Thursday, April 30, 2009

Much More Music

A friend had me comparing Bill Withers' "Use Me" with a Fiona Apple version and it got me surfing YouTube which led to some Beatles music and a few covers. I was most impressed with this version of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band [Reprise]" by the Stereophonics and I thought I would post it here in lieu of any real content.

That's one of the best Beatles covers I've heard since this one...



Monday, April 27, 2009

The Night Starts Here

I'm not sure if this video really fits the song, but I applaud and support Stars in all their endeavours, so...

Regardless of how weak the video may be, the song still rocks.



Thursday, April 23, 2009

Re-reading Old Copies of The New Mutants

Digging through some longboxes I ran across the handful of issues in my collection of The New Mutants. I sold of the bulk of the series that I owned to a local comic shop back when the Liefeld issues were still considered blisteringly hot and bought a serious crapload of other books in their place. I've never regretted the decision since so many holes in other collections were plugged as a result, and a great number of new comics were discovered.

Actually, I take back that no regrets comment, because I do regret never quite finishing up my Epic Akira set when I had the chance and the trade credit to do so.

But I digress.

The issues I was looking at were the later ones, somewhere in the high 60s, written by Louise Simonson and the art would have been by Bret Blevins, a penciller I learned to appreciate much later in life. There was also an issue in there (#62, I believe) by the inimitable Jon J Muth. A book which I now treasure more than I did when I was younger and was not such a fan of his work.

Looking at them all again, it reminded me that, while I was often intrigued by the characters and the whole younger X-Men deal, I never really read the book regularly, and never really got to know the characters very well. I certainly was not there in the beginning. I only started paying any real attention to them when Sienkewicz came on as artist, and only collected them on a monthly basis while Guice was doing the art and inked by Kyle Baker. I wavered again for the next 3 or 4 years of the book and picked it up again with #86, which had Rusty on the cover being attacked by the vulture. The first Liefeld cover.

Since the first series only ran 100 issues, I figured it couldn't hurt to take a trip down memory lane and read them all over again, for the first time.

So far, it feels like Claremont is trying much too hard to be young and relevant, and out of the 4 issues and the graphic novel that I have read so far, he has managed three stories that reek of cliché; the origin story, the teen horror flick and a child abuse story. It's also taking some getting used to reading the Claremont style, with just about every panel describing the character, their powers and their motivations in captions, followed by action scenes which he also describes in word or thought balloons.

Bob McLeod's art is serviceable, but nothing spectacular. It's interesting to look back on, but when you consider the work being done 20 issues after these still hold up as striking and contemporary (from a strictly visual standpoint), I can't get too excited by Bob's work, here.

Anyway, I just thought I would post about it. I'll probably post again when I hit those Sienkewicz issues, or possibly even the Leialoha issues in the teens. We'll see.



Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Clone Wars Review With Dave Filoni

While surfing the Star Wars site I ran across this interview with director, Dave Filoni. I've read a number of interviews regarding the show, and seen a few featurettes on the DVD and online, but this was one of the more informative pieces on season 1 I've seen in a while.

Now, if only someone could get an answer as to why Ahmed Best is no longer voicing Jar Jar, I would be a happy Clone Wars fan.



Sunday, April 19, 2009

This Post Is Mostly Filler

There's a bunch going on right now so I'm kind of lackluster in the posting department, but I didn't want to lag too far behind so I figured I would post this video I found after I finished reading Cerebus a little while ago. Once I closed the final page on #300 (which I intended to post about but, as usual, have yet to do so) I immediately went scouring around for commentary and extras online. I also dug up my Following Cerebus issues and started reading those through for the first time (I was holding off until I completed Dave's magnum opus).

Anyway, these guys have put together (or are in the process of putting together) an animated Cerebus film or short and it's mildly interesting to watch. A little strange, though, since the Cerebus depicted is from the earlier issues in the run.

Hopefully I'll have something more significant for next time.



Friday, April 17, 2009

They Say a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

What can I say, I'm speechless. A friend sent me a link to The Best Page in the Universe and when I saw this image...well, it speaks for itself, I think.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sweet Georgia Brown

Just got back from seeing the Harlem Globetrotters with my son and his buddy from school. It was a belated birthday present, and I have to say it's a bit of a treat to see two 8-year old boys going nuts over the antics of the team, and actually cheering and booing when each team scores points. They were jumping and hooting and hollering like proper hooligans. It was a sight to see.

We got home and my daughter Kate asked who won? Oddly enough, Simon answered that someone from the fan club won (I have some ideas on what that might have meant) before being prompted to answer 'the whole team". Jen and I just smirked. Who won indeed.

Anyway, it was a bunch of fun and we got Flight Time's autograph on a Jersey my brother bought for his nephew. Simon and his buddy also each got the official Spalding basketballs which set me back a pretty penny, but they were so excited, I couldn't say no.

It was also nice to get out of the house for a while after all this editing work that I've been doing. Tons of work. Loads of hassles. My brain can only be melted down so many times before it becomes inert. I happen to need this brain.

Ah well, I'm going to go read some Nexus, maybe come up with some questions for an interview I'm working on with IDW and go to bed. More stupid editing work tomorrow. Yay for me!



Monday, April 13, 2009

Nothing About The Spirit Feels Safe Anymore

I will qualify first that I have yet to read the current Spirit storyline written by Michael Uslan, but flipping through the latest issue I noticed the character of Lorelai Rox, The Octopus, Ellen applying for and being accepted into medical school, and that's where I had to close the book and put it down. For those of you who don't know (or aren't paying attention), those elements and/or characters that I just mentioned were all used in the recent flop of a movie that was based on Eisner's strip of the same name which, I might add, Uslan was a producer on. Is he trying to bring the two continuities together? Is he trying to engender some love from us die-hard Spirit fans thinking this may drive us out to buy the DVD? Is DC lost and scrambling for things to do with this character and title? Is this going to be as disappointing and un-Spirit like as I'm thinking it might be?

Likely the book is just adopting a Legends of the Dark Knight anthology style to it since Evanier and Aragones appear to have left the building. Dean Motter and Paul Rivoche are on deck with the next story and Michael Avon Oeming takes a crack at Denny Colt in #30 at which point the solicitations on the DC site end. Could be a sign that the series is on its last legs as it tries to find a direction, but 30 issues is about 26 longer than I ever gave it credit for lasting over at DC, so whether it continues or ends, we had a good run.

Comments are welcome, as always.



Bless You You Tube

I haven't seen this video or heard this song in years-probably 16, if I'm doing the math correctly. The first time I heard it was in high-school when my brother saw it on MuchMusic one day and bought the 45rpm. He played it for me and I thought it was absolutely hilarious at the time, especially a couple of the gags related to the Beastie Boys. "No sleep 'til bedtime!" That's comedy gold.

Anyway, I later lent the only copy we had to my friend Doug, which he never returned, for whatever reason. I've often thought about it and it's a song nobody else seems to know anything about. Anytime I've mentioned Morris Minor and the Majors, people tend to think I'm crazy. I had even done an extensive Internet and YouTube search in the past and came up with nothing. Then tonight...

It seems so much less amazing now than it did then. Still, I'm thrilled that I ran across this little gem from my younger years. Now, if only I could find the B-side. I think it was called "Boring" or something like that. It's not likely I will unless Doug magically appears out of the ether and hands the thing back to me. Last I checked, he was living in the States with his family, so I'm thinking not so much with that happening.



Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!


And on the Sixth Day, He Posted...

Wow. So much for the every day, or nearly every day, posting that I've been trying to stick to since February. I haven't had a six day gap in some time, so I figured a little explanation was in order.

Essentially, work has sort of taken over much of my blogging time. I'm still working part-time at the Co-op but I've also picked up this editing job and it's a bit of a monster of a job. Jen and I are doing it together and we were originally going to divide up the labour between me handling the InDesign stuff and her handling the copy editing, but it's taken me longer to grasp InDesign than I'm comfortable admitting and she hasn't had enough time to really tackle the text because it was supposed to be a photo-ready copy but more or less came to us as a first draft.

So, a lot of work on both ends but we're pushing through and finding our stride. We called the guy we are doing it for and deadlines got adjusted and a plan of action was made, so everything should be shiny from here on in. There is still a lot of work to be done in the next few days (my cute way of saying I may not blog again between now and when the book is done) but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, which is good.

On the non-editing/work front, I've been reading comics every chance I get (I hit my Nexus milestone last week and finally completed the Angel: After the Fall run), listening to a crap load of music and, on breaks, Jen and I have continued watching True Blood which never stops being strangely compelling. If you've never tried the show out, it gets a big thumbs-up from the Jozic household.

Later on in the week I'm taking the boy to see the Harlem Globetrotters for his birthday, and Mother Mother is in town at the end of the week so there may be a post or two about that.

Until then...


Monday, April 06, 2009

Wilder on DVD

For a few years now I have been building my Billy Wilder collection on DVD. I think it started in earnest when I watched Almost Famous for the first time and discovered how much of a fan of Wilder Cameron Crowe was. Almost Famous led me to The Apartment (which was pure cinematic brilliance), and that led to Sunset Boulevard, Stalag 17, The Front Page, Some Like it Hot, Irma la Douce and the list goes on.

Today I was at a local discount store picking up some things when I ran across The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. I had never heard of this movie before, and I was a little surprised to see Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond's names on it. For $6.88 I couldn't say no and I bought it without hesitation.

After bringing it home, I did an internet search to see where exactly it falls in the Wilder canon. I also do the instant search with an unfamiliar DVD because of the off chance that there may be a special edition or some other version which may be preferable to the copy I just purchased. It's happened a few times where I've discovered that I had bought the 'wrong' version.

Anyway, all the reviews seem to speak well of it and this is currently the only version MGM has out there (with the exception of the Laserdisc which has some minor differences that the collector in me has to bite my tongue over) and I look forward to cracking this one open and giving it a watch. I'll come back on and post about it after, maybe give some thoughts on the film.



Friday, April 03, 2009

"They're Apes! They can speak!"

I was just reading the second issue of Jonny Quest Classics released by Comico about 20 years ago, and in the back was an interview with Doug Wildey where mention was made to the Return to the Planet of the Apes animated series that he worked on. As a big fan of JQ and Doug Wildey, and a so-so fan of the PotA film series, I figured I would explore a little further and see how RttPotA compared to the incomparable Jonny Quest series from the '60s.

Well, there are some shows that are made with no money, and then there are shows made with no money. Return is one of the latter. The limited animation here is one of the more striking elements of the show. Not an entirely uncommon thing for the time, but the repetitive uses of scenes and camera movement to simulate action and drama really stand out and bring attention to the lack of any real budget for the series. Design-wise, the show does all right. It does have some interesting deviations from the film series - such as the classical architecture the apes are using as opposed to the more natural structures from the movies - and Wildey's influence is definitely felt throughout. The human characters have a definite Hanna-Barbara look to them and many of the backgrounds look like they could have been painted for a post-apocalyptic Quest episode. Still, it is slow moving (at least in the first episode) and doesn't grab the attention too firmly. I'll keep slogging through for another episode or two, but I'm not holding out hope for any real improvement.

It is kind of disappointing to see the show does not hold up too well, but then Wildey also worked on the animated Mr. T series in the '80s, so I don't always expect greatness from the guy.

Anyway, here's a YouTube version of the pilot episode (Part 1 of 3):



Great Finales

In honour of the end of Battlestar Galactica, BlogCritics has a list of great TV series finales and I must say I was happy to see that Angel made their number two. The ending of that series was always bittersweet since a season six was possible, but for an ending to five years of stories, you couldn't have done much better than "Never Fade Away". I'm even happier yet that it beat out Buffy's finale as I've always believed Angel was the superior show. So many people give the parent show all the props, it's nice to see some recognition going in the other direction for a change.

Oh, and as for what I thought of the Galactica finale? Just about perfect television.

More on that later.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Wolverine Leaked

So, as everyone probably knows by now, 20th Century Fox's upcoming tentpole movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, was leaked onto the internet. Everyone and their dog has downloaded it, watched it and the reviews have been making their way through the blogosphere like wildfire. Some are positive, many are negative, and Fox officials assure us that if this version of the movie sucks, it's because it's not the right one. "No, really, there is a better version," the one that wasn't leaked and will be what fans can look forward to on May 1st.

I've kind of been letting this soak in for the last couple of days and my thoughts and feelings are varied. On the one hand, I feel bad for Fox to have the wind taken out of their sails like that. Even if the blog critics were raving about this movie, there is always that contingent of the audience who would be happy with 'screwing the man' and watching it for free on their computer rather than having the full-on theatre experience. With the more negative reviews, they are potentially losing much of that first weekend revenue that is so important to their bottom line. Sure, a bad movie is a bad movie, but if those investors don't make back any of their money on a big project like this, eventually they get gun shy when someone comes up to them and says, "hey, I have this idea for a movie..."

Then there is the small corner of my brain that wonders if this was really an accidental security slip. I mean, Fox has been having a really rough time of late and they need a big success to get them back in the game. I know with only a month to go before release, it is highly unlikely, but what if Fox was to leak the movie, tells everyone that it is not a completed version, gets a whole bunch of responses from the blogosphere and goes back in and reworks things according to fan reaction. There's not enough time for reshoots by this point, so I know I'm just spouting off, but stranger things have happened. At least, I think they have.