Archive for April, 2010

Bunnies Aren’t Just Cute Like Everybody Supposes…

The Unwritten #12

This was one of my favorite comics from last week, ’cause it’s got such a great hook.

We don’t see Tom Taylor or any of our other main characters this week — our focus is on Pauly Bruckner, a guy who’s stuck in a very bad situation. Pauly used to be a normal guy, a bit dishonest, who once made the mistake of breaking into the home of Wilson Taylor, famous author of the “Tommy Taylor” novels. And now Pauly is a bunny. A cute fluffy bunny with long ears and twitchy whiskers and a smart vest and a darling cravat and his home in the side of a hill in Willowbank Wood. Pauly hates Willowbank Wood, he hates living in a syrupy-sweet children’s story, he hates the other animals who act like twits and get nervous when he swears and tries to kill them, and he’s willing to do anything to get his old life back.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s like a hard-boiled crime novel taking place inside “House on Pooh Corner.” Does that make it awesome? Oh, heck yes, it’s awesome.

Daytripper #5

Brás de Oliva Domingos is now 11 years old. He’s living a pretty happy life, hanging out on his grandparents’ ranch, eating, listening to stories, flying kites, staging duels between beetles and frogs, and telling his cousins his favorite family story — that he was born dead during a blackout, but miraculously returned to life at the same time as the lights came back on. And in the end, something that is, by now, very much expected, comes to pass.

Verdict: Thumbs up. An interesting change of pace here — a look into Brás’ childhood. By now, I think it’s safe to tell this series’ special gimmick, yes? In each issue, we get some important day in Brás’ life, and at the end of each issue, Brás is killed. And it’s interesting that this may actually stem from his death and rebirth as a newborn. Anyway, great story, very charmingly told, and wonderful artwork. Please go pick up this series — so far, it’s been a great ride.


Chew #10

FDA agent/cannibal Tony Chu is running around the tropical island nation of Yamapalu, trying to keep himself, the girl he loves, and his brother alive in the middle of a rooster-inspired civil war. And it’s all complicated by a freakin’ vampire. Is everyone going to survive, or is somebody going to get their face eaten off by a freakin’ vampire?

Verdict: Ehh, thumbs down. This one just didn’t have the same oomph that the rest of the series normally has.

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Mondays are for Makin’ Trouble!


It’s been a while since I threw a bunch of links up here, and with Spidercat’s protection, all of you will be too terrified to stop me! Huzzah, Spidercat! Ack, get it away, get it away!

Anyway, everything I’ve got this time is political or semi-political. Completely unexpected and definitely unusual, but that’s how it turned out this time. No crazy videos this time, so sorry, just stuff to make some of you guys rant at the ceiling.

  • The Last Republican in the Texas Lege
  • Republican David Frum — George W. Bush’s former speechwriter, no less — on how Republican extremists and pundits are killing the GOP.
  • And one of Frum’s readers says the GOP’s current love for extremists and whackjobs has run him off. This stuff really is weird to me. The crazy building-bombing militia movement wasn’t that long ago — it’s weird to see people getting suckered by violent nutbars again after only a couple decades. I know there are tons and tons of people like this dude who know that you can’t run a healthy political movement on a strict diet of crazysauce and locoweed, but the sensible folks are getting completely ignored because the crackpots are so much better for ratings…
  • Kevin Church’s domestic terrorism linkblog
  • This says a lot of stuff I’ve been thinking lately about the lack of empathy shown for people having a rough time economically and about the way we seem to devalue our fellow man and over-value megacorps. We like to think of ourselves as an unusually giving and empathetic country, but these days, it seems like everyone’s competing to be the cruelest and most hard-hearted.
  • David Brooks thinks he’s better than you. Let’s see a show of hands — anybody here think David Brooks could handle more than five minutes of ditch-digging, waiting tables, or scrubbing toilets? Nah, I didn’t think so. Everything I’ve ever read from this guy makes me amazed that he can make it through the day without getting beat up by angry mobs.
  • Dallas sports anchor Dale Hansen tees off on his station’s management for what he believes are poor news decisions. I agree with a lot of what he says (but not all) — I think it’s worth watching just to enjoy the bracing slap-in-the-face awesomeness of a guy telling his bosses he really, really disagrees with them (though Hansen is a Dallas sports broadcasting mainstay, so his job is absolutely safe).
  • I’m not normally a fan of these TED talks — they tend to be a bit too buzzword-heavy and detail-vague to be really useful, but I enjoyed the talk by Mike Rowe (from the Discovery Channel’s wonderfully gross “Dirty Jobs” series) about why dirty and unglamorous jobs are so important. It’s 20 minutes long, though, so make sure you’ve got a half-hour or so to watch it…
  • These Teach the Controversy T-shirts are awesome.
  • And to drag comics, at least briefly, into the conversation, while still sticking with the political theme, here’s Paul Cornell, writer of the fantastically awesome “Captain Britain and MI-13” series from last year, on the question of why Christianity always seems to equal homophobe.

And that’s what I got this time. Hopefully, my next linkdump will have a lot more goofy stuff…

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After the Expo

So the Lubbock Comic Book Expo — possibly the last Lubbock Comic Book Expo for a while — happened Saturday and Sunday. I brought a camera so I could take a ton of pictures… but it turned out it was an old camera that was out of batteries, didn’t have a good memory card, and wasn’t really working very well anyway. So I didn’t get any pictures. The one above came from the A-J’s “Spotted” gallery for the Lubbock Arts Festival.

And I missed a lot of the folks I wanted to see. I went early in the day on Saturday, ’cause that would give me the most time to visit family for the rest of the afternoon, but I suspect a lot of the folks I was looking forward to seeing probably showed up later in the afternoon or evening.

Still, I had a great time, got to visit a lot of folks, meet a few more folks, got to buy quite a few sample booklets, watched a bunch of kids and parents drawing at the sketch tables, snagged an utterly mad ’60s-era issue of “Action Comics” that I may need to scan for giggles later, and had a plenty good time. I missed seeing anyone dressed up in costume, other than the nice-but-Karo-blood-drenched folks running the “Nightmare on 19th Street” booth.

Not sure how many attendees there were, but as of early afternoon on Saturday, it looked like there were quite a few, and the numbers were increasing pretty steadily.

Will there be more Expos or Comic Cons in Lubbock? It’s hard to say — it’s usually just Will Terrell and Robert Mora doing most of the organizing and planning, and they’re probably not keen to continue taking a couple months out of their busy schedules to do 90-95% of the work for the conventions. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll see more conventions — and more people taking on some of the work of organizing them — because it’s clear that there’s a lot of public interest in comic conventions and comic artwork.

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Friday Night Fights: Chimp Champion!

Hey, man! Friday Night Fights is back in action! Let’s get things started the right way — with monkeys!

Here’s September 2006’s Shadowpact #3 by Bill Willingham and Cory Walker, where we get right into Detective Chimp showing Kid Karnevil why you should never make a chimpanzee mad at you:

Okay, that’s that. Don’t party too hard tonight — I expect y’all all to be at the Lubbock Comic Book Expo tomorrow and Sunday at the Civic Center!

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By the Pricking of my Thumbs, Something Wicked this Way Comes

Kill Shakespeare #1

How ’bout this for high concept: We start out with Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, mad at his uncle for killing his father and marrying his mother, just like Shakespeare’s play. Hamlet kills Polonius by accident, gets banished from the country, gets sent away by ship with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern — all just like the play. Except not everything is just like the play. Hamlet is having dreams about these three witches who keep pronouncing prophecies, the ship is attacked by pirates, and after he gets knocked overboard, he wakes up to find himself in a strange country ruled over by a hunchbacked monarch named Richard III. Richard claims that the land is tortured by an evil wizard named… William Shakespeare. Richard and the witches don’t need Hamlet to kill Shakespeare — just sneak into his hidden dwelling and steal the magic quill he uses to write his stories. In exchange, the witches say they’ll bring Hamlet’s father back to life.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nicely twisted concept. You may get the most out of this if you’ve got a good grasp of Shakespeare’s works, but so far, most of what I see is fairly familiar stuff. Plus you get Hamlet, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern fighting pirates. There’s a lot to love about that.

Secret Six #20

I’m a bit leery to spoil this one, ’cause it’s quite good. But let’s set this up. The Six have been out on one of their typically bloody-minded jobs. They check in with the horrible old guy who hired them, and before he pays them, he gets a phone call, then hands the phone over to Catman. The guys on the other end of the line say, “Hi, we just attacked your ex-lover, Cheshire, and have kidnapped your son, and hey, we’re going to kill him, no matter what, but how ’bout this — for every one of your friends you manage to kill in the next five minutes, we’ll let the tyke live for another year.” After that, there follow several very, very tense pages where Catman glares at his team, and the rest of the Six, realizing something funky is up, glare back. What happens after that? That would be too much of a spoiler.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s very, very good. The first seven pages are some of the best, most suspenseful pages you’re going to get to read in comics. The rest of it is pretty good, too. So go get it already.

Anything else? Have I mentioned the Lubbock Comic Book Expo? You remember it’s gonna get started tomorrow, right? I’ll be there for at least part of it — hunt me down and say howdy.

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Dawn of the Brightest Day

Brightest Day #0

Well, the Blackest Night is finished — now it’s time for the Brightest Day. DC’s newest crossover is leaning hard on the implication that stuff’s finally going to be less bleak and horrible, but no one’s buying that too much. Still, an interesting start for this new series — Deadman is the only revived ex-zombie who’s still wearing a White Lantern Ring, and he’s just discovered that it allows him to revive the dead. The ring also takes him on a tour around the solar system catching up with the other twelve resurrected characters. Aquaman is making up for lost time with Mera but is afraid to go back in the water. Professor Zoom and Captain Boomerang are locked up in Iron Heights Penitentiary. Hawkman and Hawkgirl are remembering all their past lives while shady characters uncover the ancient bones of the Hawks’ first Egyptian incarnations. Maxwell Lord has another plan to take over the world. The Martian Manhunter wants to rebuild Mars. Jade is getting training from the Green Lantern Corps. Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch are stuck in the Firestorm matrix together, even though they hate each other. Osiris hopes to bring Black Adam and Isis back. Hawk and Dove are not really going to work out as crimefighting partners. So why did all these specific people get brought back from the dead?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Not the most enthralling debut ever, but it’s not bad. This functions more as a re-introduction to these characters before most of them are farmed out to other comic books, but it’s a fairly charming re-intro. Dialogue seems fine, very nice character conflicts being set up, and the art by Fernando Pasarin is very, very nice.

The Flash #1

Barry Allen is back as the Flash getting re-acquainted with Central City. He’s back on the job as a police scientist — his long absence explained away as a few years in the witness protection program — in a police department plagued by high turnover and too many unsolved cases. And the first big mystery of the day — the apparent murder downtown of the Mirror Master. Who’s behind it? The Rogues? A new player? A threat from the future? Or it is Barry himself?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nice glimpse into the fairly rotten situation Barry has gotten himself into. The current version of Central City is no Gotham City, but it’s a place where the cops are not generally winning the fight against crime. And Barry is definitely the odd man out at his new job — most of his coworkers really dislike him, ’cause the brass have been pushing him as the golden boy who’s going to fix the department. Fighting supervillains almost sounds easy in comparison…

And hey, I definitely need to drop y’all another reminder — don’t forget the Lubbock Comic Book Expo, this Saturday and Sunday at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center. Let’s turn it over to Will Terrell, and he can tell you what’s what:

We have a great event planned for everyone, with lots of Fun Sketch Club activities for the whole family, from group drawing tables, silent panel comics and even a stick-figure drawing competition!  We also have talented comic book artists selling their own books, art and sketches.  And even costumed characters!  This event is part of the Lubbock arts festival.  The festival is $2 for adults and $1 for kids, and the Comic Expo is free!  The Expo will be 10-7 Sat and 11-5 Sun, and we will be upstairs.

We hope to see you this weekend!  This will be the fourth comic convention our group has organized.  When we first started, our intention was that if we were only able to do ONE convention, that we hoped it would be one that people would remember fondly for years to come.  We have been extremely blessed to be able to put on FOUR shows that have far surpassed our hopes and expectations.  They have all been very fun and memorable for everyone that attended them!

There ya go — be there or be square.

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What are the Mysteries under Wayne Manor?

Batman and Robin #11

Dick Grayson is getting closer to the hidden secrets of Wayne Manor, finding a secret temple, a hidden railway track, a stalactite carved to look like a bat-demon, and… something else. Oberon Sexton, the masked writer/detective, shows up to help Damian against Dr. Hurt’s hired killers, but what is he hiding? Damian has problems of his own — his recent spinal surgery allowed his mother to implant him with control devices that allow her — or her designated supervillain assassin — to operate Damian like a puppet. So when a mysteriously traumatized Dick hauls himself up from the catacombs beneath the mansion, is he going to be ready for Damian’s attacks? And will any of them survive the 99 Fiends?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A wonderfully deepening mystery, nicely tense, some very enjoyable action. If you aren’t getting this, I’ve got to assume that you’re already chock-full of koo-koo-cha-cha sauce, right?


Jonah Hex #54

Jonah’s up to his usual shenanigans — bringing in dead bandits for bounties, giving spoiled dandy lawmen the stinkeye, boozin’ it up, and glowering at pretty saloon girls. The trouble starts when some low-down varmint steals his horse, leading Jonah to, probably unwisely, pursue him on a mangy donkey. The misadventure ends with him bucked off and knocked out, but when he comes to in the morning, he still manages to bag another bunch of bandits. But when he returns to town, he finds the spoiled dandy lawman has been killed, and his spoiled dandy lawman brother-in-law reckons he can get away with framing Hex for the killin’. Can Hex and his few friends beat the rap and even the odds?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good ol’ fashioned hard-boiled Western fun. DC isn’t paying Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti nearly enough, and Jordi Bernet provides some fun artwork to go along with it.

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Spider-Man: Fever #1

It’s been quite a while since Brendan McCarthy had a new comic out, so this one has gotten quite a bit of interest. We start off with the Vulture attacking Spider-Man at the same time as Dr. Strange discovers that the new grimoire he just ordered was sabotaged with a magic signal from one of the more rotten corners of the magical multiverse. The trap creates a spectral spider that moves through New York City, snags Spidey, and actually steals his soul before Dr. Strange can stop it. The demon drags Spidey back through a hallucinatory fever-dream into the depths of the netherverse as an offering to its king, a horrific spider-monster who plans to enjoy a Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Snack…

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nicely weird book, somewhere between Steve Ditko, Vertigo Comics, and Richard Corben. The art and writing are simultaneously Silver-Age classic and acid-trip freaky. So far, it’s really interesting — go give it a look.

JSA All-Stars #5

While the JSA fights off the King of Tears with the timely assistance of a mysterious magic user named Anna Fortune, Stargirl and Atom-Smasher are stuck, powerless, in a magical sub-dimension called the Subtle Realms, trying to fight their way to freedom. Can they survive on their own? And if the rest of the JSA can follow them to the Subtle Realms, are they going to be any better off?

Verdict: Thumbs down. Still the worst art on any DC book. Just relentlessly distracting. It’s hard to focus on the story at all. I’m not real fond of the story either, but I really can’t tell if that’s because it’s not well done, or if it’s just absorbing some of the stink from the artwork. The second feature with Hourman and Liberty Belle is better illustrated, but it’s pretty spectacularly boring.

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Speed Lines

The Flash Secret Files and Origins 2010 #1

Ooooo, first issue. Ya gonna have more than one “Flash Secret Files and Origins” issue this year, DC?

We’ve got two stories in this one — first, Barry Allen is obsessing about who killed his mother. You didn’t know someone killed Barry Allen’s mother? It’s a retcon — his mom wasn’t ever really mentioned until recently, when it was suddenly revealed that someone killed her when he was a little kid, and his dad got blamed for it and died in prison. Barry doesn’t believe that his dad killed his mom, and that’s what steered him toward work as a police scientist as a career. Our second story focuses on the Rogues — Captain Cold, Heat Wave, Weather Wizard, Mirror Master, and the Trickster — visit the original Mirror Master’s spooky headquarters to check into an old anti-Flash contingency plan. And after that, there are profiles of the Flash, his supporting cast, and his villains.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Yeah, I didn’t really mind it that much. It’s light, but you’re not going to get any real deep stories in these “Secret Files” comics. The worst I can say for it is I think they slipped up and revealed the solution to the big mystery without realizing it.

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #14

Black Adam is back, thanks to Freddy Freeman telling an amnesiac Theo Adam the magic word he needed. He and Captain Marvel knock each other around, and Mary Marvel tries to talk some sense into Freddy. Black Adam realizes he can find an amulet from ancient Egypt to get enough power to destroy the Marvels once and for all, but can he find an ally to help him out?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Oddly, the slowest parts of this story are the slugfests between Captain Marvel and Black Adam. Everything aside from that is pretty darn cool. And the ending twist is pretty nice, too, even if we saw it coming pretty early.

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Who Wants Some Burritos?!

So Batman, what do you like to eat after a long night of fighting crime?

Sounds good to me! Here, have a napkin.

This Saturday, April 10th, is going to be Lubbock Sketch Club Appreciation Day at Freebirds, at 4930 South Loop 289, Suite 250. That’s during the regular Sketch Night from 7-10 p.m.. If you’re in the Sketch Club, drop by, make some art, and chips and dip will be on the house. And if you’re not a Sketch Club member — sounds like it’d be a good time to go meet some artists, don’t it?

And speaking of meeting artists, that sounds like a nice cue to mention the Lubbock Comic Book Expo again. Remember, it’s scheduled for the weekend after next — April 17-18, during the Lubbock Arts Festival, at the Lubbock Municipal Civic Center at 1501 Mac Davis Lane. It’ll run from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission to the Expo is completely free! And admission to the Arts Festival is just two bucks. Dude, bring an extra two bucks and go check out the rest of the art, too, a’ight?

Don’t miss out, or there will be hurtin’.

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