Thursday, September 25, 2008

What am I up to?

No good, would probably be the best answer. Fortunately, it's not true. I've been to busy with other stuff to have a chance to post much, but felt I should drop by just so you'll know I'm still active.

My comics buying is almost 50% Marvel stuff related to SECRET INVASION. I'm certainly enjoying it more than I did almost any of the COUNTDOWN stuff that DC put out. In a way it is fresher, since the writers in the tie-in books actually seem to be relating their story lines to the Skrulls. Many of the DC books last year seemed to be ignoring what was going on in COUNTDOWN and even making it more confusing, as characters who appeared dead, injured or otherwise incapacitated in one book were just fine in another.

FINAL CRISIS is still confusing, even restricting myself to the main title. The only tie-in book I picked up was FC: Requiem, which dealt with the fate of J'onn J'onzz and nicely covered his history as it is/was in current continuity. Writer Peter J. Tomsi and artists Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy all did a good job presenting the story of one of my favorite characters. Although it was a good send off, I really would love to see the character return in some form or other.

If you are not already a fan of Mike Mignola you are missing some fun & exciting books. It doesn't matter if they feature HELLBOY, the B.P.R.D. or his pulp-inspired hero, Lobster Johnson. There is generally at least one title in the Mignola-verse coming out every month and I recommend them all. Right now you'll find HELLBOY: THE CROOKED MAN, with art by Richard Corben. Corben is inking his own work and, as usual, fills the pages with well-endowed beautiful women and the creepiest monsters & villains you'll see anywhere. For a more 'typical' story in terms of art & story you can also find B.P.R.D.: THE WARNING a follow-up to the previous WAR ON FROGS, which expanded on the already known menace of the 'frogs'. Trust me, they are not the ones you'll find in your garden or in the local pond. At least I would hope not!!

The DOCTOR WHO books from IDW continue to be a lot of fun, whether you prefer the antics of the Tom Baker incarnation in D.W. Classics or the current David Tennant version in D.W. A wonderful bonus is in the just started mini-series D.W.: THE FORGOTTEN by Tony Lee and Pia Guerra. There the current Doctor and companion Martha Jones find themselves transported to a mysterious 'museum' filled with mementos of the Time Lord's past incarnations. Exhibits include the outfits worn by the various actors who played the role and artifacts which became identified with them in the show. The first issue has a bit of an adventure with the original Doctor (played by William Hartnell) , his "grand daughter" Susan and her teachers, Barbara & Ian. The rest of the series will feature appearances of the other eight incarnations and we'll probably learn more of the 'mysterious' person behind this (although long time fans of the show might easily guess). Bravo!!

Other stuff on recent purchases when I get the chance.
(I had actually tried to post this yesterday (9/25) but Blogger was giving me a hard time.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Banana Man!

If you have a chance you should click over to Mark Evanier's page to watch a video featuring Sam Levine. Levine, as Evanier explains, was one of perhaps three men who performed a routine called "The Banana Man" for several generations of children and adults. If you're my age, as Mark is, you'll have some memory of the routine from Captain Kangaroo or some other show from that era.

Another found memory is of chatting with writer, John Ostranda one evening in New York and having him surprise me by having the same memories of Levine as I did. Just another reason why I consider John one of my favorite comics creators.
Watch and enjoy! Thanks, Mark!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Salty Brine profiled on PM Magazine

I used to listen to Salty in the mornings through the '60s and watched his TV show in the afternoon, after school.

Salty used to do the usual Popeye, naturally, and tons of other cartoons.

Four Color Fiend - I MARVEL at all this!

A few spoilers this time, but I’m not going to bother with making you scroll down. This is just a quick rundown of some of the titles I’m currently reading.

I continue to pick up most of the SECRET INVASION titles from Marvel. As I’ve said before most of them are decent or better, giving you a nice “what has gone before” page at the beginning and generally allowing you to figure out who is who. Only a few times have I had to go to Wikipedia to check out a character or two, mostly from AVENGERS: The Initiative. In many cases they appear to be old characters with new names or new characters assuming the names of older ones.

The SI storyline seems to be at the mid-point, at least in the main title, but it may be ending sooner or later in the books that currently tie-in. The two main Avenger titles (Mighty & New) continue to bring us the back story on how various heroes were replaced and how things on the Skrull home world developed up to the beginning of the actual invasion. Tony (Iron Man) Stark has been led to believe that he may be a Skrull double-agent, but still is working to repair the damage done by the actual aliens. It looks as if Reed Richards may be getting back into action and on his way back to aid his allies on Earth. As it appears that it was Richards’ mind which held the secret the Skrulls used to hide among us, it is probably Mister Fantastic who will discover the means to correct the situation.

Both INCREDIBLE HERCULES and CAPTAIN BRITAIN & MI: 13 are showing how the Skrull invasion is taking place in the realms of magic (in the case of CB) and among the immortal gods (IH). The events and characters in both books have enough appeal to me that I may continue to pick them both up after the Skrull storyline ends. Dr. Faiza Hussain, particularly, may be one of the most interesting characters to have appeared in quite a while, at least in my reading of the Marvel Universe books. It will be interesting to see where writer Paul Cornell and co-creator Leonard Kirk will be going with her in the next few months. In the Hercules book, it is Amadeus Cho (the 7th smartest person on Earth) who is the most interesting of the hero’s companions and I fear for the fate of his puppy, Kerberus (“Kirby”) at the hands of the Skrulls.

While I’m still reading MARVEL 1985, I feel a bit disappointed that Mark Millar is going a so dark. Considering the other things the man has written, I guess I should not have been surprised. I would have preferred a little lighter tone as the main character in the book, Toby Goodman, is only a young teen in the story. I certainly don’t remember the various Marvel villains being quite this blood-thirsty (in some cases almost literally), especially back in the mid-80s where this is supposed to be taking place. It remains a good read and it will be interesting to see where Millar will eventually take this.
Finally, at least with the Marvel books, I found THE TWELVE ½ among my ‘pulls’ at Nuclear Comics last week. While the covers are new, as well as a summary of the series on the inside front cover, the rest of the book contains reprints of the early adventures of three of the heroes who now find themselves in the 21st century. Rockman, Mr. E and the Fiery Mask all have a moment in the spotlight. Of note are the origin of the Fiery Mask by Joe Simon and a Rockman tale by Basil Wolverton.

I’ll probably have more on other comics either later today or next Monday.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Vacation viewing!

Had the opportunity to catch a couple of films while I was on vacation and thought I'm quickly mention them.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (seen on a decent size screen on the ship, while enjoying a Pina Colada)- is the second film in the Narnia series based on the novels by C.S. Lewis. I never had the chance to see the first film, although I did read the book years ago and saw the British television series based on it. I never got beyond the first book in the series, so was taken by by how dark the film was in some portions. Although some characters are revived (and we all know where Lewis was going with that symbolism) there are a number of deaths in the movie. While not especially graphic, I could see how young kids might be disturbed by the nighttime attack on the castle and some other scenes. While not up to Peter Jackson's brilliant Lord of the Rings trilogy, the film certainly was entertaining. Of note was Sergio Castellitto in the role of King Miraz, uncle of Prince Caspian and the major villain in the film.

The Happening (watched on a lap-top sized viewer in First Class flying from Anchorage to Seattle and enjoying a rum & Coke) - Is another strange and disturbing film by M. Night Shyamalan. Mark Wahlberg plays a high school science teacher who finds himself fleeing with his wife and others from Philadelphia after New York suffers an apparent terrorist attack. The film moves from Wahlberg and his fellow travelers, back to the city as events begin to escalate and spread. We see and hear newscasters, 'experts' and others speculating on just what may be happening and why. I saw the film in edited format on a plane, so some scenes and language may have been altered, but it was still quite chilling. Along with Wahlberg, we have solid performances by John Leguizamo (as one of Wahlberg's fellow teachers and close friend) and Zooey Deschanel as Wahlberg's wife (who has her own secret). Betty Buckley gives a creepy performance as the mysterious Mrs. Jones, a woman who allows Wahlberg to stay overnight in her home. As usual with Shyamalan's movies not everything is answered or explained, but perhaps it shouldn't be. Probably not the best film by the writer/director, but a decent addition to his resume.
I've found that the consumption of alcohol while watching movies can make any film an enjoyable experience. :-)