Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Marshall Rogers R.I.P.

According to Newsarama comic artist Marshall Rogers has passed away.

I first came to know Rogers' work through his brief stint on the new Silver Surfer monthly with Steve Englehart in the '90s which was followed shortly afterwards by a few issues of Justice League Europe (the JLE in the UK featuring the first appearance of The Beefeater). I really enjoyed his stuff, mostly because it didn't look like anything else being done by anyone at that time. Having caught my fancy I worked my way back and explored his Mister Miracle issues as well as some Batman and more recently read his Dark Detective mini, which re-teamed him with old collaborator, Steve Englehart. I liked what he brought to a book. It always had a nice texture and good pacing to it.

My condolences to his family for their loss.

mike

IF YOUR LIFE WAS A MOVIE...

I caught this meme over at Will Pfeiffer's blog and, while I don't usually participate in such endeavours, this one looked like fun.

IF YOUR LIFE WAS A MOVIE, WHAT WOULD THE SOUNDTRACK BE?
So, here's how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend your cool...
7. When you're finished tag some other people to do it!

Here are the areas that you need to fill out:

Opening credits: "Unicornio" by Silvio Rodriguez - I first fell in love with this song in Wong Kar Wai's BMW film, The Follow. I have no idea what the song is about as it is sung in Spanish or Portugese, I believe, but it's a real good mood setter and I can think of worse songs to kick off the movie of my life.

Waking up: "Forget About You" by Carey Brothers - Not too much of a mood upsetter, here. Brothers' track carries on the same basic vibe set by Rodriguez as it is equally sedate, equally maudlin and intimate.

First day of school: "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" by The Jayhawks - I've honestly never heard this song before. It is part of an unofficial Gilmore Girls 'soundtrack' that I acquired. Still, listening to it while I'm typing this up it has a sort of Rockabilly, Bob Dylan/Tom Petty-esque sort of feel to it which I don't mind. It also picks up the beat a little bit after a slow start and keeps that whole sentimental thing going.

Falling in love: "Makes Me Wanna Pray" by Christina Aguilera - Of course, the Falling in Love category has to be one of the cheesier songs in my library. In it's defense it is a kind of soulful and funky song and thematically does fit into the slot well. And, really, isn't first love full of melodrama and leaning a little heavily to the left on the cheese-o-meter to begin with? It's just sort of hard to take Christina seriously 90% of the time so I hang my head briefly in shame.

First song: "Your Rain (Rage Mix)" by Akira Yamaoka & Mary Elizabeth McGlynn - A Silent Hill track. Kind of dancy, not bad but I much prefer the original un-remixed version of the song.

Breaking up: "Window" by Fiona Apple - I couldn't think of anyone more appropriate for a break-up song than Miss Fiona.

Prom: "Relaxing With Lee" by Charlie Parker - Not really a song, more of an interstitial 10 second little talky bit, but seeing as I never had a prom, nor did I ever go to one, it seems somewhat fitting.

Life: "Saw Bitch Workhorse" by Don Davis - This track from The Matrix Revolutions is pretty much par for the course if you're familiar with any orchestral music from the series. Lots of horns going baa-baa-ba-ba-ba-ba-baa and swirling strings filling out the background. I believe the song is used in the section where Neo and Trinity are going to the machine city and have to fight off hundreds of Sentinels. Not a bad track but a little odd if I was to apply it to my life.

The title is an anagram for The Wachowski Brothers, by the way.

Mental Breakdown: "Water & Air" by Cat Power - Again, I couldn't hope for a more mental breakdowny sort of song than this one by Memphis artist, Cat Power. I guess there is some weird sort of synchronicity here, as well, since a different CP track was used in another Wachowski movie, V For Vendetta. Or maybe I'm just reading into things.

Driving: "The Azores and Mr. Costa" by Clint Bajakian, Peter McConnell & Michael Land - A quaint little track from the Indiana Jones video game, The Fate of Atlantis. Kind of plunky, kind of fun.

Flashback: "Hater" by Everclear - Not the Everclear track of choice but it's nice to see the power pop trio represented in the film of my life. Considering the dramedy undertones I'm picking up from the music selections this is possibly a very fitting flashback track.

Getting back together: "Fourth of July Parade" by Andy Sturmer - From the Teen Titans animated series. Mostly without words and very, very poppy. I can live with this selection. In fact, as the song continues to play I can think of no song better.

Wedding: "Get Here" by Oleta Adams - Oleta is a powerful vocalist best known for helping out Orzabel and that other guy from Tears For Fears on their Seeds of Love album. A little off centre musically but thematically appropriate: "I don't care how you get here, just get here if you can".

Birth of Child: "I'm Mad Again" by The Animals - After having three kids I can wholly support this musical choice!

Final Battle: "We're Here To Stay" by John Ottman - A selection off the X2 score. A bit more appropriate for an after-battle piece so it's possible my final battle was done without any underscoring, relying only on sfx.

Death Scene: "No One Love You" by Akira Yamaoka - A little surprised Yamaoka gets the honours of having two songs on my soundtrack but this piece from the Silent Hill series of games is, again, likely very appropos.

Funeral song: "U-Boat" by Kasabian - A good funeral song if I lived in an episode of Tru Calling or a Mark Steven Johnson super-hero flick. Or possibly a show on The CW network.

But I jest. It's a little dramatic but definitely could make a good funeral song.

End Credits: "Chrysallis (4)" by Christopher Franke - Ex Tangerine Dreamer Christopher Franke graces the big finale of my life with this song from the Babylon 5 television series. I think this is from the episode where Delenn becomes less Minbari and more Human. Judging by the tone of the song my movie didn't end very well but I think I can count on some lobby conversation regarding the meaning of it all.

mike

There Can Be Only One

Yet they keep making these.

I've kind of gotten into a little bit of a Highlander groove as a result of the new comic book from Dynamite (which I'm enjoying as of the end of #0 and #1) but I'm very skeptical about this movie, as I think anyone should be of a sequel regardless of medium. I like the idea of an animated feature but I was never a huge Ninja Scroll person so much of the lustre is gone. The trailer does look interesting but the whole future vibe has shades of Highlander II which doesn't bode well for the film, at least as far as my consumer dollars are concerned.

Like all things, only time will tell, I guess.

Now I just have to find me a copy of #2 from the Dynamite series with the Dorman cover and I'll be happy.

mike

Monday, March 26, 2007

Steve Canyon Classic Strips

I don't think I've mentioned it here before but I've been reading Steve Canyon reprints over at Humorous Maximus and figured I'd link to it for anyone who may be interested but unaware of this daily dose of Caniff. The strip started running on the site as of January 15th of this year and that is the day I've linked to so if you click thorugh you'll be getting in on the ground floor.

I've never read any Terry and the Pirates (supposedly the superior strip) but so far Steve Canyon is a relatively entertaining read. There's something off about the pacing for the first few weeks, in my opinion, but I'm pretty sure that's a case of daily strip meets 'let's introduce all the characters before our adventure' syndrome or pilot-itus.

The sunday ones are my favourite, so far, both because of their length and their larger sizes. I'm finding it a bit of a strain to read the dailies but I shall persevere.

Anyway, much thanks to Humorous Maximus for putting these up and click through if you're a fan of high adventure.

Onwards and upwards!

mike

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Joe Shuster Awards Nominations

I hadn't posted the nominations for the Joe Shuster Awards assuming that everyone who was interested would find their way there, but I made the decision today to come on and post the list on the blog, anyway. It was an intense few weeks of reading many, many comics, some back-and-forth between the nominating committee and a lot of fun overall. I'm actually looking forward to seeing who ultimately gets picked by the fans in each category. After spending so much time deciding and voting amongst ourselves, it'll be interesting to see who ends up everyone else's favourite in the end.

The only disappointment with the process so far is that they have me listed as being from Manitoba instead of Saskatchewan on the website. A small oversight I know, but I'm pretty sure I did nothing to let on that I lived much farther west than I do.

Then again, I don't usually own up to living in Saskatchewan either.

Anyway, here are the noms...


Outstanding Canadian Comic Book Writer

* Ian Boothby for DCU Infinite Holiday Special (DC Comics), Futurama Comics 23-26, 28, Simpsons Comics 118, 119, 121, 123, Simpsons Super Spectacular 3 (Bongo Comics)
* Darwyn Cooke for Superman Confidential 1-2 (DC Comics)
* John Rogers for Blue Beetle 1-10 (DC Comics), Contributing writer for Cthulhu Tales 1, Ninja Tales 1, Pirate Tales 1 & Zombie Tales: The Dead 1 (Boom! Studios)
* Ty Templeton for Civil War: Choosing Sides (Marvel Comics), Revolution on the Planet of the Apes 2-6 (Mister Comics)
* J. Torres for Cartoon Network Block Party 22, Hi Hi Puffy Amiyumi 3, Teen Titans Go! 27-38, The Batman Strikes 23 (DC Comics/Johnny DC), Ninja Scroll 1-3 (DC Comics/Wildstorm), Degrassi: The Next Generation - Extra Credit Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 (Pocket Books), Love As A Foreign Language 5 (Oni Press)

Outstanding Canadian Comic Book Artist

* Adrian Alphona for Runaways 12-18, 22 (Marvel Comics)
* Darwyn Cooke & J. Bone for Batman/The Spirit (DC Comics)
* Pia Guerra for Y the Last Man 43-46, 49-52 (DC/Vertigo)
* Niko Henrichon for Pride of Baghdad (DC/Vertigo)
* Stuart Immonen for Nextwave: Agents of HATE 1-11, Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual 2 (Marvel Comics)
* Cary Nord for Conan 24-25, 29-31, 33-34 (Dark Horse)
* Steve Skroce for Doc Frankenstein 3-5 (Burleyman)
* Doug Wheatley for Star Wars: Dark Times 1 (Dark Horse)

Outstanding Canadian Comic Book Cartoonist (Writer/Artist)

* Scott Chantler for Northwest Passage 3 (Oni Press)
* Darwyn Cooke for The Spirit 1 (DC Comics)
* Michel Gagne for "Underworld" -- Flight Vol. 3 (Ballantine Books)
* Johane Matte for "Hunter" -- Flight Vol. 3 (Ballantine Books)
* Bryan Lee O'Malley for Scott Pilgrim Vol. 3 (Oni Press)
* Ty Templeton for Simpsons Comics 117 (Bongo)
* Jean-Louis Tripp & Regis Loisel for Magasin General Vol. 1: Marie & Vol. 2: Serge (Casterman)
* Rob Walton for Ragmop (Planet Lucy)

Outstanding Canadian Comic Book Publisher

* Drawn & Quarterly
* Mecanique Generale/les 400 Coups
* Mister Comics
* Planet Lucy
* Udon

Outstanding Canadian Web Comic Creator/Creative Team

* Paul Bordeleau for Troglodytes
* Rob Coughler & Ramon Perez for Butternut Squash
* Matt Forsythe for Ojingogo
* Faith Erin Hicks for Ice
* Stuart & Katherine Immonen for Never As Bad As You Think
* Dan Kim for April May & June, Kanami, and Penny Tribute
* Steven Charles Manale for Superslackers
* Kean Soo for Jellaby Shorts

Favourite Canadian Comic Book Creator -- English Language
This will be a write-in category on the ballot.

Favourite Canadian Comic Book Creator -- French Language
This will be a write-in category on the ballot.

Outstanding International Comic Book Creator

This will be a write-in category on the ballot.

Harry Kremer Award for Outstanding Canadian Comic Book Retailer
Non-voting category

Hall of Fame
Juried

Now go vote!

Onwards and Upwards!

mike

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Digging the Mach 5

I mentioned my whole Speed Racer indoctrination a few posts ago so it should come as no surprise to anyone that I snagged a copy of Volume 4 the other day. One of the neat things about Volume 4 is the tiny little die-cast Mach 5 that they package with the set - a far cooler bonus than Volume 1's rubber-tire-textured packaging. Also cool in a lame sort of way because it's one of those cars where you pull it back and then it drives off on its own, which is great for getting the cat all worked up.

I'm actually kind of regretting not buying a much larger version of the Mach 5 when I had the chance, now. Wal-Mart was clearing out these scale versions of pop culture cars like the Monkee's car and the Mach 5. It only cost, like, $5 or something but at the time I couldn't give a rats ass for anything Speed Racer related, so I just ignored it. Probably bought myself a Big Gulp and a bag of chips with the money instead.

My son, Simon, loves cars and racing and all that jazz so he has a bit of a Speed Racer jones, now. The downside for him is that dad's not going to let him play with the car. Watch the DVD, sure, but no touchy the Mach 5.

Looking at the two pictures again I'm noticing that they both sport a '70s glamour glow like I had a filter on my phone or something. I'm convinced that there must have been some schmutz on the the little pinhole lens or something, but I'm kind of digging the overall effect.

You can catch a glimpse of my collection of animated DVDs in the background, too. Lining the car up with other Japanese shows was not intentional, by the way.

Onwards and upwards!

mike

How to Get Me to Buy a Comic I Don't Want

Courtesy of ToonZone and CBR:

Alan Burnett to Write "Superman/Batman" in June.

Always have been a big fan of the Batman Animated stuff and the work these guys do in the regular DCU tends to be pretty decent as well, so I'll probably check this out (although, now that I think about it, I never cared for Dini's Detective).

mike

Monday, March 19, 2007

Star Wars Lost Scenes

It's always surprised me that George has never made these scenes available as a deleted scene on any of the Star Wars collections or DVDs. The only place I had ever seen them prior to this was on the Behind the Magic CDROM which was a sort of encyclopaedia for the original trilogy, something they followed up with an Episode I set of discs and then gave up on the format altogether.

Pity, really. I kind of enjoyed them and hate surfing the Databank on the official site when I'm looking for obscure Star Wars info.

I ran across this clip of the scenes all edited up in chronological order the other day and thought I would post it, moreso out of novelty than any other driving concern. If you haven't seen these than they are kind of neat to watch, otherwise, you've got the whole story anyways and don't need me rattling on about it.



Onwards and upwards!

mike

Dylan Hears a Who

I don't know how many of you have already seen this but I got a kick out of it. My parents have been big on the Dylan love for a couple of years now and it has sort of brought me somewhat into the fold of late. You research, find and buy enough Dylan stuff for birthdays and christmas presents and you naturally develop a curiosity about it, I guess.

Anyway, it's worth linking to and checking out purely on the effort expended to put the site together. Kudos to the eyeberriedpall folks.

Onwards and upwards!

mike

Friday, March 16, 2007

New Music Worth Checking Out

Maybe new music is a bit of a misnomer since one of these is not what you would call a recent release, but I had never heard it before this week so they are new to me. There you go.

Anyway, I've added some new stuff to the sidebar that I think everyone should check out (at least in the music section) and I thought I would spotlight a couple of the CDs I've been listening to and getting all warm and fuzzy over.

The first CD that has really wowed me in a long time is Josh Rouse's second to last album, 'Nashville'. I loved his '06 offering 'Subtitulo' so when I saw this disc sitting there at the library I snatched it up, eager to pop it into the player in the car on the way home. Both Jen and I were absolutely smitten with the first track, "It's The Nighttime", and the trend continued on as we got deeper into the disc. As driving music goes, at least in my family, 'Nashville' is the best I've heard in some time.

It has quickly become the "Oh, you've gotta hear this whether you like it or not" disc that I'm pushing the most on my family and friends. It's invading CD players all over the Jozic sphere of influence.

I'm also enjoying the brand spanking new CD from Aqualung, 'Memory Man'. It's been a couple of years, I think, since I started raving about Matt Hales and company so I'm really jazzed about having 11 new tracks to pore over and enjoy. I haven't heard the whole album yet but so far I'm enjoying the tracks "Vapour Trail", "Cinderella" and "Pressure Suit", which is also the first single.

What initially attracted me to Aqualung back in the day were the sweeping, ethereal melodies that Hales would combine with the shamelessly romantic and honest lyrics. It reminded me a little bit of my favourite band in the universe, Stars, if you crossed them with Coldplay and Longview. This album is sit back on the couch or chair or wherever you're the most comfortable and just let the music wash over you kind of stuff.

On this album there's also a bit of a switch-up for Hales with the addition of some higher energy material that shakes up the balance a little. A track like "Something to Believe In" with it's pounding rhythm line and frantic pace is by no means a stretch for the artist, but based on his previous output it is a bit of a departure - albeit a welcome one.

So, that's it for me for the day. Be sure to check these out if you know what's good for you.

Onwards and upwards!

mike

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Buffy Season 8 Has Landed

The wait is finally over.

I popped into my LCS today to pick up the latest issue of BSG and found, to my surprise, a copy of the first issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight in my file. I knew this was coming out this month but had no idea it would be today. A pleasant surprise, to be sure.

Anyway, both the wife and I read it and we both thought it was pretty good. I really shouldn't like the Nick Fury gag Joss worked into the story but something about Xander with an eyepatch directing an army of Slayers...it just screams for it to be said. I know I was thinking it before any of the characters addressed it.

After reading it it got me thinking about my Buffy Post Mortem and how great it would be to do a new round of interviews with the crew of the new book. I've been looking for something juicy to launch a new interview blog with and that might just do the trick. I'm still waiting on a bunch of answers from Steve Purcell from way back anyway, so I might as well do something constructive in the meantime.

Worth looking into.

Onwards and upwards!

mike

Two Interviews Worth Checking Out

I've recently run across these two interviews that I enjoyed quite a bit.

The first is with Alan Martin who is the co-creator of Tank Girl and is conducted by the always entertaining Mark Cardwell who runs the Bad Librarianship blog when he's not talking about Keith Giffen as a member of The Daily Dispatch (the Keith Giffen Newsgroup that I run).

Sorry, I couldn't help but throw in the plug.

Mark and Alan chat about the future of TG, the move to IDW and the addition of Ashley Wood to the names of artists who have had the pleasure of drawing Tank's wild and crazy adventures. To check out that interview, go here.

The second one is with 52 writer Greg Rucka. As someone who has just started getting interested in the series I found it to be an informative and relatively candid interview courtesy of Robert Taylor over at CBR. To check out that one, click through here.

That's it for me for now.

Onwards and upwards.

mike

Thursday, March 08, 2007

State of the Union

I've been pretty quiet lately on the blog front. Part of that is because of all the work I have been doing on my parents' computer (makes me want to spend less time on mine) and part of that is a result of the reshuffling that my life has undergone in the last couple of weeks.

At the beginning of last week my tenure as a Retail Consultant with Saturn of Saskatoon came to an end. I'm not too broken up about it seeing as I'm beginning to believe that sales is maybe not my number one skill, but it does sort of leave me in a somewhat precarious position since I no longer have a regular paycheque coming in. I do have some time to find a new job because Jen's income right now is actually decent enough that we're doing okay, but the sooner I get back in the saddle the better for everyone.

It has been nice staying home. I've spent a lot of time with the kids, which is good, and I've been able to take a bit of a break from the whole work cycle which has been good for the mind and soul. I've tackled a few projects and set up a few more. Watched some long-ignored DVDs and read some equally passed-over books and comics. I've gotten a little more done in the way of household necessities than I normally would during the course of the week, although Jen says there's great room to improve in that area.

I'm thinking the dreaded laundry could use a good solid doing before the week is out.

Anyway, that's sort of where we're at for the moment. As usual I have some ideas of things I'd like to do online here on the blog and elsewhere and I'll post more info on it as I come to it. Until then...

Onwards and upwards!

mike