Doran, of course).

So, that's good news.

Also, speaking of interviews, I managed to grab a book yesterday that has me pretty excited. It's called The Art of the Interview: Lessons from a Master of the Craft and it's by Lawrence Grobel, the interviewer's interviewer. The book is all about learning the craft of interviewing or acts as a guidebook on how to hone your already existing skills. So far, I'm already in awe of the thing and I'm busily working my way through it.

I take the interview schtick pretty seriously and I'm always trying to broaden my palette, if you will. It's important to me that I do my best not to just ask those 10 simple questions that you see in too many interviews, these days. You know the ones. They often include little gems like, "Where do you get your ideas" and "What's your favourite colour"? What disheartens me is that there are so many prominent internet comic journalists (none of whom I will name at this point) who rarely rise above this. I don't know if it's a matter of volume, or laziness, or what it is (I'm sure I'll think on it some more, now) but it's just damn sloppy and not very interesting to read.

Anyway, I'll likely be posting on this topic, as well as the book, in a future post so I'll leave the discussion at that, for now.

I've also got some linkblog stuff to do a little later and I'll be sure to mention when and where the interviews go up when they are live.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

T for Trailer

The Warner Bros. V For Vendetta site has gotten a facelift and they've also posted the official teaser trailer for the film. It looks better than I thought it would but the music they chose to go with the images is a bit too...swashbucklery for my tastes. I would have preferred something a little less "action film" and something a little more "psychological thriller", you know?

Still, if Warner wants the common people to come to this in droves they have to play up the Matrix connection and the action bits, otherwise it's just another poncy, dull British film, am I right?

Anyway, go check it out for yourselves.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

What's New?

My kids have gone away for the week with their grandparents. They've gone up to my wife's parents' cabin and we've been left to our own devices for a few days, which may go some ways to explaining why I haven't really done anything online yet that I said I was going to this week.

What I have done is hang out with the wife, hang out with a friend who stopped in from out of town, a little housework, some life planning, a lot of reading and I've watched a lot of bonus features off of my Return of the King extended edition DVD.

I'm feeling pretty cool, calm and relaxed now. I've been home for about a year, now (maybe even longer), and since I haven't been able to get a vacation out of the house, it's kind of nice to be able to have one while still in it. I feel a little bad that I haven't gotten to a few things that I wanted to have done this week, but not too guilty. Except for the Salon pitch, none of it was attached to a paying (or potentially paying) gig, so I'm not losing sleep over it.

Anyway, that's a bit of a State of the Union address for my world. I'm going to go and do a little bit more relaxing before I get back on the horse and spend too much time in front of the computer again.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The New Comics 9

The new comics I'll be gunning for this week are as follows:


Not too bad a list. Couple of bucks and I'm set 'til next Wednesday.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

Got What I Was Looking For

Huzzah! I've now received the two e-mails that I've been waiting on since Friday of last week. I had Colleen's answers come in yesterday, I believe, and Bear (who, it appears, has been knee deep in scoring episode 6 of Battlestar Galactica) has just managed to get back to me with the clarification I needed to move ahead with Part Two of his interview.

I'm too wiped out tonight to get their stuff up but I'll be posting their respective interviews tomorrow, for sure.

UPDATE: Hey, I even heard back from Seth Fisher, which is good news. It looks like he'll be out of ouch until August, though, so we won't be seeing that interview come together until later next month. I'm in no hurry. The story he's drawing for Legends of the Dark Knight still has three issues to go, so we got time.


Friday, July 22, 2005

Hating the Waiting

I was going to put up Part Two of my Bear McCreary interview tonight but I have a section that needed confirmation from Bear and I haven't heard back from him yet. I suppose I could have run it and changed it after the fact, I mean it's not like I have thousands of people checking these things out, but I don't really like doing that and I'm not technically stuck to a deadline so I wait instead.

I'm also waiting on some answers from the amazing Colleen Doran. I mentioned last night that I was hoping to get her to finish the old interview and this morning she sent a reply saying she would. She's a peach, that Colleen. I should go out and buy some A Distant Soil just to give a little back, you know?

Speaking of buying, I picked up a few things today and yesterday that I thought I would mention. I hit the LCS and grabbed me a copy of just about everything I had on my 'to get' list except Love & Rockets because my shop doesn't seem to carry issues for the racks, anymore. And while I'm on the topic, I have to say it just as a reminder to myself: "If you have contact information for the Hernandez brothers it's probably a good idea to use it," wouldn't you say? That just sounds like good advice and I've been sitting on this for months.

Anyway, I also grabbed the first issue of Smoke which looks fantastic but I haven't had a chance to read it yet, so the jury's still out. I'm forecasting that I'll love it, though.

Out of the bargain bin I picked up some anthology stuff today. Two issues of DHP and the Comico Christmas Special from '88, I think. The DHP issues feature stories by Brubaker, Eddie Campbell, Moebius and Jodorowsky and Pekar and Sacco, while the Comico book has a Dave Stevens cover, with Steve Rude & Al Williamson, Bill Willingham and Tim Sale inside. I couldn't say no.

I grabbed some books from the library, too. My curiosity got the better of me and I picked up a Star Trek: Voyager trade, as well as Usagi Yojimbo Book 2 and The Magic Flute by P. Craig Russell, based on the opera by Mozart. I'm looking forward to checking those out.

I guess I also bought a DVD today - Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero. I've been waiting for a while to pick this one up because it's the only Batman Animated DVD I don't own and it disappeared off of shelves in town about a year or so ago. I guess with Batman Begins hitting theatres, the old stock has sort of risen to the surface in the hopes of capitalizing on the movie's popularity.

I guess it worked.

I haven't cracked it open yet but I'm in no hurry. I've seen it a million times and I have it on VHS, so...whatever. I guess I can make some more room in the media storage now that I don't need that tape anymore.

Well, I can't say that was the most interesting post I've ever made but there you have it. I think I'm going to go watch some Stargate and maybe hit the sack.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Writing News

Man, for the last couple of days I've been busy putting a lot of different things together. For starters, I decided to get off my duff and finally send a query to My wife was scolding me for not turning an interview I had into a paying freelance piece, which I had to agree with, so I've been putting together some writing samples and a pitch letter to send. I'm hoping to have it all done by tomorrow so I can send it off and start the waiting game. They say you have to wait 2 or 3 weeks before giving up on them, so the sooner that process starts the better.

I'm also putting together a pitch for a non-fiction book that I never realised I was sitting on. Again, it was the sometimes loud and always wise wife who made me see it as it was, and now I'm kind of excited about this whole thing. I don't know if anything will ever come of it, or if I even have the stamina to go through the process of putting together a book, but for now, it's got the juices flowing.

Lastly, I've been doing a lot of work on my website, Meanwhile... as I've mentioned in previous posts, and just tonight I put the almost final touches on a new Giffen Update for The Daily Dispatch, my Keith Giffen related Newslist. I'm waiting on word from Colleen Doran about an interview that we had done but never finished. I wanted to use it in the Update and would rather use the complete version rather than the half finished one, but I'll take what I can get. If she's too busy I'll run what I have. Still, I hope she's not too busy.

Tonight I have to finish my Bear McCreary interview and I have my David Fury interview on deck for when that's all finished.

Man, if only I was getting paid for some of this.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Comic Zone Surprise

I'm standing in a grocery line today and I take a glance at the latest issue of Disney Adventures Comic Zone thinking my 8 year old daughter might find it interesting to read since she kind of likes comics. While flipping through it I was pretty surprised to find a dinosaur strip inside written by Walt Simonson and drawn by Arthur Adams. I'm flipping by and I catch a glimpse of an art style that I'm familiar with. I'm thinking, "I know this guy, who is this?"

I don't know if this is a reprint of something or if it was done originally for this book, but I'm thinking of picking up a copy for myself now. My daughter can buy her own.


Three Small Words

International. Serenity. Trailer.

Go now!


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Jim Aparo Passes Away

According to various sources, legendary comic book artist Jim Aparo has passed away. I was never a big follower of his work but I always appreciated his professionalism (how many young turks have turned in as much work on time in the last 10 or 20 years compared to pros like Aparo), and there's no denying the guy was a solid illustrator and storyteller.

I think it's unfortunate that most of my experience with Aparo's work comes from his time on Batman and during the whole 'Knightfall' storyline - not his finest work, to be sure (but now that I think about it I should see who his inkers were at the time). Still, I did run across an issue of Aquaman from the '70s a few years back that he had pencilled and I remember being pleasantly surprised at how great it all looked.

I think this may be as good a time as any to hunt down some old DC comics, don't you?

My condolences, of course, to the family for their loss.


The New Comics 8? (I've seriously lost count...)

Coming out and going into my file at the LCS...


Wow! That's a lot of Marvel books this week.


The New DVD 10

Couple of things out this week with a few honourable mentions.

Constantine: I'm still fascinated by this movie and I'm looking forward to picking up this 2-disc special edition later today. It features 18 minutes of footage and an alternate ending never seen before, as well as commentaries, music videos and featurettes. It looks like a sweet little package to me, and there's nothing I like more than deleted scenes and a commentary track. I'm looking forward to seeing the little bonus at the end of the credits that I missed in the theatre as well. I think this set and me are going to be very happy together.

Swimming with Sharks - Spoecial Edition: Back before Kevin Spacey was a household name, this little movie gave me a chuckle. I can't remember where I had heard about it originally, but I rented it one day on the grounds that it was bitingly funny and well done. It was, probably still is (I haven't watched it in a while), and in this new special edition, I'm sure it's a picker upper for the next time I'm at the DVD store. At the very least a renter to see what kinds of features are on it, since I couldn't find a listing as of this writing.

The Crow - Wicked Prayer: Last and maybe least (I haven't seen it yet, but I'll probably watch it today and say a few words about it), the new D2DVD Crow movie features Eddie Furlong, Tara Reid and David Boreanaz in what could be a desperately horrible movie, or a pleasant surprise. I moderately enjoyed the last Crow movie with Eric Mabius, so unless this one takes dips into City of Angels territory, it should be watchable. I'm looking forward to seeing Boreanaz (watch for his new show Bones in Sept.) but he's playing a bad guy looking for immortality so it could be over-the-top-lame or he might pull it off. I'll post thoughts on the movie later.

Honourable Mentions: Dead Like Me Season 2 is out. I love Bryan Fuller but never watched this show despite hearing great things about it. The Farscape - Starburst Edition: Season 2 Collection 1 also comes out today which is an affordable way of picking these discs up if you gotta have your Farscape.

Until next time.


Monday, July 18, 2005

A Little Game of LinkBlog Catch-Up

I've been bookmarking stuff to save for a rainy day and it's just taking up a bunch of space so I'm going to do a bit of linkblogging here so bear with me...

Monsters & Critics has this article talking about Warner Bros. and Darren Aranofsky recruiting comic book artists to "create original works of art interpreting [the] forthcoming sci-fi fantasy film The Fountain." The likes of Geof Darrow, Dave Gibbons, Jason Alexander, Olivier Bramanti, Seth Fisher, Phil Hale, James Jean, Mike Mignola, Jon J. Muth, Kostas Seremetis, Bill Sienkiewicz, Barron Storey and Martin Wilner haveall signed on to the program and we'll be able to see their interpretations being posted to the film’s official web site, one a week, starting in mid-august and running 'til the film's release.

It's just sad that FOX is engaging in this ridiculous lawsuit with Sony Pictures Entertainment. FOX is contending that Sony's movie Zoom is directly infringing on their X-Men franchise.


My guess is that FOX is looking for reasons to delay the production of X3 after their recent problems with directors and scheduling. And seeing as how X3, like Alien 3 and many others before it, is one of those movies that had a release date before it had...well...anything...I smell possible doom for the house of X.

Or they could take my advice and just wait for Singer to finish Superman!!!

UPDATE: One very good reason why my plan won't work.

I think I caught this link over at The Comics Reporter a while ago. As a rule, I never turn down an opportunity to pick up anything illustrated by Jon J. Muth, so I was already happily indoctrinated into Muth's world for young readers being the owner of his previous two childrens books, Stone Soup and The Three Questions. With Zen Shorts I decided to break the silence and take the opportunity to link to the story and help spread the word.

I guess if your kids aren't bringing home Scholastic order forms every month you might be just as much in the dark as the other guy.

Hmmm...Strangely enough, that's all the links I can find that were backlogged. Go figure. Maybe I've been slipping them in and not thinking about it. Or maybe I've been deleting them as other Bloggers mention them over on their sites. Who knows? Not me.

Until next time...


The New Music...ummmm....8?

Frank Black - Honeycomb (Narada): Hot off the heels of his reunion with former bandmates, The Pixies, Frank Black returns to his solo career with his latest album, 'Honeycomb'. Now, I haven't had the opportunity to hear anything off of this album yet, but according to the fine folks at AMG it's a much quieter album with little or no rock. A kinder, gentler Black, if you will.

Anyway, I enjoy the guy's stuff so, while I may not be breaking down the local A&B's doors to get this one tomorrow, I'll definitely put it on my list of things to get when I have the cashola.


Gussyin' Up 2: The Reckoning

Went back in and changed some stuff over at Meanwhile.... Tidied up some of the sections, changed how some of the site is organised as well as some section names. I wish I knew enough HTML to redesign the whole site but, alas, I'm not that good. The overall design is functional but dated. It could use an aesthetic overhaul.

Some time ago I decided to make the page an online resumé rather than an e-zine. I think I've mentioned that before here on the blog at some point, but I think with the way I've organized the site now, it's a bit more representative of that goal than it was before. There's still work to do, but I believe the 'heavy lifting' aspect of it is done for now.

I should also mention that my David Fury interview has been transcribed and I'll get to formatting it this week. The long journey nears its end and I know a lot of Whedonesque folks who will be happy to see that happen.

I'm off to bed. Be back later with more musings.

UPDATE: Rather than start a whole new post to announce it, I just posted an old 1997 interview with Walt Simonson on the site. It was one of the first Q&As I'd done with a comic pro and we cover a whole bunch of stuff including Michael Moorcock's Multiverse, Jack Kirby's Fourth World, Star Slammers and more. If you're a Simonson fan, you should check it out.


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Serenity #2 Preview

There's a 4-page preview of Serenity #2 over at DHC if you're aiming for a fix and can't wait 'til the second issue hits the stands. It looks really good and I'm itching to get my hands on this one as much as the next guy. Not sure which cover I'll pick, though Bradstreet's Book looks really sweet.


Gussyin' Up

What does it say about my Friday night that I spent most of it fiddling with my various webpages?

The spirit just sort of moved me to make some improvements to the ol' Blog and Meanwhile... proper that probably won't be apparent to the average web traveller, but should make their experience just a little bit better. For example, with the Blog, I've gone and added Haloscan comments because I found that I like how they work on everybody else's pages and figured it was time to take the leap myself. I also signed up for some traffic monitoring which I've been meaning to do for a while but never seemed to get around to.

I also went through and streamlined Meanwhile... a little bit. I cleaned up some folders that were getting cluttered and taking up space which made a little extra room for newer interviews that will be going up soon (David Fury is on the way, I promise you!). I also fiddled with the cover images for the Brett Matthews and Bear McCreary interviews. The ones I've had until now were sort of meant as temporary images and I didn't like the way they looked so I did some tinkering to fit them into the overall scheme of the index page. As I was sorting things out I also came across some wonky code which I went in and corrected. Again, not something that will probably be noticed but I'm happier for it.

Anyway, it's late and I'm starting to get a bit weary so I'm going to shut down for the night.


Friday, July 15, 2005

Fantastic Parker

I think it was either by e-mail or in the comments section of Jeff Parker's blog where I learned that he would be the writer for a few issues of Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four. His run on the book starts with #2 (which was partially written by him - his first official issue will be #3) and considering how great his Spider-Man issue was, I figured I'd give his FF a try as well.

After seeing this preview over at Mile High Comics' First Looks section, I think I'm going to be happy I did. The artwork by Carlo Pagulayan looks great and, as I said before, Parker on story is a no-brainer, so check this one out when it hits the racks on July 20th, 2005.


Catching the Chronicles

This kind of comes out of left-field, but I've recently decided that I want to complete my Young Indiana Jones VHS video collection. Not the most popular set of videos in the world, but I've always been a big fan and supporter of the show since it's inception. For many Indy fans, it was huge to have these first 12 tapes released (altered as they were into 90 minute films) to the general buying public after so many years of collecting dust. Unfortunately, it would turn out to be an equally huge disappointment when Paramount refused to release the rest of the set after a few months like they had advertised. I bought most of the tapes when they came out in 1999, but I never managed to get them all. At the time it didn't seem like too much of a problem since I had some of the episodes taped from when they originally aired on ABC. Time, a weak pocketbook and an overall lack of commercial popularity have left me with a few tapes left to be sought out.

Anyway, lately I've been trolling around looking for the remaining tapes I need to finish my set. I've done the eBay thing, and checked some other online vendors and I think I'll be able to find them all right, but I'll be paying a bit for them after the currency conversion.

The Chapters I still need are:

06) Spring Break Adventure (Princeton/Mexico - 1916)
11) Oganga, The Giver and Taker of Life (East Africa/Congo - 1916)
17) Masks of Evil (Istanbul/Transylvania - 1918)
20) Mystery of the Blues (Chicago - 1920)

Again, I have Chapters 11 and 20 taped off of ABC, and half of Chapter 06, but the completist in me wants the even dozen.


Thursday, July 14, 2005

I'd Like to Thank the Academy...

I just wanted to pop on mention that I seem to have gotten some good responses on my interviews courtesy of the fine folks at Whedonesque (who have been virtually supporting this Buffy Post Mortem thing since the beginning) and some of the regular posters at the BSG message board at Thanks to everybody for checking them out and I'm glad you enjoyed them.

I'm having kind of a rough night so I'm going to shut down for the day.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

New Interviews at Meanwhile...

Now I've gone and done it. I've updated my site with two new interviews (recent ones, too) setting a bad precedent for someone who hates transcribing and frittering around with the ol' HTML code.

Anyway, the first interview is with Serenity writer, Brett Matthews. It's short but sweet, and I did manage to ask him a few questions that I hadn't seen asked before (always a nice goal to have) so I'm pretty happy with it for what it is. It was done on pretty short notice with Brett as busy as a beaver. It was a brief and somewhat abrupt communication between the two of us, but like I said, I'm pretty happy with what I ended up with.

So, if you're listening, thanks Brett!

I also posted Part 1 of my interview with super-composer, Bear McCreary. If you're a Galactica watcher then you know what I mean. If not, McCreary is one of the finest guys working in the biz today. His cues are amazing to listen to (buy the CD, it's worth it!) and they really go a long way to making the show the dramatic, tense Sci-Fi success it is today.

I'm really happy with how my interview with Bear turned out, and I'm even going so far as to say it's in the top 5 I've ever done. Bear was a great interviewee and we had a lot of fun talking shop and other stuff.

Anyway, it's late and I have violin camp in the morning again. Check out the interviews and let me know what you think.


Monday, July 11, 2005

Keepin' the Crypt Warm (a.k.a. The New DVD 9)

That last post I made regarding the Tales From the Crypt documentary was well-timed considering what I've just this morning learned. It appears that Warner Bros will be releasing the six-episode first season of the HBO show on DVD tomorrow, July 12th, 2005.

Just the fact that their giving this series a release (in sequential episode order) is great news and I'm actually a bit surprised at how excited I am to get my hands on this set. Affordably priced and chock full of features (although no commentaries to speak of) these are going to be a welcome addition to my growing (but never complete) DVD collection.

It's also cool that included with the DVDs is the aforementioned Tales From the Crypt: From Comic Book to Television documentary. I'm not sure if it's the whole doc or just an edited for television version, but it'll be nice to get a chance to see it. If it's as good as it sounds, I may just buy the DVD of the doc to get all those juicy hours of bonus interviews and extras.

Now that I think about it, this is as close to a The New DVD column as I'm going to get this week so I'll also mention another favourite that's coming tomorrow and that's the Bill & Ted's Excellent Collection (a three disc set with the movies and some extra added featurettes and videos and stuff). I wish I hadn't bothered buying these when they came out as value priced MGM DVDs, but I guess it's all part of the process.


Small Victories

Well, I finally came to an understanding with my computer. After about a week and a half of fighting with it, we have decided to just get along for a little while and see how that works out for us.

Somehow, I've managed to get my DVD burner to burn DVD+R/RW discs successfully, without bitsetting or doing anything knowingly to make it other than how it was, and all the problems that occured as a result of that initial burst of 'can do' have been corrected or eliminated.

In other words, my computer is functioning well. No, better than well.

Unfortunately, I am kind of sick to death of being on it, now. The TV and even outside is starting to look pretty good. Maybe some yard work will work out the bugs. Actually, I think I'll be back in form soon since I'll be taking my daughter to violin camp all week. I'm sure I'll need to do some pop culture venting at some point, and we're mere days away from the new seasons for Battlestar Galactica, and the two Stargates (links, if you're looking for them, are on the sidebar under TV Shows).

Anyway, I'm off to proof read the wife's thesis...again.


Saturday, July 09, 2005

Missing in Action

I don't know if anybody noticed but I've been missing in action on the blog here for a few days. The reason for that is because I was kind of house-sitting for my folks while they're away on the west coast and, while they do have an internet hook up, I sort of had my hands full with other stuff while I was there. On the plus side, I've been tearing through my 'to do' list like nobody's business. I'll post comments on that next time I have a chance to properly sit down and do some blogging.

I'm also going to be away this weekend for my father-in-law's retirement party which happens to be at their cabin. I guess we got roped into staying over until Sunday, so I will probably be posting something Sunday night.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Tales of the Crypt

Documentarian Chip Selby has a web diary over at IGN chronicling the trials and tribulations he underwent in the making of his Tales From the Crypt documentary, Tales from the Crypt: From Comic Books to Television. It's one of those interesting behind-the-scenes looks at a 5 car pile up on a lonely stretch of road that you see so often in the entertainment industry. Reading some of the stuff Chip discusses just makes you cringe, like when his executive producer wanted to upconvert his standard 4x3 documentary to a high definition picture.

Anyway, it's interesting stuff, as I've already said, and if you're a fan of filmmaking, old EC comics or horrible traffic accidents you'll want to check this one out. It's definitely worth the look.


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The New Audio/Video/Lit

As I stated earlier, my somewhat regular column-like look at what's new and worth checking out has sort of gone on hiatus for a spell. I did, however, decide to splurge a bit and give a combo review since it's such a slow week for everything.

As far as CDs are concerned, I don't see anything worth getting excited about this week so we can skip over that one totally.

DVDs are a close second in the nothing department, although the Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles - Complete Campaigns set looks like it might be fun. Fairly reasonably priced at $45.00 (CAN) compared to previous Roughnecks campaign DVDs.

The Comic Book category looks better than the other two combined with BATMAN LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #193 (Seth rocks, baby!), AMAZING FANTASY #10 (check out Jeff Parker's half of the book) and ARMY OF DARKNESS SHOP TIL YOU DROP DEAD #4 (at last, it's coming to an end!) all coming in this week. I also spotted a HIP FLASK LADRONN SKETCHBOOK which would be sweet to have, not because I love HIP FLASK, but because Ladronn is such a phenomenally stellar talent. Anyway, we'll see how that pans out for me.

An extra mention this week for a category I never mention in The New... columns...books. Nick Hornby (one of my favourite authors), has a new book out called A Long Way Down which sounds like it could be another gem. If you click through the link you can read a decent sized excerpt from the book.

So, that's all I have for you this week.

Until next time...


Your Disc is on My List

A tip of the hat to Hall and Oates for the title today...

Anyway, I've been burning through my list of things to read and watch as I've mentioned in previous posts, and doing a not-bad job of it, if I do say so myself. In the last 24 hours I've polished off a couple of movies and a handful of comic books which I will get into in more detail below...

HALLOWEEN is one of those movies that, if you're a movie buff and you haven't seen it you should. Not because it's really great, or overly captivating, but because it's one of those turning point movies that changes how people look at a particular genre or how movies get distributed or whatever the case may be.

Now, I love John Carpenter to bits and I only just got around to seeing this movie, which is a little sad, but considering it didn't leave much of an impression on me one way or the other, I guess it's not a real tragedy either. I know why the movie is a classic, and why poeple love it, and why it did so well and all the logistical and artistic reasons why it goes on more than 25 years after it's initial release, but the simple fact is, it didn't really keep my attention. Granted, it's been my experience that when I go into a classic movie that I'm not that familiar with I often react this way (NORTH BY NORTHWEST is a good example of that) and a second viewing may change my opinion, but as it stands I give HALLOWEEN a 'meh' rating.

I read all 10 issues of B.P.R.D. Plague of Frogs & The Dead yesterday to cap off my Hellboy long weekend and, to be perfectly honest, I think I prefer them to the Hellboy series proper. Guy Davis is doing such a fabulous job of depicting the world that Mignola created and making it his own and the writing by Mignola and Arcudi has been sharp, suspenseful and keeps me coming back for more. Now that I think about it, I was genuinely creeped out by Plague of Frogs and I remember thinking to myself, even if Mignola wanted to draw this story, it wouldn't work as well as having Davis on it. He just brought a ooky factor to the whole thing that was all his own, you know? I'm really looking forward to the next 5 issues.

AUTO FOCUS is Paul Schrader's highly regarded biopic of Bob "Hogan's Heroes" Crane, nicely portrayed by Greg Kinnear. It's an interesting portrait of someone who has it all and lets it all slip away as a result of his addiction to women, sex and photography/video. Willem Dafoe does a pretty good job playing Crane's buddy John Carpenter (no relation to the HALLOWEEN guy) who accomodates Crane by supplying him with the equipment and the opportunity to indulge in his fantasies. Crane's excesses take their toll on him as he ends up divorcing twice and he watches his career go down the toilet because of his reputation around Hollywood. And, if you know anything about the story of Crane's life, you must know how it ends - with his brutal slaying in his hotel room by an unknown assailant. Interesting to watch, well acted, a nicely put together film overall. I'd probably watch it again if given the opportunity.

SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED #7 was purchased for the Karl Moline illustrated story in the back of the issue. If you know me at all you know that I worship at the altar of Karl and hungrily seek out any and all work done by the guy, so this was a no-brainer. I'm happy to say that the story, written by Matthew K. Manning, was clever, enjoyable and combined with Moline's linework, well worth the money spent on it. The lead story by Bill Rosemann and drawn by Mike Perkins was pretty average fare. Nothing to write home about.

PANIC ROOM was much better than I remembered it. I think this time I looked at it as a popcorn movie and wasn't thinking of it as the follow-up to FIGHT CLUB. I'm pretty sure the reason I hated this movie so much when I first saw it was because I expected something deeper as far as themes or character were concerned, but not even Fincher looked at the thing as more than a cardboard cut-out thriller. He was just happy to be shooting everything on one stage after the craziness that was FIGHT CLUB. I picked up my copy in a bargain bin for $6.88 so I figured I'd not only try the movie again just in case it was better than I remembered it (I could never justify buying the 3-disc uber-edition of the movie with all the bells and whistles) but it was also the first superbit movie in my collection and I wanted to try out the superior video and audio the superbit DVDs are supposed to offer. I've convinced myself to get the 3-disc set at the first available opportunity (being the features whore that I am) and to not bother with superbit discs from here on out. Either I don't have the system for it or they're really not all that.

JLA CLASSIFIED #8 was another great offering from Giffen, DeMatteis and crew. The finale (which I have yet to pick up) has gotten some lukewarm reviews, but as far as I'm concerned, this is some of the best stuff being written and drawn right now. The love these guys have for the subject matter is in every panel of every page. I'm actually enjoying this follow-up even more than Formerly Known as... and that was a masterpiece of nostalgic humour and character bits. I'll definitely be saddened when this is over (remember, I have one issue to go) but also happy that I got to spend some time with these creators and these characters one more time. The DCU is-a-changin' and I Can't Believe it's Not the Justice League was a very fond farewell.

That's it for right now, I guess. I also tried to read THE FILTH but I just wasn't in the mood for it. I got bored after the first issue and had to put it down again. Hmmm, speaking of Morrison minis, I should finish SEAGUY, too.

Until next time...


Monday, July 04, 2005

Reading Rainbow

When I'm not battling with electronic compatibility issues I've been doing my best to take significant chunks out of my ever-growing reading list. Lately, I've put the big, wordy books with no pictures down in favour of some good old-fashioned comic book fun and these are some of the one's I've recently polished off accompanied by a couple of thoughts...

COMMON FOE #1 took a long-time to get back to after an abborted attempt at reading it when it came out a few weeks ago. It's a little fuzzy on the storytelling with Dzialowski doing beautiful but not exactly clear work, and the words by Giffen and Denton do little to help the problem. Still, like most Giffen books, it takes a reading or two to really let it soak in and settle so I'm not passing judgement until I see more. I like the concept so I'm around for the long-haul.

ARMY OF DARKNESS: SHOP TILL YOU DROP (DEAD) #3 was a disappointment. The first AOD mini was a nostalgic and fun trip down memory lane for EVIL DEAD fans, but this series seems to be spinning its wheels and riding on the coattails of the original. The story should be more interesting with Ash going into the future instead of the past, for a change, but it's formulaic (in a bad way) and uninspired. I'm not sure if I'll be getting the ongoing series when it premieres...well, whenever it premieres. It's not like these guys are keeping to any kind of publishing schedule.

THE AMAZON has turned out to be a real diamond in the rough. Up until a few months ago, I didn't even know this book existed. When I did stumble across it in a cheap-o bin at one of my local comic shops, I saw the Seagle and Sale credits and figured, what the heck. They were 75 cents a piece so it wasn't like I was out a bunch of cash if they sucked bananas, right? There's a little bit of an Emerald Forest vibe here except the missing person in THE AMAZON is a worker with an American lumber company rather than somoene's son. He disappears into the jungle one day prompting an investigation by a curious reporter. Not a lot happens in this story but Seagle manages to keep the readers interest for three issues. It might be a credit to Sale's artwork which is so very sweet and shows a really nice sense of layout and really sharp images to go with Seagles economical but smart text. If you like either of these guys, hunt this down. It was dated but well worth the time.

HELLBOY: THE ISLAND #1 was both a great read and a great letdown. These 2 issue mini-series' are starting to get on my nerves, not just because of their length, but because it takes Mignola 2 years to pump out 40 pages of art and story. The much commented on line about drinking with skeletons was fabulous, and the story was interesting enough to keep my curiosity piqued, I'm just frustrated with Mignola's output. The movie's been done for a while now and unless he's doing a lot of work on The Amazing Screw-On Head for Bryan Fuller, he's really got no excuse that I can think of (well, I'm maybe being a little harsh there). And, it seems, Lee Bermejo will be doing the regular HELLBOY art chores for the forseeable future.


Seems like I'll be looking to B.P.R.D. for my regular Hellboy fix. Thank God for Guy Davis.


Sunday, July 03, 2005

Burning in DVD Hell

I am surely burning in what is most likely DVD hell. I've recently taken it upon myself to solve my compatibility issues between my DVD burner, my home theatre system and my writable media. For some reason, my burner doesn't like the newer DVD+R/W media. It has no problems doing anything I want it to with the DVD-R/W or CD-R/W or whatever, but the +R/W is giving me nothing but headaches. Add to that the fact that if I want to do any dual layer burning, I have to get the +R/W stuff working because the even newer DVD-R/W DL might bring on even more compatibility issues, and they're harder to find.

So, I've done some tweaking, I'm learning about bitsetting and book types and encoding and burning and ripping and you name it, I've read it. Firmware updates and other bits of software are flooding my system and none of them seem to be doing what I want them to. My media players are acting up, probably because of all the crap that I've added to the system that are probably hogging codecs or changing file associations. Plus, I downloaded something that I think had some kind of virus in it because my computer pretty much crashed on me last night at about 2 in the morning giving me fatal errors and the like.


I had some limited success practicing with a Dave Matthews DVD. I managed to get it to sort of play in both my DVD burner and my DVD player but beyond the menus it didn't really do much of what it was supposed to do. Especially off of a direct rip.

I dunno, anymore. I'm obviously too stupid to stop trying so I'll be taking a crack at it again tonight and probably tomorrow. I'll see if I can give Ahab a run for his money.


Saturday, July 02, 2005

Who Framed Gary Wolf?

This is an interesting bit of business that's been going on for a while. Gary Wolf, creator of Roger Rabbit, has sued Disney for royalties he believes he was owed from merchandise sales after the film was released. Disney said otherwise. Anyway, the ruling was both in favour of Wolf and not-so-much in favour of Wolf. He got something, but not exactly what he had hoped for.

The verdict could have changed how profit sharing was handled in Hollywood, but no such luck.

I don't know if Wolf is hurting for money or if he did this solely for the principle of it, but you'd think that when you get in bed with Disney on a project, you have to sort of expect something like this to happen. Wolf's not the first guy to get burned by Disney and he won't be the last.


LCS the Sequel - What I Picked Up

Well, I went to my LCS just like I said I would and I bought pretty much everything I had on my list from a couple of days ago. I haven't had a chance to read either the AUTHORITY LOBO SPRING BREAK MASSACRE or JLA CLASSIFIED #8 (I left #9 there for next time) but they're both by Giffen so it's pretty much a given that I'll enjoy them on some level.

PLANETARY #23 was beautiful to look at and nice to see the origin of Drummer but it's getting to the point where these issues are coming out so far apart from each other, and are such small snippets of the bigger story, that I don't know what's happening anymore. I read the first 16 issues in one sitting, and have read the next 7 of them over the course of many, many months. Guess it's time to go back and reread some of those older issues.

SOLO #5 with Darwyn Cooke looks like a true gem. I haven't picked up any SOLO issues up 'til this point, but I pretty much always knew that #5 would be the one, no matter what happened. This was an issue I was not going to miss. I am thinking of going back and picking up the Paul Pope SOLO, but we'll see. Now that I think about it, I still have a very long and very good interview with Darwyn from just before CATWOMAN #1 came out that never saw publication. I should get on that, don't you think?

ANGEL THE CURSE #1 was a recap issue. The art was decent and the dialogue (or rather monologue) by Jeff Mariotte was pretty spot on Angel. I managed to get the Kordey cover like I had hoped, which is also good news. I'm looking forward to seeing where this mini goes. Cheers to IDW for doing what DHC could not.

SHAUN OF THE DEAD #1 I looked at and decided to skip. I saw the movie, I own the movie...don't need the comic book. Maybe if they do the proposed comic book sequel of SHAUN...then, yeah.

ZOMBIE TALES #1 I tossed in my file. I was not anticipating a squarebound book and didn't really budget for it. Still, looks pretty decent and, hey, Giffen again. I can't go wrong with Keith.

The X-FILES VOL 1 TP was a huge disappointment. Checker did a really lousy job with this trade. Not only did they shoot it from the comics itself and not the original film (which I understand is not always possible) but they managed to break up two-page spreads. Not a very professionally put together product, I'm sorry to say.

I also picked up HELLBOY: THE ISLAND #1 which I am in the middle of, B.P.R.D. THE DEAD #'s 4 and 5 to finish off that series and the HELLBOY Director's Cut DVD just like I planned, so I've got quite a Hellboy fix awaiting me. I've already poured through many of the DVD's features and the comics will be next, I assure you.

TEEN TITANS GO! #20 and JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED #10 were both fun reads with JLU topping the list for Johnny DC titles. Creeper helps the JL and Batman track down the Madmen who have a nuke at their disposal.

I haven't read ARMY OF DARKNESS SHOP TILL YOU DROP #3 which took about a year to come out and looks like it may not have been worth the wait, but DESOLATION JONES #1 was a pleasant surprise. The first story didn't grab me by the short and curlies, but I feel like I'm on the ground floor of something TRANSPETROPLITAN-esque.

X-MEN #170 was a bit of a letdown. Milligan is capable of better than this. Larocca's artwork is stellar, to say the least, and will probably keep me buying this title as long as I have the extra $3.25 to spend on it, but Milligan's first attempt fell very short of achieving much of anything. Not badly written, per se, but there was so little plot and the bickering between the characters seemed forced. I dunno, if you read 'em you know what I'm talking about.

Still missing THE STARDUST KID #1 and FLAMING CARROT #3 but they'll sit tight until I get out to the shop again.

I also grabbed a couple of cheap-o back issues that I couldn't refuse. Robert Loren Fleming's THRILLER #1 from 1983 and Seagle and Sale's THE AMAZON #1 from '88, I think. THRILLER didn't really thrill me, which I hoped it would since it's one of Keith Giffen's favourite comic books of all time, but THE AMAZON was a pleasant surprise. Nicely done little mini-series from Comico a few years back with nice writing and art by a pre-Vertigo Steve Seagle and a pre-Jeph Loeb Tim Sale.

Hmmm, I think that's it for my LCS run this week. I hope I didn't miss anything. Oh, and a belated Happy Canada Day to all you fellow Canucks out there!