Archive for March, 2009

Attack of the Idiot Vampire Goons


There is not a single day that goes by that I don’t thank my lucky stars for escaping high school.

Boston Latin School headmaster Lynne Mooney Teta issued a notice to parents and students yesterday quashing rumors of vampires at the school. An odd move for the head of a historic elite preparatory school, but Teta and Boston public school officials declined to elaborate on what triggered the unusual message.

They did, however, adamantly offer assurances that no one at the school has been hurt, arrested – or bitten.

“The headmaster believes that the outrageous rumors had reached a point where she had to say something to families to ensure that all students felt safe and respected,” said Chris Horan, School Department spokesman.

While the episode sounds like something out of “Twilight,” last year’s hit film about a high school girl who falls in love with a vampire, it may be closer to the movie “Mean Girls.”

Two law enforcement officials with knowledge of the incident said a group of girls at the school had been bullying at least one other student who likes to dress in Goth-style, a vampirish look popularized by musician Marilyn Manson. The officials said the girls began spreading a rumor that the student was a vampire who had cut someone’s neck and sucked the blood.

When Boston police went to the school Wednesday on an unrelated matter, their presence fueled yet another rumor: that a vampire was being arrested, according to one of the law enforcement sources.

Okay, point #1: We really should take every kid between the ages of 13-19, put ’em in their own 50-gallon drum, and seal ’em in ’til they hit 19. By then, all the hormonal teenager crazy-juice should’ve worn off. I mean, I’m sure there are a lot of perfectly nice teenagers out there, but for the most part, they’re all crazier than a herd of emus on acid.

Point #2: Lubbock, please, I’m beggin’ ya, ’cause I know someone out there is thinking it, please don’t do anything like this locally. I know it seems like a good vampire hunt would be a fun way to get the loonier churches dancing around in their happy pants, but really, no no no no no no no no NO.

In semi-related news: This is the best, funniest, and rudest summary of Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” book series ever. Go read it so you don’t have to read the books or watch the movies.

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Backing the Blue


Top Ten: Season Two #4

Officer Pete Cheney is, as usual, a complete loser, and his partner, Duane Bodine, just keeps covering for him. Even sadder, the previously on-the-ball Sung Li is falling for Cheney’s lines. Meanwhile, Irma Wornow is on her way to the station to get an evaluation with the police psychologist before she can go back on duty after her suspension. Slipstream Phoenix talks his way out of another jam, but you can tell his luck’s running thin. The police commissioner is in big trouble, and someone put a wizard who hands out magic words in with a bunch of hardened criminals. When he empowers them, they bust out and get ready to tear the station down, but Irma saves the day when she grabs a blaster and pops ’em. After they get the crooks to say their magic words again and lose their extra powers, though, the resulting backblast hypercharges Cheney, who tries to kill Duane and ends up frying Officer Joe Pi. Kiss that badge goodbye, Cheney.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of stuff happening here, and I’m enjoying the way the story is developing. Everyone’s going through changes, which is actually a pretty nice change for your average comic book. And Dr. Gautama, the police psychologist, is a hoot.


Top Ten: Season Two Special #1

This one, on the other hand, is a complete train wreck. All of a sudden, Sung Li isn’t a cop anymore — she’s a lawyer, a public defender, and she’s actually dating Pete Cheney, who is apparently a cop again, but he keeps getting suspended. I have no idea where this is supposed to fit in with the regular series’ continuity. And the art is wildly different from the main comic — all of a sudden, everyone looks like they came straight out of anime cartoons, and everyone’s cute and adorable and just not looking the way they do in the main series.

Verdict: Thumbs down. It goes out of its way to pointlessly wreck continuity, and it looks bizarre. The story would probably be fine, but not with this bizarro-universe version of Sung Li.

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Friday Night Fights: Gum!

Another weird and vaguely irritating week has finally past, and that means it’s time for all weekend-loving peoples to get ready for FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

This week’s brawl comes courtesy of September 1991’s Silver Surfer #54 by Ron Marz, Ron Lim, and Tom Christopher, in which we are treated to the sight of the Rhino beating the Silver Surfer with… a gumball machine.

That’s some whallop. I wonder how the Surfer wrigley’d his way out of that one.

Yeah. I said it.

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Pet Sounds

Tiny Titans #14

It’s time for another meeting of the Tiny Titans Pet Club. Today, the meeting is being held at Paradise Island, where all the boys have to stand on tables so they don’t touch the ground. We get to meet Cassie’s pets, Matilda the Minotaur (who looks an awful lot like Elsie the Borden Cow), Yooni the Unicorn (who really is quite cute), and Cecelia the Cyclops (whose mother wants to eat everyone). We also get the enduring question of what the heck kind of critter Lagoon Boy is, as well as an episode with Cyborg’s new out-of-control vacuum cleaner. And we close things out with a shapechanging contest between Beast Boy and Miss Martian.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Just ridiculously cute. Yeah, it’s probably designed for the younger side of the All-Ages set, but I still think it’s good fun for grownups, too.

Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #34

It’s a time travel adventure, as Spider-Man, Hulk, Tigra, and Ant-Man get caught up in a rogue time vortex, along with Sgt. Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos. They play with some dinosaurs in the year 230,000,000 B.C., they eat pancakes with Abraham Lincoln, Tigra gets painted by Toulouse-Lautrec (“Hulk likes tiny man’s hat.”), and they head back to ancient Egypt, where they tangle with some Egyptians inexpertly wielding modern weapons. All that, plus Tigra gets mistaken for Bast, the Egyptian goddess of cats.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’ve been a bit burned out on time travel stories lately, thanks to the unending confusion in the “Booster Gold” series, but this one was pretty good. Excellent comedy, with some excellent blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em cameos, and some wildly goofball time travel fun. I wish they’d had something more for the Howling Commandos to do, though, as they mostly tended to stay in the background and react to stuff the Avengers were doing.

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Bats in Space!


Another sad sacrifice for our space program this week.

A bat that apparently had trouble flying instead tried to hitch a ride on the space shuttle Discovery, NASA officials said.

The animal was last seen clinging on the foam of the external tank of the space shuttle moments before the Discovery launched, officials said.

NASA officials had hoped the bat would fly away on its own, but admitted the bat probably died quickly during Discovery’s climb into orbit.

If that bat is anything like the Batdude in the DCU, he probably sneaked aboard and is busy launching new spy satellites and beating up Space-Joker right under the astronauts’ noses…

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The Sick Day Lit List

Phooey, I’m sick.

Either I got hit with a case of bad Mexican food, a short-term stomach bug, or the eldritch and cyclopean Elder God of Making Me Feel Bad.

So instead of writing up a real blog post for today, I’m just gonna rip off this list of favorite books and authors that I wrote for Facebook.

1. What author do you own the most books by?
Probably Ray Bradbury.

2. What book do you own the most copies of?
I generally avoid keeping multiple copies of books, but I do have two copies of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens — one because it’s an easily portable paperback, and one because it’s one of those nice annotated editions.

3. What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Magrat Garlick from Terry Pratchett’s “Discworld” series.

4. What book have you read more than any other?
“Dandelion Wine” by Ray Bradbury. Used to be, I’d read it every winter.

5. What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
Possibly one of the “Three Investigators” novels.

6. What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?
Nothing memorably bad springs to mind.

7. What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
I got a lot of joy out of “Soon I Will Be Invincible” by Austin Grossman.

8. If you could tell everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
“Chuck Amuck” by Chuck Jones. It’s about Warner Brothers cartoons and storytelling and really weird cats and old Hollywood and it’s an extremely fun, enjoyable, and enlightening read. I especially recommend this for writers, for his advice on creating characters.

9. What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?
For some reason, it took me forever to read “The Stand” by Stephen King, and I eventually found it very disappointing. The most difficult and most satisfying read was “Foucault’s Pendulum” by Umberto Eco.

10. Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
You mean French lit vs. Russian lit? Neither. I really find both of the national styles very boring.

11. Shakespeare, Milton or Chaucer?

12. Austen or Eliot?
(kicks dirt, looks embarrassed) I haven’t read either.

13. What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
I haven’t read much that’s not genre fiction. Makes it hard to impress the Sexy Librarians when I’ve read very little of the Classics.

14. What is your favorite novel?
Probably “Dandelion Wine” by Ray Bradbury. Just an intensely lyrical and sensual book.

15. Play?
I don’t read a lot of plays, but the very best I’ve ever seen produced was “Terra Nova” by Ted Tally, as produced by the drama department at ENMU in Portales back in the late 1980s. The play is about the Scott-Amundsen race to the South Pole — specifically about Scott’s team, which of course died on the way back. A wonderfully sad, head-trippy play.

16. Poem?
“Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll. I’ve had it memorized since sixth grade. (However, favorite poets are Carl Sandburg and Langston Hughes)

17. Essay?
Either “The Tombs” or “Xenogenesis” by Harlan Ellison. The first is about a night Ellison spent in jail in the Tombs in NYC, and the second is about the shockingly awful things that science fiction fans will do to the authors who write for them.

18. Short Story?
That’s a tough one, ’cause I love short stories. I’d say, in fairly random order: “Pickman’s Model” by H.P. Lovecraft, “Kaleidoscope” by Ray Bradbury, “There Shall Be No Darkness” by James Blish, “Homecoming” by Bradbury, “There Shall Come Soft Rains” by Bradbury, “The Repairer of Reputations” by Robert W. Chambers, “Oh Whistle, and I’ll Come for You, My Lad” by M.R. James, “Survivor Type” by Stephen King, “Mr. Skin” by Victor Milan, “SCENE: A Room” by Craig Anthony, “Through Thy Bounty” by Lucy A. Snyder, “A Study in Emerald” by Neil Gaiman, “The Night Wire” by H.F. Arnold, “The Screwfly Solution” by Alice Sheldon.

Oh, and the following, all from Go read them all. READ THEM ALL.

And more, I guarantee. I love the heck out of short stories.

19. Non Fiction?
“The Beast Within: A History of the Werewolf” by Adam Douglas. Just the best plain overview of the werewolf in myth, legend, history, psychology, film, and literature.

20. Graphic Novel?
“The New Frontier” by Darwyn Cooke and “The Golden Age” by James Robinson and Paul Smith.

21. Science Fiction?
“City” by Clifford D. Simak, with “The Demolished Man” by Alfred Bester coming in a close second.

22. Horror?
I’m going with “The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson, “Something Wicked This Way Comes” by Ray Bradbury, and “House of Leaves” by Mark Z. Danielewski.

23. Who is your favorite writer?
Ray Bradbury, no question.

24. Who is the most over-rated writer alive today?
Neal Stephenson. I enjoyed “Snow Crash,” but I’ve just thought his other books were not Teh Bomb.

25. What are you reading right now?
I’ve got a number of collections of short horror stories I’m alternating with.

26. What writers/books have been most important to you (not mentioned above)?
Alan Moore, Fritz Leiber, Warren Ellis’ incredible “Transmetropolitan” comic, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Clive Barker’s “Books of Blood,” and Christopher Moore.

Feel free to add your own selections in the comments or on your own blog.

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Black and Gold


B.P.R.D.: The Black Goddess #3

While the Frogs and prehumans attack the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense and the US military outside the old Chinese monastery, Abe Sapien, Kate Corrigan, and Andrew Devon listen to Martin Gilfryd/Memnan Saa tell the story of his long, long life, driven to a madhouse in Victorian England, then embarking on a spiritual quest to Agartha, and finally ending up at the monastery, acknowledged as a spiritual leader and wizard with the ability to “tame fire to breed dragons.” Of course, this isn’t doing anyone outside the monastery much good — the Yetis are helping to beat back the Frogs and prehumans, but they’re not making enough progress, especially when the bad guys’ giant bug/robots show up. Looks like everyone’s done for… unless Memnan Saa really can call up dragons…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of action here, lots of intrigue, lots of magic, lots of suspense, lots of just plain freaky stuff. I hope you’re reading and enjoying this as much as I am.


Booster Gold #18

Present Booster and Past Booster team up to track down the last time-knife back to ancient Egypt, where sorcerers are using it to drain the Blue Beetle scarab of all its energy. Meanwhile, Goldstar and Skeets confront the mysterious chronal-energy dude, who turns out to be the late Rex Hunter, evil Time Master wannabe, as he tries to destroy the scarab and do other evil stuff and, and… Pfah, heck with it. This stuff isn’t making a bit of sense right now.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Confused. And bored.

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The Most Metal Thing Ever!

Dethklok vs. The Goon! Let me repeat: Dethklok vs. The Goon!

Yes, the Goon, as in “The Goon,” Eric Powell’s incredible noir-horror masterpiece of zombie fighting, toilet humor, and big guys wearing cloth caps.

Yes, Dethklok, as in the insanely brutal death metal band from the twisted and head-banging “Metalocalypse” cartoon on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.

Yes, it’s coming out in July, with Eric Powell and “Metalocalypse” creator Brendan Small rocking the comics pages.

And yes, it’s still the most metal thing ever, even though it’s gonna be in a comic book and won’t have any actual heavy metal music playing.

Yes, I’m gonna get it. Don’t you get in my way, or I’m stickin’ a shiv in yer neck.

(Via here, here, and here)

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Friday Night Fights: Explodey-Head!

I think we’ve all had a stressful enough week that we’d all appreciate a wonderful weekend, wouldn’t we? And as always, the best way to start off a wonderful weekend is with some gratuitous, face-cracking violence, right? So let’s get this party started — it’s time again for FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Our pain-packed panel for this week comes from November 1985’s Fantastic Four #284 by John Byrne as She-Hulk hits one of Psycho-Man’s minions so hard his whole head blows up.

Over the top? Maybe. I guess that’s just how gamma-powered lawyers roll…

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Hail Britannia


Captain Britain and MI-13 #11

Dracula has declared war on Great Britain and made his first attack against MI-13. Captain Britain and Pete Wisdom have escaped injury in their exploding car, but one of their backpacking friends is killed. The Black Knight and Faiza Hussain are stuck in freefall from 10,000 feet up, but Faiza actually manages to heal their injuries as they hit the ground. Faiza’s family, in the meantime, has been targeted by Dracula, and Spitfire’s dead vampire son has come back from the grave to drag his mother into Dracula’s service.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’ve got some quibbles with the depiction of Dracula, but I’m a bit of a purist for the glories of the “Tomb of Dracula” series from the ’70s. Other than that, there’s nothing but win going on here. The interaction between Spitfire and her son is excellent, Dracula’s taunt at his old foe Blade is much appreciated, and Pete Wisdom’s leadership is wonderful to watch. This comic is huge fun.


Secret Six #7

Deadshot has apparently tried to kill most of the team, but he botched the job on all of them, and now they’re chasing him down to get revenge. Meanwhile, Tarantula, riding along with Deadshot with Bane unconscious in the back seat of the limo, figures out the truth — Deadshot’s an expert assassin, and if he’d wanted his teammates dead, they’d be dead. Everyone finally meets up in Gotham City, with the addition of all the supervillains who’ve been trying to kill them, plus Junior, Ragdoll’s creepy sister, plus the Mad Hatter, plus Huntress, Grace, and Lady Blackhawk. And then Bane finally breaks out his stash of Venom, and things really go nuts.

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, great interaction between all the characters. Tarantula is just great here, as is Mad Hatter. And it was pretty cool seeing how Bane looks at the world once he’s got Venom in his system. Gail Simone and Nicola Scott are doing outstanding work with this series.

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