Friday, September 29, 2006

Weekly Comics to Come - October 4, 2006:
It's not a *great* week in terms of the amount of stuff I read, and I'm a little annoyed at the amount of indy stuff I've ordered that's running late (where the hell is Tim Truman's Scout TP?) and that Absolute New Frontier is shipping late as well... but there are a lot of books this week that I've either read and loved or are highly anticipating. Criminal alone makes this one of the best weeks of the year.

Criminal #1 (I don't think there's anything more I can say about how good this book is. Podcast HERE, full review HERE.)
Doctor Strange Oath #1 (Always good to see somebody trying their hand at Dr. Strange, even better when it's Brian K. Vaughan and Javier Pulido. Expecting great things.)
Irredeemable Ant-Man #1 (Kirkman's writing has been hit or miss with me, but Phil Hester's art looks great, the premise sounds like fun and the preview pages were solid)
Other Side #1 (New writer offers up a script that the pros have been praising to high heaven, and it drew in Cameron Stewart on art, and his work looks amazing on the book. Looking forward to this Vietnam tale)
Y The Last Man #50 (The reveal at last... what killed all the men?)

Agents Of Atlas #3 (Second issue was even better than the first. Parker has an interesting modern conspiracy tale using older characters, and Kirk's art looks fantastic)
Beyond #4 (One of my favorite superhero series running right now, as Dwayne McDuffie shows everybody else how it's done)
Elephantmen #3 (Beautifully illustrated science-fiction that I liked before, but like even more in mostly monthly doses instead of annual ones)
Fear Agent #8 (I'd really like a stronger story arc structure, but there's a lot to like here)
Mystery In Space #2 (First issue wasn't half bad, I'll give the second a read)
PVP #28 (More Scott Kurtz humor)
Savage Brothers #2 (Solid, funny first issue featured a new twist on the zombie genre)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Iron Man is...
Apparently, Robert Downey Jr. is the new Iron Man. I've gotta say, it wouldn't have been my first choice, but after thinking on it for a few moments, I think it's a good one. Potentially great, actually.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

You'd Think I'd Be Used to It:
Given the way comics and TV that I love routinely fail to catch on and die before I'm done with them, but it still surprises and saddens me each time. This story in the Hollywood Reporter paints a grim picture of ratings for this new season, which is one of the best I've seen in a couple years.

Mentioned as potential goners are almost everything I've enjoyed, from Smith to Kidnapped to Studio 60. Kidnapped, as a serialized drama, would be particularly annoying, although Studio 60 is the one that, if it goes, may drive me even further to just watching HBO, F/X and other cable networks that tend to let the audience grow a little more than the quick to cancel broadcast networks.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The New Fall Season - continuing evaluation:
Tonight I watched Heroes (third time total, second time watching the butchered... excuse me, edited for time... version). I liked it on third viewing, and the teaser at the end gives me great hope, but I saw some of the flaws more clearly on third viewing as well, and I really, really think the network would have been wise to give them a 2-hour timeslot to launch with, so they could show the excellent pilot I saw in San Diego. There should be more on Heroes in this week's Comic Pants podcast, unless plans change between now and tomorrow night.

Also watched Studio 60. That one has a pilot I watched five times, and I loved it more each time. The second episode didn't bowl me over continuously the way the first episode did, but it got me good at all the right moments and the final five minutes were killer. As long as Aaron Sorkin is working in television, I'll be watching it.

Was kind of annoyed with the darkness on Heroes and, to a lesser extent, Studio 60. I don't know if my TV is fading out, if NBC was broadcasting darker or if Heroes was shot too dark, but I noticed it here and didn't when I watched the online version of Heroes, so I'm suspecting it's NBC (I hope, and hope it's corrected) or my TV (I hope not, because I really can't afford to buy a new one, despite how much I want one).

EW's feature on Battlestar Galactica and the Galactica webisodes have me jonesing for the October 6 third season premiere, but of course the third season I'm most anticipating is also in that week, as Lost starts up a mini-arc before disappearing into January.

It's a good time to be a TV fan.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

TV Update - Reviews Part 2:

Pretty happy with the TV right now. Standoff had a supremely weak second show which, combined with its weak premise and misuse of a good cast and schedule conflict with The Unit and Veronica Mars, means it's killed from my viewing, even in DVD. Wouldn't surprise me if it gets the chop before midseason. Justice was also formulaic, way too predictable and yet unreal and a waste of a good cast, and it's on up against Lost, so good riddance to that one as well. Both FOX shows, by the way, which leaves me with... two FOX shows, Bones and Family Guy, both of which I might just stop watching as they're not favorites in any way. Arrested Development really was the only must-watch show in FOX's line-up, and given how kill-happy they've been with shows I love before (like Firefly), I can't say I'm sorry to more or less kiss the network goodbye for a season or two.

NBC, on the other hand, is kicking ass this season. Something about the Jim/Pam will-they/won't they teaser caught my eye, so I rented Season One and Season Two of The Office from Netflix. And it's so much better than I expected. Season Two is where everything started to gel, and it developed its own personality separate from the British version. I'm two discs in, and I've found myself watching the deleted scenes and commentaries, and considering picking up the DVD set, which is a rarity for comedies. Combine with My Name is Earl, which usually makes me laugh and is always watchable, and NBC has the only sitcoms (or half-hour shows) I'm watching.

They also have a great new slate of shows. Heroes and Kidnapped have solid pilots with a lot of potential, and Studio 60 is easily the best new show of a pretty strong new season.

I also forgot that Doctor Who is starting back up on SciFi, and while I'm not as big on that as I am on Battlestar Galactica, I liked it enough to watch it on Tivo. As for what I've watched since last update:

The Unit (CBS) - Weak opener, and it's become way too clear that unlike Shawn Ryan's other show, The Shield, this one is going to be all about maintaining status quo. There's some clumsy writing to put Jonas quickly back in the field and bring Mac and his wife back into the fold, and while there are some great turns of phrase (it's Mamet, what do you expect?), it never quite becomes exciting TV. The Unit is kind of like CSI or any of those procedural shows, slickly produced but without the heart that shows willing to take chances like Battlestar Galactica, The Shield and Lost have. I'll still watch, but only until Veronica Mars takes over the timeslot.

My Name is Earl (NBC) - Talked about this in general above, but the season opener has some very funny gags. The culmination of the show, as Earl relates the end of Joy's story with "that was my second guess" had me laughing out loud.

The Office (NBC) - Fantastic opener, again with the status quo change (however temporary) that introduces new characters, puts new spins on older ones and offers great, subtle character moments along with a ton of laugh out loud humor. Second only to It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia for half-hour comedies on the air right now. At least, of the ones I watch, because clearly it takes me some time to find sitcoms.

Shark (CBS) - The buzz on this was that it was weak and formulaic, saved only by the acting chops of James Woods. So I was pleasantly surprised by it. I mean, it is a weaker show, a procedural that probably won't hold my interest for more than a season, but it has some fun moments, and James Woods really does make it worth watching. I'd rather see him in a more interesting premise (bounty hunting with Greg Grunberg, maybe?), but I'll watch him here, as long as nothing else cuts in on the timeslot or I don't wind up with too much else to watch. It'll get cut from viewing after I cut Bones and Family Guy, at any rate.

There's been some good buzz on Jericho, but honestly, I just can't even work up the enthusiasm to watch it. If it goes more than one season, seems to be heading towards some sort of conclusion and keeps getting good buzz, I'll check it out on DVD... but I'll be surprised if that happens.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Weekly Comics to Come - September 27, 2006:

Conan Ultimate Guide To Savage Barbarian HC (Great hardcover guide to Conan. Full review HERE.)
Jack Of Fables #3 (Another great issue, this book lives up to the quality of the main Fables comic)
Losers Endgame TP (The conclusion of Diggle & Jock's great modern action book)
Ragnars Kings Of The Road (New book from artist/designer Ragnar... not entirely sure what to expect, but his art is always beautiful)
True Story Swear To God Image Ed #1 (Tom Beland relaunches his humor/romance book at Image)

American Virgin #7 (Hasn't gotten any less weird, but continues to be intriguing and beautifully drawn)
Batman #657 (Losing interest fast... kind of glad to see an Ostrander/Mandrake fill-in coming)
Batman And The Mad Monk #2 (Another solid entry in Matt Wagner's Batman miniseries)
Captain America #22 (Will Civil War kill my interest in one of the few remaining Marvel books I read? After reading CW #4, I'm gonna guess yes, and hope no)
Daredevil #89 (This one, thankfully, is mostly clear of Civil War... and has been great)
Eternals #4 (Also clear of Civil War... #3 was a dip in quality, but the rest has been very entertaining)
Invincible #35 (Still enjoying this book, for the most part)
Justice League Of America #2 (#1 had some things to recommend it... I'll read #2 as well, waiting for the other shoe to drop)
Northwest Passage #3 (Scott Chantler's two-fisted tales of Canadian history conclude!)
Previews #26.10 (Down the Line coming next week)
Secret Six #4 (Considerably weaker than Villains United, still the best substitute for new Suicide Squad that we're gonna get)
She-Hulk 2 #12 (Civil War weakening my interest in all things Marvel Universe, but I'm still enjoying this book for now)
Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #10 (Counting down until we lose Takeshi Miyazawa, unfortunately... but I'll enjoy it while I can)
Ultimates 2 #12 (Curious to see how this one wraps... probably six or eight months from now.)
Uncle Sam And The Freedom Fighters #3 (Enjoyed the first two issues, curious to see whether it will continue to entertain)
Usagi Yojimbo #97 (Always enjoyable, one of the most solidly crafted comics out there)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Weekly Comics to Come - September 20, 2006:

Dwight T Albatross The Goon Noir #1 (All-star Goon anthology starts here)
Godland Vol 2 Another Sunny Delight TP (Hooray! More Godland in trade means more Godland issues coming soon!)
Runaways #20 (I know everyone is super-excited about Whedon, but I'm mostly hoping that Vaughan gives his run on the book a good wrap-up of sorts, because I'm not entirely sold on Whedon's comics work, despite being a huge fan of his TV work)
Shadowpact #5 (Another great issue, this one is turning into a favorite of mine)
Union Jack #1 (Very solid action-packed first issue, with amazing art from Mike Perkins)

Birds Of Prey #98 (The new Batgirl mystery deepens, and it's a really interesting story)
Conan #32 (Another chapter in "Born on the Battlefield" by Busiek and Ruth)
Exiles #86 (The all-Wolverine squad vs. The Exiles... should be fun)
Lonely Heart Art Of Tara Mcpherson HC (Dark Horse does great art books, McPherson does great art)
Marvel Adventures Avengers #5 (Tony Bedard takes over writing and pits the Avengers against Loki and the Wrecker)
O.C.T.: Occult Crimes Taskforce #2 (Enjoyed the first issue, and the wait for number two has killed some of my enthusiasm, but not all of it)
Owly Plush Toy (I bought one of these for my daughter in San Diego... they're great)
Playboy Interviews The Directors TP (Playboy interviews are great, and the list of interviewees is impressive)
Walking Dead #31 (I'm kind of ready for the wrap-up of this current storyline, but that's mostly because Kirkman is really building tension)
Wetworks #1 (Not expecting a great deal here, as I'm not a huge Portacio fan, but... paramilitary dudes in armor vs. horror monsters *is* a great concept)
X-Men First Class #1 (Not a fan of Roger Cruz's art, but the writer is Jeff Parker, who does such a great job on Marvel Adventures: Avengers and Agents of Atlas)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Former Texas governor Ann Richards died today. And George W. Bush, who replaced her in an election that *still* breaks my heart to this day, is still alive.

The world ain't fair, folks.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What the fuck?
San Francisco State Arabic Professor barred from re-entering U.S. - So let me get this straight... he's teaching Arabic courses, which is more useful in the "war on terror" than the majority of the Bush Administration's crazy schemes, he's got a wife and kids in the U.S., there's no suspicion of any terror links (or you know that the State Department would be bringing it up as fast as possible)... and they ban him from re-entering the country? Without a timeline?

You know, if somebody tried to lock me out of the country where my wife and child lived, I'd go berserk.
TV Update - Reviews:

Thanks to the networks getting a lot more free about previewing their shows, I've had the chance to see a few of the shows I was excited about. So far, the season is looking pretty good:

Smith (CBS): This one is available on Google Video, and it's well worth a look. The cast is great, Ray Liotta shines on TV, and there's some nice, dark modern crime caper stuff going on. Oh, and I loved Amy Smart on Scrubs, but she's even better here as a femme fatale. It's not quite at the level of, say, Heat, or what I've seen of Brubaker & Phillips' Criminal, but it's damn good.

Studio 60 (NBC): Netflix now has available a DVD that has Studio 60 and Kidnapped, two NBC shows, on disc. It's also available as a streaming preview from AOL. I watched Studio 60 for the second time, and I'm even more convinced that it's gonna be the best new show of the season. Matthew Perry, Bradley Whitford and Amanda Peet in particular are fantastic, but there are already hints of a great ensemble in the "Big Three" (D.L. Hughley, Nate Corddry and Sarah Paulson) and there's not a weak link in the cast.

Kidnapped (NBC): This one was also a really entertaining first episode. Jeremy Sisto is quite the badass as a young retrieval specialist for hire, Delroy Lindo is cool as hell (as always) and there's some nice style, action and tension at work. There's a jump-cut editing/directing style that reminds me of Tony Scott, which I like but which might put some people off. Jason Smilovic, who wrote the first episode and is either exec producer or at least one of the producers, has a pedigree that includes Karen Sisco, so I'm inclined to keep an eye on this one.

Add in Heroes, which I've already seen and really liked, and that's four new shows that look really good, alongside Veronica Mars, Lost, and Battlestar Galactica (back in October!)... plus the strong buzz on The Nine, and that's a lot of great TV this season. Three of those new shows are NBC... I don't know what happened in development this season, but it was a good thing for that network.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Fall TV Preview 2006:
Entertainment Weekly has done theirs, so now it's time to do mine. For those who care (and I know that might be none of you), here's Randy's Fall TV Preview. All times are central, because that's my time zone.

1. Studio 60 on Sunset
2. Heroes
3. Smith
4. The Nine
5. Kidnapped

1. Studio 60 on Sunset
2. Lost
3. Heroes
4. Smith
5. Veronica Mars

Fox got a jump on new TV this year, and they've already launched several of their shows. I have Tivo'ed but not yet watched the first two episodes of Bones (7 pm Wednesdays), Tivo'ed late and not yet gotten any episodes of Justice (8 pm Wednesdays) and Tivo'ed and watched the first episode of Standoff (8 pm Tuesdays).

Bones is like CSI or Law & Order with more of a sense of humor. David Boreanaz, who made his name playing moody and morose on Angel, is surprisingly fun as the witty, relatively lighthearted FBI agent Booth, and the team of scientist "squints" he works with, headed by Dr. Temperance Brennan (played by Emily Deschanel, sister of Zooey), are quirky and entertaining to watch. The runaway supporting character is artistic, sexy, funny Angela Montenegro, played by Michaela Conlin. The episodic nature of the show, not to mention its crime procedural nature, make it unlikely to ever become a huge favorite of mine, but I always enjoy watching it, and will if there's nothing else opposite.

Justice I'm watching for the cast (Victor Garber in a starring role, plus Eamonn Walker) but probably won't watch as soon as something goes on opposite. Standoff is the same way, as it features Gina Torres and Ron Livingston. I liked the first episode, and there's good chemistry between Livingston and Rosemarie DeWitt, but as with Bones, it doesn't quite reach above solidly put together and well cast. One of those shows I'll watch as long as I don't have too much else to watch or there isn't something else on opposite.

Family Guy also starts again as of tonight at 9 pm. I always enjoy the show, although I haven't watched it for a while.

Studio 60 on Sunset (NBC, Mondays at 9, starting Sept. 18) - I've already seen this one online through the miracle of Youtube and a well-timed heads-up from Zack Smith, and I'll be very surprised if it doesn't turn out to be the best new show of the season. Take all the best of West Wing and Sportsnight, add in another amazing cast for writer/showrunner Aaron Sorkin to write for and you've got a great hourlong drama that is also hilariously funny and remarkably smart. I've already seen the pilot online, and I'm still chomping at the bit to watch it again when it finally airs.

The Unit (CBS, Tuesdays at 8, starting Sept. 19) - A military spec ops show crossed with a more serious Desperate Housewives. You'd think that a show by David Mamet and Shawn Ryan (creator of The Shield) and starring Dennis Haysbert (President Palmer of 24) would be can't miss, must-watch entertainment. But while the show is very good, and I found myself an avid follower, it's not quite the crack-addiction level of TV that The Shield or Lost are for me. I'll be watching, though, at least until Veronica Mars starts running opposite in October, at which point The Unit becomes DVD watching.

Smith (CBS, Tuesdays at 9, starting Sept. 19) - Ray Liotta as a career criminal, Virginia Madsen as his wife who doesn't know the truth, Shohreh Aghdashloo as the leader of the crew... that's amazing casting, and the buzz from those who've seen it is that it's great. Basically, it sounds like Heat: The TV series, and if done right, that could be a very good thing.

Kidnapped (NBC, Wednesdays at 8, starting Sept. 20) - The teenage son of a wealthy couple is kidnapped, and the show unfolds as a "hired gun" (played by Jeremy Sisto) and FBI agent (played by Delroy Lindo) try to get him back. Again, critical buzz is good, so I'll give this one a chance, at least until October, when it's up against Lost. At that point, if I like it, I'll watch it on my office TV or wait for DVDs.

My Name is Earl/The Office (NBC, Thursdays at 7, starting Sept. 21) - I watched Earl all of last season and, while it's no Arrested Development or Seinfeld, it does have some of the same comedic appeal and watchability of Friends at its best. I fell off watching The Office, but it's gotten so much critical love, and I did like some elements of it when I watched it, that I want to give it another chance. Especially since I'm a huge Steve Carrell fan, and I like Ed Helms, who is joining the show for 10 episodes this season.

Shark (CBS, Thursdays at 9, starting Sept. 21) - It's James Woods playing a defense attorney who has a crisis of conscience and goes to work for the prosecutor. I'm no huge fan of legal dramas in general, but the write-up in EW, not to mention the fact that it's James Woods, means I'll give it a look. The only thing running opposite that I'm even mildly interested in is Six Degrees, which has a good cast and J.J. Abrams as executive producer, but it sounds basically like a New York real-life drama, and that's not a genre I'm really interested in without some kind of twist.

Heroes (NBC, Mondays at 8, starting Sept. 25) - I saw the 72 minute version of the pilot in San Diego and thought it was really great. Saw the 52 minute (or whatever it is) that they're going to actually run on iTunes and thought it was merely good. They cut out two characters, one of whom is the great Greg Grunberg, and tightened up the story to such a degree that it feels too fast to me. A lot of the tension is gone, and I wasn't fond of the cuts made, and I think NBC would have been smarter to bite the bullet and give them a two hour or hour and a half spot for the first episode. But the other characters will show up in episode two, I'm sure, and there's still a lot to like about this well-cast, well-written and well-shot show.

Veronica Mars (CW, Tuesdays at 8, starting Oct. 3) - The series got a 13-episode pickup, and in both San Diego and print stories, there's definitely been a sense of "If we don't pick up ratings after Gilmore Girls, we're gone," but I'm hoping this will be the year the show finally catches on with a wider audience. It's smart, has a great cast and the best father/daughter relationship on television. This year it's supposed to be structured as 3 smaller mysteries, rather than one gigantic sprawling one, and that can only be a good thing. Even as a diehard fan of the show, I found some of last year's plotting a little byzantine.

Lost (ABC, Wednesdays at 8, starting Oct. 4) - The best show on television (barring The Shield, which runs off-season and thus doesn't count in this comparison) returns. I loved season two as much (if not more) than season one, can't wait to see more mysteries resolved and yet more unfold and can't wait for more great characterization, excellent writing and terrific acting.

The Nine (ABC, Wednesdays at 9, starting Oct. 4) - The buzz on this show from critics is strong, the cast is solid (including Tim Daly, Kim Raver, Scott Wolf and Chi McBride) and the premise intriguing. Basically, it takes place after a bank robbery/hostage situation, and explores nine people affected by the robbery, along with flashbacks to what happened during the situation. Interesting premise, interesting structure, good cast, critical buzz... I'm surprisingly intrigued by this one.

Act-i-Vate Wave 3

Act-i-vate Wave 3:
The cool as hell "virtual studio" Act-i-vate has added their newest members, and it's a great group. I'm a fan of Mike Dawson's since I read his Gabagool!, and I'm delighted to learn that there's more of Jason Little's creation Bee, whose adventurers were published in a terrific hardcover called Shutterbug Follies. In fact, in addition to the four pages on Act-i-vate, you can see more episodes of Bee, and several complete comics, on Jason Little's site.

And the new feature "the other muse," which started today, is fun reading as well. Act-i-vate has been impressive since the beginning, and their third wave adds another level of promising talent. Go, read. You won't be sorry.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Weekly Comics to Come - September 13, 2006:

American Born Chinese SC (I'll have a full review of this on Comic Pants soon, but if you want a review right now, you can check out what Greg McElhatton had to say. The usual excellent First Second production values on a well-crafted, fun and insightful story)
Escapists #3 (I love Vaughan's work, and I think this is my favorite thing he's writing right now. Gorgeous artwork, too)
Fables #53 (It's my favorite book. I've read this issue already, and it's another great story. Terrific 3-page backup tale with Josh Middleton art, too)
Pride Of Baghdad HC (I'm excited by this because of how excited Vaughan is about it, and because the art looks amazing. I was going to try and wait out a softcover, but it's reasonably priced for a hardcover, and I've gotten so interested in the story that I have to read it as soon as I can get my hands on it)
DMZ #11 (One-shot revealing the story of Zee, with guest art by Kristian of Supermarket fame. I've seen his pencilled artwork, and it's amazing)

Captain America #21 (The Twenty-First Century Blitz, possibly my favorite story in Brubaker's run, concludes this issue)
Casanova #4 (It's bizarre, and I'm not always entirely sure I'm following the story... but I really dig the vibe, and love the art)
Ex Machina #23 (Another interesting arc... the book reads better in trades, but it's always a great read)
Journey Into Mohawk Country SC (An illustrated account of a Dutch trader's venture into Mohawk Country... off-beat, intriguing and beautifully illustrated from First Second Books)
Making Comics SC (Re-Inventing Comics was disappointing, but Understanding Comics was amazing, so I'm onboard for McCloud's latest, at least in theory)
Phonogram #2 (First issue was... weird. But I did like the vibe enough to give the second issue a try)
Sam Noir Samurai Detective #1 (It's a great concept, I've got to see if the creators can pull it off)
Scarlet Traces The Great Game #3 (Having trouble enjoying in single issues, but I expect I'll really enjoy the collection)
Silent Ghost #1 (Mystical kung-fu comic with art by Brett Weldele, I'm curious to check this out)
Star Wars Legacy #3 (Long delay between issues, and I'm still not sold on the series... hope it picks up soon, as Ostrander/Duursema are creators I really like)
Talent #3 (Fantastic conspiracy thriller with great art by Paul Azaceta, one of the best books in Boom's impressive stable)
Wasteland #3 (Loving this book so far, can't wait to see what happens next)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Help Lea Hernandez:
This is all over the Internet. But in case you haven't seen it yet, I repost it here, because it's important that *everyone* know about it. I'm off to send some money via Paypal right now.

"Early this morning, the Texas home of award-winning writer/artist Lea Hernandez, my friend and co-creator of the graphic novel Killer Princesses, caught fire and burned. Half her house is now gone, and the rest is smoke-damaged. In addition, she lost at least six of her family’s beloved pets, two dogs and four cats. If you knew Lea, you’d know how devastating that is.

She’s lost a great deal of her family’s possessions, including irreplaceable art. She doesn’t yet know the full accounting of what’s been lost at this time.

Most know Lea as the brilliant creator of such works as Rumble Girls and Cathedral Child. She drew the Marvel Mangaverse PUNISHER book, and has drawn for TRANSMETROPOLITAN, among many other accomplishments. She is also the co-founder and original editor for GIRL-A-MATIC, one of the most important venues for female-friendly comics created to date.

She’s also my friend, and it’s entirely possible I wouldn’t have a career in comics if she hadn’t asked me to write Killer Princesses for her to draw.

And finally, Lea is one of the last great firebrand hellraisers in comics.

Lea has two (wonderful, amazing) special needs children and right now they need a place to stay and some clothes to wear. More than that, they need
some help, and fast, in the form of donations to her paypal account. Lea’s a proud person so I’m going to ask FOR her. This is important, and a great chance to do a wonderful thing for a creator who has consistently enriched this industry we all love so much. Please, take a moment and send WHATEVER YOU CAN to Lea’s paypal account and help make this time a little bit less painful for someone who would do the same for you if the positions were reversed.

If you’re a retailer, I ask that you set up a donations jar. If you’re a creator, I ask you to think of how devastating this would be to your career and donate what you can. If you’re a reader, I’m asking you to take a moment and hit the paypal link. You’ll be doing something heroic and you’ll feel great about it, I promise.

Read what Lea had to post on a neighbor’s computer while wearing her pajamas at:

Donate (PLEASE) to her paypal account at:

Finally, if I understand the story correctly (as told to me by Lea’s good friend and current Girl-a-matic editor), it was Lea’s daughter hearing the smoke alarm that allowed the family to get out in time, so for God’s sake, do everyone you love a favor and CHECK YOUR SMOKE ALARMS.

Thank you so much for helping. Really, any amount you can send will make a difference. That’s all I can say.

Sincerely and gratefully,

Gail Simone"

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Seriously, I love all of Vaughan's work, and I'm pleased that he seems to be leaving in order to do more creator-owned work (as opposed to, say, taking over Spectacular Spider-Man or something unworthy of his talents like that), I'll be really sad to see him leave Runaways. The replacement creative team will have to be fucking amazing...

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Blog Template Update for August
This is the latest monthly update to the left column of the blog, updating my favorite comics and TV for the previous month. The 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.

August was in some ways a bit of a down month, with some fairly sparse weeks, but there were gems in almost every week, and I found myself again having a tough time cutting down to a top 20 from a top 32 or so. As you all probably know by now, August was also the last month Fourth Rail will be updated, and the first month (or at least, the last couple days) of Comic Pants, the new comic reviewing site I'm involved with. It was also the month in which Dragon's Lair, where I work, celebrated its 20th anniversary with comic guests and more, and that was pretty busy and fun.

This month, there weren't a lot of new series launched that I found all that interesting. Monkey vs. Lemur was a fun one-shot, as was Eberron: Eye of the Wolf, and Batman and the Mad Monk and Savage Brothers were both good intros for new limited series, but I don't think any new ongoings of note launched in August. Of course, that's speaking as someone without much interest in Justice League of America or Heroes for Hire, which were definitely the two biggest launches from Marvel and DC for the month.

Lots of folks are griping about summer TV, but they must not have cable. With Entourage and Deadwood both having excellent seasons, Weeds season two starting off strong, the camp-but-fun Who Wants To Be A Superhero, solid sci-fi in USA's 4400 and regular doses of Daily Show and Colbert Report, I'm having trouble keeping up with the Tivo. That's not even mentioning the four-part special Feasting on Asphalt with Alton Brown, how addicted I've become to Travel Channel's Professional Poker Tour or the love I found for the darker, meaner Seinfeld, F/X's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Weekly Comics to Come - September 7, 2006:
That's not a typo... comics are delayed by a day this week thanks to Labor Day. That means the Wednesday Number Ones feature on Comic Pants will be a Thursday Number Ones feature instead. But don't worry, there'll be plenty of reviews before that. Anyway, another small-ish week.

Local #6 (Read a preview copy, and it's fantastic... best issue of the series so far)
Museum Of Terror Vol 2 (Not as great as Uzumaki or even Gyo, but still solid horror manga from Junji Ito)
Surrogates Vol 1 Tp (Fantastic, full-color sci-fi from Top Shelf)
Uncanny X-men #478 (The only one of my top five I haven't already read, but I'm digging on the Brubaker/Tan X-Men right now)
Y The Last Man #49 (Less than a year to go, and the story is ramping up)

Agents Of Atlas #2 (Great art, interesting story, I'm onboard for more)
American Splendor #1 (A little disappointing, but with some nice art)
Detective Comics #823 (Another done-in-one from Dini... I'm not wholly onboard, but I'm still reading)
GI Joe Scarlett Declassified (Interior art by Phil Noto + my soft spot for GI Joe = reading)
Lone Ranger #1 (I have a certain fondness for the Lone Ranger character as well)
Noble Causes #23 (A thoroughly underrated and always entertaining book)
Rush City #2 (First issue was solid action, I expect the second to be more of the same, but guest-starring Black Canary for bonus points)