Saturday, April 29, 2006

Weekly Comics to Come - May 3, 2006:

Annihilation Silver Surfer #2 (So far, enjoying this cosmic superhero epic, although I can't help but feel that it's being planned as far too long)
Exiles #80 (Focus on Blink, and a continuation of the World Tour story, which I've been enjoying)
Gotham Central Vol 3 Unresolved Targets Tp (This contains my favorite Gotham Central story of the whole series... hope the rest of the series gets collected, but even if it doesn't, this is a good enough stopping point)
Sandman Mystery Theatre Vol 4 The Scorpion Tp (At this point, it seems very likely that all of the Sandman Mystery Theatre will get into print eventually. And that's great, because I love this pulp-Vertigo offering enough to re-buy trades even though I still have all my original issues)
Y The Last Man #45 (The Japan story is shedding interesting light on Dr. Mann, and I'm realizing that there's just over a year left until the end of the story)

BPRD Universal Machine #2 (Great first issue, and this issue promises the origin of Daimio, which I'm very much looking forward to)
Civil War #1 (I'd really like to be wrong, but I suspect I'm going to hate this with a passion. But I do at least want to read it and give it a fair shot)
Concrete The Human Dilemma Tp (I'm two volumes behind on reading Concrete, but I'll still be picking this up, because it is a great series)
Detective Comics #819 (Not as hyped as I originally was for Robinson's back to basics Batman, but it's still good reading)
Eden: It's An Endless World Vol 3 (This post-apocalyptic action manga has been really good so far, with gorgeous art)
Fear The Dead Zombie Survivors Journal (Zombie pinups by a variety of great artists from Boom! Sounds fun)
Infinite Crisis #7 (Totally not my thing, but I've enjoyed it enough to keep reading... and enough to be interested in 52)
Joe Lansdales Drive In Vol 2 #1 (Lansdale's weird Texas horror series adapted well to comics the first go-round, I'm curious to see what more he's gonna do with it)
Marshal #1 (Original sci-fi concept from Dabel Brothers. Art looks great, but all their series have seemed a bit wordy and clunky to me so far)
Middleman Vol 2 #3 (Last issue was a bit weak, but because I've liked the rest of the series so much, I'll give it another chance)
Mouse Guard #2 (Great first issue, this looks like one of the few indy buzz hits of the moment)
Noble Boy One Shot (Scott Morse's painted story about Maurice Noble, animation pioneer and his mentor. More Morse painted goodness is always welcome)
Robotika #3 (Beautiful art, interesting setting... Archaia Studios has got an impressive line-up)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Fajita Warehouse:
Tonight Suzanne, Katy, my parents and I went to Fajita Warehouse, a Tex-Mex restaurant in North Austin. The menu, which you can see on their website, looked good, offering traditional chicken and beef fajitas as well as more exotic offerings like shrimp, blackened chicken, pulled pork and brisket.

Turns out it was not merely good, it was fantastic. Easily the best fajitas I've had in a good long time, and the variety of flavors really made a difference. We got the family style, which means you pay in the neighborhood of $40 (counting tax) for up to four different meats (beef, shrimp, blackened chicken and pulled pork in our case), as well as beans (refried, black or charro, and everyone ordering gets a choice), rice, tortillas, fixins and four different sauces (BBQ, Chimichurri, an avocado-mango salsa and a corn/roasted pepper salsa).

I ate four of those bad boys, one of each flavor, and each one was delicious. The beef was tender and flavorful, and went really well with the green Chimichurri sauce. I have no idea what's in chimichurri, but whatever it is... me likey! I had the blackened chicken with just cheese and sauteed onions, and that was quite tasty. And I had the shrimp the same way, and it was delicious as well. Probably my favorite, though (although it's a close call with all the others) was the pulled pork, which was delicious with some of the tangy BBQ sauce but also tasted just fine with the carribean spices they flavored it with alone. These fajitas filled up four adults with a pretty hefty appetite with no problem, which was almost a shame given a dessert menu that includes fried ice cream, tres leches, cheesecake and plenty more. Just as all the fajita offerings sounded good, so to did the desserts.

Nate, I know you read this blog and have a love of eating dinner out. Trust me, this place is close to your neck of the woods (up on 620 and Lakeline), and is well worth the trip. Anyone else reading in Austin, I highly recommend a trip down to Fajita Warehouse as well.
New House Day!:
We close on the new house in just over 11 hours, as I write this. Which means I'm going to bed as soon as I finish writing it.

I'm not going to fully believe it until I have signed all the papers and hold the keys in my hands, but things are looking very good at this point, and hopefully I will have a new address as of tomorrow! Then the moving begins. The long, painful process of moving. And the three or four days with no cable, internet or phone (save cellphone) at home.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I am not generally a huge believer that petitions do any good. But I am also of the opinion that we need to speak out, because the government continues to move at appalling speed when it comes to selling us all out to corporate interests.

So I give you this. If you're in the United States and reading this right now, I can pretty much guarantee you want to go and sign this petition. Unless you own a lot of AT&T stock or something.

Do you buy books online, use Google, or download to an Ipod? These activities will be hurt if Congress passes a radical law that gives giant corporations more control over the Internet.

Internet providers like AT&T and Verizon are lobbying Congress hard to gut Network Neutrality, the Internet's First Amendment. Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which websites open most easily for you based on which site pays AT&T more. doesn't have to outbid Barnes & Noble for the right to work more properly on your computer.

Politicians don't think we are paying attention to this issue. Many of them take campaign checks from big telecom companies and are on the verge of selling out to people like AT&T's CEO, who openly says, 'The internet can't be free.'

The free and open Internet is under siege--can you sign this petition letting your member of Congress know you support preserving Network Neutrality? Click here:

A list of all the ways you might be affected by Net Neutrality is located on the bottom of this link:

Sunday, April 23, 2006

This is So Fucking Awesome:
Pirate Baby's Cabana Battle Street Fight 2006: Paul Robertson's Pirate Baby's Cabana Battle Street Fight 2006 is a masterpiece animation based on the graphic look and feel of platform handhelds.

Features the cast of Predator, Christopher Walken and more zombies than you can shake a stick at. Fans of Scott Pilgrim, in particular, ought to dig the videogame vibe of this short (well, 12 minute) animated flick.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Weekly Comics to Come - April 26, 2006:

Godland #10 (Finally caught up on the last four issues, and it's still great)
Invincible #31 (Fun, glad that the main character is back on Earth... still wish the book's schedule was more consistent)
Moms Cancer Hc (One of the best comics of the year... no kidding. Review HERE)

Batman #652 (Robinson's Batman tale continues to be a standout amongst the mostly disappointing OYL crop)
Catwoman #54 (First issue was solid... like Robin, I'm not convinced Catwoman should have her own solo book, but I'm back to reading it, at least)
Checkmate #1 (I really would like to enjoy this, but I think Rucka's superhero sensibilities are so different that I'm instead going to view it as him destroying more characters that I like with "realism")
Crisis Aftermath The Battle For Bludhaven #2 (Many hated the first issue, and truthfully, I can see why... but I'm more intrigued than I thought I'd be)
Daughters Of The Dragon #4 (Now that I know it's a lead-up to a Heroes For Hire series that doesn't hold a lot of interest, I'm not as enthusiastic... but I have been mostly enjoying this book)
Polly & The Pirates #5 (Terrific... possibly even better than Courtney Crumrin)
Previews Vol XVI #5 (With moving and a vacation, I'm not sure I'll have time for Down the Line this month... but we'll see)
Runaways #15 (Still digging Runaways, nervous that Civil War might put an end to that)
Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #5 (There's a simple charm to this book, and an excellence of craft, that makes it a must-read. I don't really look forward to it, but I do love reading it)
Thing #6 (This one I look forward to and dearly love, and I'm afraid that it's doomed)
Usagi Yojimbo #93 (Almost a hundred issues, no big meta-plot, and still remarkably readable and entertaining)
Villains United Infinite Crisis Special (Gail Simone might be my favorite writer at DC right now. Looking forward to more of her Secret Society of Supervillains and Secret Six stories)
Wings Gn (One review compared this little graphic novel about a dog with wings to Owly... if it's half that good, it'll be well worth the price)
X-Factor #6 (Easily the best X-Men book there is. Of course, given that 95% of them are more or less unreadable to me, that's not saying a lot... but it's an enjoyable book, at any rate)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Battle Royale:
A little while back, inspired by some tenuous connection my mind made between Kill Bill Vol. 1 (which I really enjoyed) and Battle Royale (which I heard good things about), I put Battle Royale on my Netflix list. I watched it, and thought it was OK, but not as mind-blowing as everyone was talking about. I read volume one of the manga, and thought it was interesting, but it didn't quite grab me either.

Cut to about a year later, and several of my friends are raving about the series, which just completed its run with volume 15. Two of these friends actually reviewed it for Ain't It Cool News, and their enthusiasm was infectious. I resolved to read Battle Royale soon.

Then one of my other friends at work decided to go ahead and read it. And so I just decided to follow along behind him, reading whatever books he had finished. I'm currently eight volumes into Battle Royale, and it's pretty incredible. Over-the-top violent, full of sex and disturbing imagery and ideas, but with some great character development and flashbacks that reminds me of the way Lost is structured. There are also some pretty spectacular art moments and martial arts and gun fights. Battle Royale is not for the weak of stomach, but it is a fascinating read, and I've been as engaged by this series as any long-form Vertigo book, at least.

Oh, and while I'm offering up things I've read that I haven't talked about in my weekly updates... I read Black Coat from APE Entertainment this week, and it was great. Pulp action in the revolutionary war timeframe with a supernatural twist, with gorgeous black and white art. APE has also nabbed Athena Voltaire, another Speakeasy book with a pulp-ish feel, and if that's the niche they're going to stake their claim on, they've got two pretty good books to do it with so far. As a fan of the pulp "genre," I'll certainly be interested.

And on yet another tangent, speaking of pulp and comics... I sure wish someone would nab the license to D&D's Eberron world. It seems like a rich world with comic-book sensibilities, and I'd love to see someone nab it and do a kickass fantasy comic in such an interesting setting. Ideally, it'd be nice to see some of the artists who worked on the Eberron books, as those things are gorgeous.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Weekly Comics to Come - April 19, 2006:

Annihilation Nova #1 (Too much revision of Nova's powers and personality for my taste, and I'm not crazy about the art... weakest of the Annihilation books so far)
Captain America #17 (I'll still hold up the Gruenwald run as my preferred Captain America, but this continues to be a great action comic)
Daredevil #84 (I don't like that Brubaker is making such sweeping changes to long-established characters on every Marvel book he's on, but I have to admit, this is a pretty great Daredevil story. Better than Bendis/Maleev at their height, actually. I really do think Brubaker and the artists on his book are capable of so much more, and Marvel is wasting them on their superhero books, but they're turning in damn good stories)
Ex Machina Special #1 (Interesting to see the story of Jack Pherson, The Great Machine's arch-enemy... more superhero-y than usual Ex Machina, but the guest art by Chris Sprouse is a smooth segue from Harris's work)
Manhunter #21 (Good issue, lots going on... not sure I like Kate becoming a defense attorney instead of a prosecutor, though)

Big Max #1 (Actually, this, not Thunder Monkey (as I reported last week) is Dan Slott's creator-owned book)
Birds Of Prey #93 (Always enjoying Gail's take on these characters)
Conan #27 (Truthfully? I'm getting a little bored, and think I might have had my Conan fill. But it's still a good book)
Goon #17 (Always great book that I buy in trades but read in issues)
Naoki Urasawas Monster Vol 2 (Finally got around to reading the first volume, and it was a promising setup. Looking forward to seeing where the story goes from here)
Queen & Country Declassified Vol 2 Tp (I gave up reading both Declassified series in issues because of the scheduling)
Queen & Country Declassified Vol 3 Tp (Glad to get a chance to read them both collected now)
Robin #149 (First issue of this was surprisingly solid, especially given that I don't think Robin should have a solo title and don't much like the new costume)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

If I Were Rich:
I would totally buy this.

James Jean is an art god.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Weekly Comics to Come - April 12, 2006:

American Virgin #2 (Good second issue, probably my second-favorite new Vertigo book)
Annihilation Super Skrull #1 (Pretty damn good, actually. Plenty of action, good art and an interesting take on the Super-Skrull. Annihilation harkens back to the best of Jim Starlin and Mark Gruenwald, so far)
DMZ #6 (This would be my favorite new Vertigo book, although it's still a bit uneven when compared to Wood's Local and Supermarket, both of which are excellent)
Exiles #79 (World Tour continues to be a lot of fun)
Fables #48 (The return of Bigby Wolf? Maybe, at any rate this shows Mowgli tracking him down and is, as always, a fantastic issue)
Young Avengers Vol 1 Sidekicks Tp (Still holding out to see how the first series wraps before I decide to buy... but right now I'm leaning towards yes)

Bakers Do These Toys Belong Somewhere HC (More family humor from master cartoonist Kyle Baker! Must-have!)
Batman Year One Hundred #3 (It's not as good as 100%, but it's fun Paul Pope future Batman)
BPRD Universal Machine #1 (I love what this team is doing with BPRD, and Guy Davis is an amazing artist)
Firestorm The Nuclear Man #24 (Solid first OYL issue, I'll keep checking in with it)
Hellboy Vol 6 Strange Places TP (Honestly, I'm not entirely sure I read Conqueror Worm... but I'll probably pick this up at some point)
Noble Causes #19 (Ever since the Blackthornes were introduced, this book has had my firm attention)
Tourist Gn (New Brian Wood graphic novel... and only $10!)
Warren Ellis Black Gas #2 (First issue of Ellis's zombie book was pretty decent)
Feeling Better:
Ahhhh. Those who have been following my blog may have noticed that the last few days have been a bit stressful, but today was a big relief. Why? Well:

1. The weekend, and the chance to run my new and much-enjoyed Eberron game, is fast approaching.

2. We got a call from the bank and got our loan locked in and taken care of. Not only does this assure me that I'll be able to buy the house, the payments sound like they're right in the ballpark of what we're paying now. Which means that both short-term and long-term, the financial situation is under control.

3. Short-term, I'm doing very well with the eBay auctions and that'll help tide over the cashflow until we sell the house, at which point I'll be able to use some money to pay for the San Diego vacation in July. Still need to figure out the hotel situation, though.

The last batch of Ebay auctions should be going up sometime this weekend. I'll update the links on Fourth Rail, but here's a preview of the final batch:

X-Factor #92, 94-104, Annual #8 (The post Peter David era, still featuring Havok, Strong Guy and company, but written by Scott Lobdell & J.M. DeMatteis... the annual has one story by Peter David, though, and #92 has early art by Joe Quesada)

Web of Spider-Man #6, 17-18, 43-50, 59-61, 90, Annuals #2, 4 and 8 (Random Spidey issues bought for crossovers (Secret Wars II, Inferno, Acts of Vengeance) or events that got my attention. Writers vary, but include Gerry Conway, David Michelinie and Peter David)

Superboy and the Ravers #1-7 & Supergirl (miniseries) #1-4 (Artifacts of my late '90s Superman completism, Superboy and the Ravers is a teen team title by Karl Kesel with art by Paul Pelletier, and the Supergirl miniseries is by Roger Stern and features her breaking with her then-lover Lex Luthor when she finds out what he really is)

WildC.A.T.s #5-8, 10-13, Sourcebook (The early Jim Lee drawn and written WildC.A.T.s, several issues written by Chris Claremont)

Wildcats #1-3, 14-21 (Wildstorm Wildcats series, first three by Scott Lobdell and Travis Charest, the rest by Joe Casey and Sean Phillips, last two have art by Steve Dillon)

X-Force #1-36, Annuals #-2 and '99 (OK, yeah, I went through a Liefeld phase like so many others. Anyway, this has five copies of #1 (sans trading cards, although I could probably dig 'em up if you wanted em), plus all the Liefeld-drawn issues and then the book when it went to Fabian Nicieza and Greg Capullo)

Poison Elves #1-63, Overstreet Fan Edition, Lusiphur & Lirilith #1 (Gigantic collection of Drew Hayes' dark fantasy creator-owned series. Early issues apparently quite valuable.)

Power of Shazam! #1-47, One Million, Annual #1 (Complete series, the Jerry Ordway mid-'90s run on Captain Marvel, with gorgeous painted covers and a two-part crossover with Starman late in the run)

Punisher War Zone #12-16, Punisher War Journal #1, 12-13 (A few Punisher issues by Chuck Dixon, John Romita Jr. and first Jim Lee art)

Robin: Year One #1-4 (Prestige format miniseries by Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty, Javier Pulido)

Rogue #1-4 ('90s miniseries with art by Mike Wieringo)

Ruins #1 (First issue of a Warren Ellis penned mini-series that is sort of his dark, sick, funny take on Marvels. Weirdly, Marvel never reprinted this, despite demand. This is a duplicate issue, sadly I don't have a duplicate of #2 and I don't want to part with my only copy)

Squee! #1-4 (Jhonen Vasquez's other dark funny miniseries, all first prints, all in NM condition)

Star Wars Republic #1-16, Tales of the Jedi #1-6, Tales of the Jedi: Freedon Nadd Uprising #1-2, Dark Lords of the Sith #1-6, Episode I prequels: Anakin, Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, Queen Amidala, Bounty Hunters: Aurra Sing, Star Wars Tales #1-2 (Includes the Old Republic era Tales of the Jedi miniseries, and then the relaunch of the Dark Horse Star Wars books in time for the prequels. The first sixteen issues of Republic, specials on the Episode I main characters that told new stories and the first two issues of the Star Wars Tales anthology)

Star Wars Dark Empire #1-6 (First Dark Horse Star Wars comic, sequel to the original movies)

Strangers in Paradise #1-3 (Antarctic Gold Series reprints), #1-13 (Volume 2), #1-8 (Image run, color), #9-22, 24-25, 31-39, Paradise Too! #1, Lyrics & Poems issue (Early run of Terry Moore's humor/drama indie opus, including gold logo reprints of the rare Antarctic issues. The first two Antarctic issues are autographed by Terry Moore, and the early Abstract issues are pretty valuable)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Hey, my friend's a writer!:
One of my good friends is Nate Southard, author of such graphic novels as Drive (driving, shooting, corrupt cops and mullets) and A Trip to Rundberg (like Dawn of the Dead, but with more rednecks). He also writes prose, and he's just gotten his work published in an anthology.

His short story "Rain Against My Window" is now appearing in the horror and fantasy anthology Gods and Monsters. Nate says "It's my first anthology appearance, and I'm pretty damn proud of it."

So if anybody wants to check it out, you can can go HERE
and order one.
Daylight Savings Time is fucking with me:
I actually love Daylight Savings Time. It gets warmer, and it stays light out until almost 9:00? Great barbecuing weather, and there's plenty of time to play outside with Katy, which makes her happy. Can't be mad at that.

But... my whole internal clock has been thrown out of whack. It's 2:20 and my body still thinks it's about 1:30, and that means I shouldn't be in bed yet, even though I've been up for the same amount of time. Which is fine, except that I really need more sleep right now, because when I'm not rested, I worry more, and I've got too much to worry about right now.

I wish I had a fast forward button so I could just kind of skip ahead and see where everything winds up in a couple months. See, we're in the process of buying a house, and everything is going more or less fine, but anyone who has ever bought a house knows what a pain in the ass the process is. There's the loan, the money down, the inspection, the repairs you want to do before you move in and of course selling the old house so the money works out. We got approved for a loan early on, got money down on-loan from Suzanne's very generous parents and the inspection was mostly OK, albeit a little nerve-wracking when you see what's wrong with a 30-year-old house (we're selling one that's 50 years old... I'm terrified about what our potential buyers will find and want us to fix).

Except... today we were told that what we'd worked out about the loan wasn't exactly the case, and now we need to sell the old house before we buy the new one. Which would be a neat trick, since we close on the new house in about three weeks and haven't even put the old one on the market yet. It's sure as hell not clean enough to show right now, as my office, and plenty of other rooms in the house, are cluttered as hell with my stuff. So now we have to try and figure out a way around, and though it looks like that's being taken care of, it's another thing to worry about.

Other things I'm worrying about: No more Grande, back to Time Warner (and I liked having Grande). Reconnecting gas and electric, always a pain. Moving furniture and paying movers. Packing. Changing home insurance to the new house. Changing addresses with everybody who sends me mail. What if no one buys our house? How much is the new carpet going to cost in the new house? How much are the monthly payments going to be? And on and on, a million tiny anxieties just nagging at my brain at all hours. Worse when it's night-time, and then they keep me from sleeping, which is all even easier when my brain is convinced I should be awake anyway.

Long term, I really do think everything will be OK. New house that we really like, money for savings and home improvement when we sell our house... but in the short term, the worry is driving me nuts. The timing could be better, too, as I'm also worried about comic trivia (coming up on April 22nd), and I'll probably be remarkably stressed for both my birthday (April 17th) and our vacation in Port Aransas in May.
How I Feel Some Days:

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Ah, the nightmares of moving. Packing. Loading. All the various and sundry things that go into moving, on top of the stress of buying one house and selling the other. And... finding out that doesn't offer service to our new house, so we've got to switch back to Time Warner.

Which means that I'm going to go ahead and switch this over to In fact, if you go there right now, you'll see this very same blog, down to the last detail (as long as I can figure out how to make the archives work right.) My preference would honestly be to just let this blog lapse and put it all onto Myspace, since I'm duplicating blog entries there, but you have to be a member to read a Myspace blog, and I don't want to force any of my readers into signing up for something they don't want.

So this is the last post at the address, go to to see the updated blog.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Dave's Longbox:
All of you who enjoyed my recent CHASE retro article should go take a look HERE, at Dave's Longbox, where he reviews EL DIABLO #1, which has a lot in common with CHASE in that most people could tell it was going to be cancelled even when it launched.

Oh hell, just go to Dave's Longbox and look around, whether you enjoyed the CHASE article or not. Heidi linked to this blog a few days ago, and Dave's sense of humor, writing style and choice of subject matter have filled the Fanboy Rampage sized hole in my heart.
Ebay Time!:
Not quite as good as Hammer Time or Peanut Butter Jelly Time, but... it's time for me to finally get around to selling off some more comics, games and other stuff from the house before I wind up having to pack it up, move it to the other house, unpack it... and *then* sell it.

I'll no doubt be adding more as the weeks go on, but right now I've got 9 lots of comics, a lot of D&D 3rd Edition stuff and (the big one) I've finally decided to part with my beloved Talisman 2nd Edition game. You can find links to all these auctions HERE.