As well as my fitness kick, I've been on a real graphic novel tear, because nothing says fitness and athleticism like a great big stack of comic books. I've been following my own advice and visiting my local libraries. Yesterday, I finally managed to restrain myself and return more books than I took out.

  • Complete Atomic City tales,vol.1:Go power!, by Jay Stephens
  • JLA : one million, by Grant Morrison
  • Kingdom come, by Mark Waid
  • The Dark Knight strikes again, by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley
  • Truth: Red, White & Black, by Robert Morales
  • Swamp Thing: Reunion, by Alan Moore
  • Whiteout, by Greg Rucka
  • Doom Patrol vol. 2: The Painting That Ate Paris, by Grant Morrison
  • Jimmy Olsen, vol. 1, by Jack Kirby
  • Swamp Thing. book 7: Regenesis, by Rick Veitch
  • New X-men: Riot at Xavier's, vol 4, by Grant Morrison

Newly checked out:
  • Batman : year one, by Frank Miller
  • Hellboy: Right Hand of Doom, by Mike Mignola
  • Hellboy: Conqueror Worm, by Mike Mignola
  • Green Arrow: Straight Shooter, by Judd Winick
  • The Sandman: The Kindly Ones, by Neil Gaiman
  • The Sandman: The Wake, by Neil Gaiman

Previously checked out:
  • Astro City Family Album, Kurt Busiek
  • Embroideries, Marjane Satrapi
  • Hellboy: The Chained Coffin and Others, Mike Mignola
  • The Sandman. Brief lives, Neil Gaiman
  • Transmetropolitan: the new scum, Warren Ellis
  • Marvel Essentials: Dr. Strange
  • Supreme : the story of the year, Alan Moore
  • The sandman: Worlds' End, Neil Gaiman
  • Tales of the Vampires, Joss Whedon

I suspect that I even if I continue on this uncharacteristic comics jag, I'm nearing the end of running from library to library. It's tough to find specific volumes, and I've about exhausted the local stock of pretentious Vertigo publications: I've finished off Swamp Thing and have just The Wake left on Sandman. And now that I've discovered that there are comics available via torrent, I've got about three gigs on my hard drive as yet unread.
Graphic! ) I don't think I've laughed as hard at a (non-Tick) superhero comic book as I have at the Grant Morrison Doom Patrol collection The Painting That Ate Paris. One thing though perturbs me: Crazy Jane's dialogue in the second of the panels reproduced under the cut ) is naggingly familiar. My immediate thought was that there's a line in Ghost Busters that is much the same, but I cannot dredge up, from memory or from Google, what that line is.

If you have any notion of what I'm recollecting, let me know.
Enough with DC's comics; it's time to throw out some Marvel links:
I like to think that I'm up on my stereotyping, but having just, due to some positive reviews and a chance link, impulsively downloaded Sunday's Simpsons, I was quite surprised to hear Lisa insinuate that Ethiopian restaurants are notorious lesbian pick-up joints. You know, in all the times I've eaten in Ethiopian restaurants, I had never noticed.

I'm having quite a lot of fun with BitTorrent. It has had one unintended consequence, though: I've been so conscientious about seeding that I haven't turned off my laptop for three days. And this sucker gets hot. Last night, I ended up taking both the battery and the CD-ROM drive out and leaving the computer upside-down so it wouldn't burn out while running all night.

(Apparently, I am the sort of person who has no compunctions about violating Time Warner's copyrights, but feels painfully guilty if I do not get my share ratios up to 1.000.)

My BitTorrent binge was occasioned, by my intent to get caught up with Justice League, and I can for once claim that I've seen every episode factored into the arc of Sunday's "The Doomsday Sanction." Watching the watchmen? It seems the government has just finally cottoned on that Superman is a dick. (Via Avedon Carol. Several of these covers have been bouncing around the internet for a while, but isolated, individual, they lack a certain cumulative force. I could not stop laughing during the run of eight classic Batmans starting here, but my absolute favorite must be this.)
I still haven't found a copy of Superman: Red Son, but this looks like it will do nicely instead:
He is an icon of all-American heroism - but yesterday it was revealed that Superman is set to quit the US for a West seaside resort. Weston-super-Mare, more famous for its donkeys than costumed crime-fighting, will replace the US mid-West as the place where the Man of Steel's spaceship crashes on Earth in an official comic.

Co-written by Weston-born Monty Python legend John Cleese, Superman: True Brit, is a tongue-in-cheek look at how the tights-clad hero may have developed had he grown up in the UK.

The youngster is discovered near the north Somerset town and adopted by the kindly Clark family, who dub him Colin and encourage him to hide his powers to avoid making too much of a scene.

Like Clark Kent in the original storyline, Colin goes on to become a newspaper reporter as his day job.

But, instead of the working for the Daily Planet, he ends up on the Daily Smear, a muck-raking British tabloid dedicated to savaging the superhero. [ . . . ]

The new Superman story comes from a collaboration between Mr Cleese and his co-author Kim Johnson.

DC Comics, the US publisher behind Superman and Batman, offered the Fawlty Towers star a chance to work on a superhero story, which he accepted.

Mr Johnson said that Superman was chosen because he was one of the few costumed heroes Cleese knew.

"It seemed like having Superman land in Weston-super-Mare was a good start."

Superman: True Brit is due to be published in hardback in late November
ETA: And while I'm in the DC universe, when I said that Justice League Unlimited had ripped off "Soul Purpose," I was kidding, but tonight's episode ("The Greatest Story Never Told") was much less an homage to Rosencranz And Guildenstern Are Dead and much more a complete steal of "The Zeppo." Still, if you're going to pass off Buffy episodes as your own, make sure to pass off the best.
I did not mean to give the impression in my last post that the women sitting behind me during North By Northwest were the only, or even the worst, people I've heard talking over movies this summer. To be sure, they annoyed me much more than the woman attending my second viewing of Spider-Man 2, whom I heard from across the theater wondering why Peter Parker didn't just move back in with Aunt May. I had, to be fair, wondered much the same thing myself, though perhaps not as loudly. But they were not nearly the irritant that the elderly lady sitting a few rows behind me during Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind was. Every ten minutes, she would bleat, "This is stupid." And then, apropos Jim Carrey, "I never liked him anyway." The same two statements, ad infinitum. I kept attempting to send the telepathic message, You're in the dollar theater on a senior discount. What do you have to lose by just walking out? Unfortunately, my telepathy is not very convincing.

I would like to take this time to affirm my belief that shooting people who talk in movie theaters is immoral. Even (though less so) if you use a silencer.
While I was poking around the Kart00 map for [ profile] masqthephlsphr's site, the most far-flung link I came across was this Brazilian weblog. We've had a few Brazilian posters at the board -- Vox Populi comes to mind. I think, but am not sure, that Filipe Rijo (or some such) was also Brazilian, and also that Filipe would better fit the demographics of "Oz," the mastermind behind the Ultimato weblog.

I do not use the word "mastermind" lightly. If you scroll down the weblog (and wait a while for the large number of graphics to load), you will come across one of the most delightful posts I have encountered on the internet. Apparently, Oz discovered this Flash-enabled South Park character generator, and then used it (with an assist from Photoshop) to generate South Park X-Men. He did Cyclops, Jean, Beast, Iceman and Wolverine. I could not resist trying a couple of my own. I'm particularly proud of how Rogue came out. )

I left a comment on Oz's blog asking if it was all right for me to make an icon using his artwork; I have not yet received permission. (Considering that mine is the only comment not in Portugese, I'm not sure how confident I should be that I'll receive an answer.) The icon has been made and uploaded. I will however hold off on using it for a few days until I've received word back from Oz.
I don't usually gakk stuff -- but then, when you come right down to it, I don't usually post -- but this bit of [ profile] ponygirl2000's is too good to pass up. Though I tend to denigrate the conspiratorial mindset, I have to admit that the possibilities of historical figures having met under strange circumstances sends my mind to some interesting spaces. The fact that Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis and Sly Stone were all in London soon after the 1970 Isle of Wight festival makes me wonder about secret recordings of late-night jam sessions. (In fact, Jimi had made tentative plans to jam with Sly on the night of September 17, but he didn't feel like going and instead died.) That the Unabomber studied math at Harvard at around the same time as Tom Lehrer was teaching there makes me reflect on the different manners in which one can release one's cynical and anti-social impulses.

Indeed, I'm not sure that Alan Moore has done anything that exotic in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld series takes a similar idea of a group of figures from history and literature banding together for adventures. From various television cartoons, I remember Al Gore's Action Rangers and Leonardo Da Vinci's Fightin' Genius Time Commandos (all good things ultimately spring from The Tick). In any case, this game of Moore and ponygirl is one I have played before. I remember wandering among the tombs in the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence thinking to myself, "Those interred here would, should the resurrection occur, make a kick-ass A-Team." Galileo would be the MacGuyver of the team; Michaelangelo (whom all the women go crazy for but he has his eyes squarely on the mission) would be the artful one; Dante (admittedly buried in Ravenna despite having one of the largest tombs in the church) would have the inside track to the post-apocalyptic landscape; and the conniving Macchiavelli (who has a bit of a complex over everyone else having such wonderful monuments while he got chucked into the floor) would be the team's wheeler and dealer. But this is not the team I want to outline today.

I once had the idea of writing a novel based on the idea that Francis Bacon, still seeking a return to royal favor, faked his death in 1626 so to be available to serve on missions for the British Crown, which he undertook with the assistance of his recent secretary, Thomas Hobbes. This would be its sequel, sort of its Forty Years After. I have decided to eschew the parameter that I can choose figures from anywhere along the space-time continuum and have focussed on Restoration Britain, though I have fudged some ages. In any case, I present the Order of the Squared Circle, Defenders of the Crown and Anti-Papist League!

The Leader: Thomas Hobbes, philosopher, traveller, garrulous arguer, suspected atheist, possibly the worst mathematician ever known. His loyalties to both the crown and to the Cromwellians were suspect; his loyalties to himself never needed any such scrutiny.

The Team: Aphra Behn, playwright and actual spy in the service of Charles II. In another age, one might say that anything a man could do she could do better, but considering the men with which I've surrounded her, one can see that that is faint praise indeed.

Peter Blood, physician and swordsman. A fictional creation of Rafael Sabatini's, made famous as the debut starring role of Errol Flynn. Might be, technically, a little young for inclusion. He distrusts the Catholic tendencies of Charles II, but is willing to defend the rights of free Englishmen up to slavery and death.

John Wilmot, The Earl of Rochester, poet, nobleman, favorite of the King. Famously dissolute. Not afraid to wield his blade, but is more cutting with his verse. Might be considered a little young for inclusion, but Dumas includes a young but clearly adult Rochester in Charles's court in 1660 in Le Vicomte.

The Recruiter: Oh, I don't know, Monk or Clarendon or someone.

Minor Villain: Christopher Wren, whose dastardly and insane plan to put London to the torch so that he can have the space to erect large buildings must be averted at great peril to our heroes.

Subsidiary Villain: Marco da Cola, from An Instance of the Fingerpost, an Italian gentleman and adventurer, curious about all things scientific. Or, just maybe, a Jesuit agent secretly trying to suborn Charles into the Catholic faith. Not easily disposed of, but really just a front for the true villain of the age, the General of the Jesuits, a man with the determination and the resources to rechart the course of history itself.

Major Villain: do I really have to say?

Hmmm. I'd have to read Pepys to really pull this off. Is it any wonder that I started dating someone whose speciality is 17th-Century English History? Saves me all that research.
1) Saw X-Men 2. Spoilers for "X-Men 2" )

2) Saw fireworks. Spoilers for 2003 Shaker Heights fireworks show )

3) Did not see relatives. Yay!

4) Did not see scroll. Damn.

5) Finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Thoughts on Harry Potter series )

6) Did not watch 1776. Did, however, listen to the Original Cast Album twice. Thought on listening to "1776" while driving through Euclid Creek Reservation )
Happy Independence Day to that small fraction of my small readership that celebrates it. I'm still not sure why the British don't take the day off to shoot off some fireworks and yell, "We're right rid of those bloody wankers!" (In my mind, all British people talk exactly like Spike in lackluster fanfic.) The Canadians could all go cook outdoors and raise a toast to not being in an even larger country.

Anyway, I'm not feeling particularly independent. While my immediate family (those providing approximately 50% of my genetic material) has decamped from Cleveland for various locales, the 25% crew seems to be breathing down my neck. My prodigal uncle is visiting my grandmother. I did not meet this uncle until my Grandfather's funeral, when I was twenty-five; we didn't really hit it off. Now, I don't really get along with very many among my extended family, but at least I know they're family. I figure that if you skip the first quarter-century of my life, I'm not obligated by "family" to sit around and pretend that you're not one of the most boring people ever. But all of this is really just an excuse to avoid my Grandmother's cooking. (You know, when you come right down to it, I'm just a little tiny ball of resentment and bitterness.)

So I'm considering escaping. Going for a long drive. Getting away from it all. Hey, Scroll! Doing anything for lunch tomorrow?

In the meantime, I'm going to celebrate this July 4th by catching X Men 2 at the local dollar theater (all shows before 6 Pm 50 cents!); reading some more Goblet of Fire; maybe, just maybe, seeing a firework or two; and finishing it all off with my annually planned but rarely executed viewing of 1776. I've got an hour before X Men.



April 2009

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