Friday, June 30, 2006

I'm Going:
For a few months now, I've been going back and forth on San Diego. When I realized that we were going to sell the house and that meant actually having the money to attend San Diego without dipping into savings as usual, it was way past time to find a hotel room. When I asked around, most of my friends that I hang out with weren't going, so I didn't have anyone who I could hang around with for most of the weekend. This, plus my general disinterest in a lot of the mainstream comics right now, led me to decide that, much as I feared I might regret it, I thought I'd skip San Diego for the first time in eight years.

Little things have been chipping away at me ever since. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse announcing on the Lost podcast that they were going to have a big Lost panel in San Diego. Finding out they're going to show the Heroes pilot in San Diego. Hearing about cool sketchbooks from guys like Steve Rude, or a new book release (and book release party) from Steve Lafler. And so I kept checking the hotel site for the Con, and kept coming up empty. Nobody had Wednesday - Saturday. I called a couple hotels about waiting lists, and the answers I got weren't optimistic. I had no idea what the trolley/bus routes were like, so I couldn't look too far afield for alternate hotels.

I had pretty much decided, as of a couple days ago, that I wasn't going. I'll save the money, I figured, for the massive flow of books coming out in July, feel less guilty spending that money for a while. And then. My pro registration packet came in the mail, reminding me that I was pretty much registered and good to go. Final straw, I checked one more time, and found that the Holiday Inn on the Bay (my hotel of choice) had Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday free. No Friday. So... I decided to gamble. I booked those nights, and booked my flight, and started making dinner and other friendly meet-up arrangements. I have nowhere to stay on Friday, but I'm hoping for one of three things:

1) Ideally, the Holiday Inn will have a room open up and I can just extend my stay there

2) Some kind soul will let me split a room with them on Friday night in exchange for me chipping on the room rate for the night

3) Worst case, I grab my bags and a taxi a little deeper into San Diego and get a room at a Motel 6 or something several miles away, then catch another cab back early Saturday morning. Sounds like a giant pain in the ass, but I've decided it's worth it.

So I guess I'll see some of you in San Diego. If you've got any party invites, bar drink-ups, feel like grabbing dinner or inviting me in to an already-established group dinners, please drop me a line. This is the first time I'm in San Diego without roommates at all, and I do have a slight fear that I'm going to wind up eating dinner alone most nights. Which I can handle, especially as it still means good seafood, but since the after-Con discussions and casual chats are a big part of San Diego for me, I'm hoping won't be the case.
Weekly Comics to Come - July 6, 2006:

Beyond #1 (Interesting start, with a surprise cliffhanger raising more than a few questions. Hope folks give this one a chance)
BPRD The Black Flame TP (Glad to see more of the BPRD in trade... one of my favorite series)
Essential OHOTMU Deluxe Vol. 3 TP (This has also been a terrific use of the format)
Fables Vol 7 Arabian Nights And Days TP (One of the best Fables stories in a long line of them... looks like a good week for trades)
Invincible Vol 2 Ultimate Coll HC (Finally! I'm off and on with this book, but these deluxe hardcovers are super-swanky)
Marvel Westerns Kid Colt And Arizona Girl (Fun lead story with a Marvel-centric twist... maybe I'll wind up picking up the Marvel Westerns collection)
Occult Crimes Taskforce #1 (Secret NYPD unit protects and serves from magical threats. Surprisingly good, with nice photo-real art)
Uncanny X-Men #475 (Not bad. Tan's art is passable, although I'm not crazy about his '90s Image tendencies, and I don't really like all the recent continuity bits being referred to, but despite a number of minor complaints, I have to say it's a solid first issue)

BPRD Universal Machine #4 (Continuing the quest to return Roger to the land of the living, among other things)
Conan & The Songs Of The Dead #1 (Lansdale and Truman, together again, and on Conan... sounds good)
Dark Horse Twenty Years (25 cents for an all-star lineup on Dark Horse characters)
Death Jr Vol 2 #1 (First series was great, expecting good things from the second one)
Detective Comics #821 (Paul Dini's run on the character begins)
Devi #1 (Curious to check out the Virgin comics line-up)
Flight Vol 3 TP (Loved the first two volumes of this color anthology)
Goon #18 (Always enjoyable)
Hack Slash Hard Slice (25 cents to sample a fun, original concept... worth a look)
Old Boy Vol 1 (Haven't seen the movie, but I've heard good things, I'll check this out at some point)
Rising Stars Of Manga Vol 6 (The Rising Stars of Manga I've read had some good stories in it)
Secret Six #2 (Running late, and the first issue was only so-so, but it's Simone, so I'll still be checking it out)
Talent #2 (This had a good opener, curious to see where they go from here)
Thing #8 (Final issue. *sniff* But it's a big 'ol Texas Hold 'Em game in the Marvel Universe by Dan Slott, three of my favorite things)
Transformers Evolutions Hearts Of Steel #1 (Transformers in the Old West by Chuck Dixon... should be entertaining)
Y The Last Man #47 (Always great)

Monday, June 26, 2006

John Byrne is an Asshole - Exhibit, oh let's call it 1,073:
If you want to see arrogance and pettiness at its worst, check out this thread at the Byrne board about Lost Girls. It starts off with my friend, Dave Farabee being called a total asshole by John Byrne for wanting to read a book.

It ends when Byrne can't handle even a debate completely overrun by his fanatical idiot fans (like Joe Zhang) and closes the thread, saying it made him feel like it wasted 30 years of his life.

It's funny, Dave and I have debated Lost Girls, and I've been more or less on the opposite side of the fence from him, uninterested and even wary about the book... but seeing who that lumps me in with, I now find myself wanting to read it, and even champion it to others.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Weekly Comics to Come - June 28, 2006:

Daredevil #86 (Prison riots, a moral choice for Daredevil, Bullseye in action... another solid issue)
Exiles #83 (Interesting epilogue to World Tour, but atrocious-looking art)
Pvp #27 (Miranda and Max, Sensitivity training, gold farming... good issue)
Runaways #17 (The "death" is in here, but I'm still holding out hope it's a fakeout)
Sidekick #1 (Actually pretty funny, with nice art by Chris Moreno)
Solo #11 (Sergio Aragones!)
Invincible #33 (Well, *that's* an interesting plot twist. Congratulations, Kirkman, you've recaptured my interest in this book again)
Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #7 (I missed Miyazawa's art, and the flashback was weaker than usual, but this is still a really good book)

Batman #654 (The conclusion of Robinson's story arc, I'm curious to see where all the answers lie)
Kat & Mouse Vol 1 (Alex de Campi's all-ages manga)
Leading Man #1 (Spy action, and Oni's first full-color book in a long, long time)
Love The Way You Love #1 (Romance comics by Jamie S. Rich, who knows how to write the genre)
Mail Order Ninja Vol 1 (Dug the short that introduced this humorous concept, hope the full manga is as good)
Polly & The Pirates #6 (Polly's first adventure concludes! As good as Courtney Crumrin)
Previews Vol XVI #7 (Should have a Down the Line this month)
Southland Tales Bk 1 Two Roads Diverge (The movie supposedly is a stinker, but I'm still curious to check out the graphic novels)
Superman Returns Lois Lane (Why? What was wrong with her? Sorry, the titles still crack me up)
Usagi Yojimbo #94 (Always good, usually great)
Virgin Comics #0 (Curious to check these out)
Wet Moon Vol 2 Unseen Feet Gn (Really enjoyed the first issue of this gothy, creepy story with amazing art)
Young Avengers #12 (Finally! Now all I need is a good solid ending and an oversized hardcover collecting all 12 issues)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Weekly Comics to Come - June 21, 2006:

This looks like a spectacularly good week. Two trades I've been anxiously anticipating, several once-in-a-blue-moon series are releasing issues and a lot of my favorites in the mix, not to mention a number of first issues with great potential.

Amazing Joy Buzzards Vol 2 Tp (Fun, great art, I've really missed seeing new issues. Hope this isn't the last we see of this book)
Annihilation Nova #3 (Still hoping Drax's annoying teen sidekick gets fried, but in every other way, this is now the best of the Annihilation books. Quasar and Nova both get to be badasses while still acting like superheroes, the action is on a big scale and the art is solid)
Captain America #19 (Good art, good storytelling, I can't help but enjoy this book. Though I'd actually *buy* it if it were SHIELD, instead of Captain America, who doesn't feel at home in this morally-compromised, more real espionage world Brubaker is writing)
Ex Machina #21 (This is my least favorite of Vaughan's books, which still makes it one of the best books published today)
Fear Agent Vol 1 Reignition Tp (Given the unfinished nature of the story, this seems a weird stopping point for a trade)
Marvel Adventures Avengers #2 (The Leader seems like a great Avengers foe... surprised it took this long to really see it. It says something about Marvel or me (probably both) that this is probably going to be my favorite Marvel book for the week. See, Bendis, *this* is how you make Wolverine in the Avengers work!)

110 Per Cent Gn (Tony Consiglio's full graphic novel for Top Shelf)
All Star Superman #4 (Long wait between issues, but each one is a delight, worth the wait)
Birds Of Prey #95 (More of my favorite DC superhero book)
Casanova #1 (Been looking forward to this Fraction/Ba action/sci-fi comic for a while)
Conan #29 (The Mike Mignola-written issues begin)
Eternals #1 (Neil Gaiman/John Romita Jr... looks potentially interesting)
Fallen Angel #6 (Just barely still reading this book... I need a different artist)
Flash The Fastest Man Alive #1 (The success of Wonder Woman #1 has me more excited to read this one)
Giant Size Hulk #1 (Worth noting that this reprints Hulk: The End)
Love And Capes #1 (The buzz on this indy superhero/romance has been good)
Love As A Foreign Language #5 (Glad to see a new volume of this cross-cultural romance book)
Manhunter #23 (Stay of execution is great, more trades would be even better)
Marvel Westerns Outlaw Files (I'll probably pick this up, if only because it's such a weird project... Marvel Universe for cowboys!)
Naoki Urasawas Monster Vol 3 (Liking this, not loving it... needs to hook me fast for me to stay onboard for a long mega-volume series)
Noble Causes #21 (Wow, new issue right on top of the most recent one after a period of missing issues... is this the new Image version of lateness?)
Shadowpact #2 (First issue was solid and fun, looking forward to seeing more)
Star Wars Legacy #1 (Tons of great background info in the #0, glad to see this coming out so soon)
Star Wars Rebellion #3 (Pretty fun so far, a nice extension of Star Wars: Empire)
Superman Returns Lex Luthor (No new info in any of the one-shots yet, but solid stories in every one)
Ultimates 2 #11 (Like All-Star, a long wait... unlike All-Star, I don't particularly look forward to it... but I am reading it again)
X Isle #1 (Boom! has made a ton of TV/movie-worthy new comics of late)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Weekly Comics to Come - June 14, 2006:

American Virgin #4 (Continues to be entertaining, full of surprises and great art)
Annihilation Super Skrull #3 (I'm sort of lukewarm on most of the Annihilation books at this point, but they're solid B- books)
Marvel Westerns Two Gun Kid (Very entertaining short story that ties into modern She-Hulk continuity, hope it's collected in the She-Hulk trades as a result)
She-Hulk Vol 3 Time Trials Tp (I wasn't entirely sure I was going to buy this, based on Civil War driving me from Marvel, but I think I'll pick it up, based on how much I liked this story and the Two-Gun Kid book this week... this may be the last She-Hulk trade I buy, however)

Aliens Predator Panel To Panel Tp (The Star Wars Panel-to-Panel was a great look at why Dark Horse are the go-to guys for licensing, this one will probably be a visual treat for Aliens and Predator fans)
DMZ #8 (The latest story arc is probably the strongest the book has been)
Ex Machina Special #2 (The flashback tale of Mitchell's superhero days continues... or concludes, I can't remember which)
Exiles #82 (Still digging the World Tour story)
Fables #50 (Wow, great week... three Vertigo books, including my favorite current ongoing series)
Fear Agent #5 (Shame to lose Moore on art, but Opena seems a good replacement, and the book is still blue-collar sci-fi fun)
Superman Returns Ma Kent (I liked the first one-shot, and I'm interested in this one... but the title makes it sound like Superman stole Ma Kent)
Supermarket #3 (Fantastic sci-fi/dark comedy/crime/action series by Wood and artist Kristian)
The Drowners Tp (I've heard a lot about Nabiel Kanan, might be time to try his stuff out)
Ursa Minors #1 (Warriors in armored bear suits... now *that's* a high concept)

Monday, June 05, 2006

This May Have Been Posted Before...
But I don't remember reading them, and they're hilarious. Twisted Toyfare style takedowns of Avengers Disassembled, MK Spider-Man, House of M and more

Friday, June 02, 2006

Weekly Comics to Come - June 8, 2006:

There was absolutely nothing in Marvel or DC First Look that interested me. And I haven't seen the Image First Looks yet.

52 Week #5 (Still reading, but the low-key writing style of the whole thing is really boring)
Action Philosophers Vol 1 Giant Sized Thing Tp (I've liked what I read of this small press book, and $7 for a trade is a great price)
Bprd Universal Machine #3 (One of my favorite titles, glad to see it given my general disappointment in comics the last few weeks)
Detective Comics #820 (The last issue of Batman stumbled with an overlong focus on Two-Face, hopefully this penultimate chapter will regain the strength of the earlier ones)
Dmz Vol 1 On The Ground Tp (I've been up and down on this book, but more up than down, and I'll definitely pick up this $10 trade)
GI Joe Declassified #1 (Larry Hama writes the origin of G.I. Joe, which still pushes my nostalgia buttons)
Grease Monkey Gn (Entertaining science-fiction that I first sampled years ago, delighted and surprised to see the trade coming out)
Hector Plasm De Mortuis One Shot (This is late, but this story of ghostbusting adventurers sounded like fun)
Invincible #32 (Looks like Kirkman is ready to fire off another spate of his continually-late books. Now if only we could get the very, very late second hardcover out)
Noble Causes #20 (Been a little while since we saw this one, but I'm still enjoying the story)
Star Wars Legacy #0 (Very much looking forward to this, an original creation in the Star Wars universe by two creators who are, frankly, more talented than it deserves, John Ostrander and Jan Duursema)
Superman Returns Krypton To Earth (Curious about this one too. I'm very much looking forward to Superman Returns)
Walking Dead #28 (I've been waiting for more of this one too... this probably means the Walking Dead hardcover will be delayed as well. Oh well, I'm sure it'll be out in time for San Diego, at least)
Wonder Woman #1 (I'm curious about this, but mostly I'm annoyed that it's another factor in why Young Avengers has been delayed)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Blog Template Update for May
This is the latest monthly update to the left column of the blog, listing my Favorite Comics of the Month, which is my counterpart to Current Favorite TV series, as well as my ten favorite graphic novel reads of the month.

A couple things of note in how I organize these things, for those who care. These listings are alphabetical, not by rank of how much I liked them in comparison. My criteria for what makes the list is when I read them, not necessarily when they were published. And each month, I'm recommending twenty things that I read in the month instead of 10 ongoing series and 5 first issues. It's less useful as a gauge of my overall tastes, but more useful as a "must-read" for the month. Oh, and graphic novels won't be listed in Favorite Comics... that's strictly for issues.

May was a bit of a lean month for comics, at least for me. I had to cheat a little to get 10 graphic novels on there (I haven't done much more than flip the pages of Uncanny X-Men Omnibus yet, but I love what I see... thanks to Brett Warnock for talking about it on his blog, as that pushed me over the edge to picking it up, and I love it so far. Well worth the $100) and there weren't really any new books that blew me away. A couple solid new entries in Talent and Secret Six, but I wasn't wowed by either one, they were just solid reads in what was mostly a sea of mediocrity. There are good books out there, but you have to do some digging to find them. And most of them aren't selling that well, as books that I am uninterested in (the majority) or outright loathe (the minority) top the sales charts and peoples' interest. I was right to quit reviewing at this point, I think. And with Civil War taking over the few Marvel books I enjoy, and my distance from DC growing each month, I may be down to Top 15 or Top 10 comics in the next couple of months.

There also won't be a Down the Line for this month. The Previews pickings were kind of slim after a couple of months of really interesting stuff, and there just wasn't enough to be worth writing up a whole column. I might throw in a "Stuff from last month" bit in next month's write-up. I presume there will be a Down the Line next month, as I've already heard of a couple books in September that sound interesting, among them the new crime book by Brubaker and Phillips.

Finally, the updates are for the month of May... June just barely started. So all my favorites will be anywhere from a week to a full month old, but these are meant to be sort of "standing" preferences anyway.