Blog Template Update for November
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.
November was an interesting month (in the Chinese curse sense of the word), but most of it is stuff I either can't or don't want to discuss publicly. So just take my word for it, various shit went down in November, but life here at Casa de Lander is generally pretty decent, if occasionally stressful. But then, what else would you expect from the holiday season? As I write this update, we're coming out of the first weekend in December and I've gotten 80% of the Christmas shopping done, which is a minor miracle itself and lets me check one thing off my constantly growing to do list. Thanksgiving was a great time with the Hardie side of the family, and Katy had a blast playing with all her cousins. Wizard World Texas was a little slow, but we had fun anyway, and I definitely see doing it as a one-day show in future years if it keeps on going. Anyway, the tree is lit and decorated and we're fully into the swing of the Christmas season here. All I need is to pop Elf into the DVD player at some point in the next couple of weeks and mix in some Christmas music to my iPod playlists and it'll be officially 'tis the season and all that.
There were first issues in November, but not many made my top 20 cut. In fact, November was generally a pretty disappointing month for comics. I still came in at over 20 when trying to pin down comics I enjoyed, but mostly it was the usual suspects, and there weren't any cool new surprises like The Killer, Other Side or Damned. Still, Star Wars Dark Times kicks off the newest Dark Horse Star Wars tale in fine fashion, Batman #659 is a good opener for the Ostrander/Mandrake art and Batman/Spirit was one of my favorite single issues of the year. Actually, November was probably Darwyn Cooke month for me, since this also saw the publication of Absolute New Frontier, which is a gorgeous, amazing hardcover.
Breakdown on publishers in my top 20 this month: I read the most of Marvel, which is weird since I tend to hate Marvel these days. But 2 of those books are Brubaker, 2 are Vaughan and the other two are out-of-continuity, an interesting MAX miniseries (Hellstorm) and one of the best all-ages reads in comics, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane. Vertigo and Image tie with four each (the return of Godlands and the move of True Story Swear To God helped bump things up for Image), DC has only three (all Batman, all more or less out of continuity - maybe Infinite Crisis and its fallout *did* suck more than Civil War. Or maybe Marvel just has more books crowding the shelves), two from Dark Horse (another Vaughan and a Star Wars book) and one from Oni Press. I'm honestly a little disturbed at how mainstream my comics reading has become (in some respects, although none of my favorites tend to hit the Diamond Top 20 or even 30)... is it me, or are the indie publishers producing less these days? Maybe they're all going straight to graphic novel, since half of my top ten graphic novels are what I'd consider indy (Oni, Gemstone, Adhouse, Top Shelf, IDW).
On the TV front, the big news is the addition of Daybreak, which I expected to like OK at best, but it's turning into one of my favorite new fall shows. Love Taye Diggs ever since Go, and he's making a pretty good run as a new action hero. The premise about a cop re-living the day, trying to work out a case, is being written and directed really well, and I'm as jazzed to watch each new installment as I usually am to watch 24. OK, maybe just one notch lower. But at any rate, 24 junkies looking for a pre-January fix should probably give this one a look, and it's worth noting that the show, at 13 episodes, is more likely to serve up a satisfying ending than long-running serials like Lost and Heroes. Both of which I'm enjoying, the former more than the latter, and I'm bummed that the big "Save the Cheerleader" episode was so lame. But the "Six Months Later" episode that followed it was pretty strong. Also uneven: Doctor Who, which has mostly been disappointing and Veronica Mars, which has mostly been good, occasionally disappointing, occasionally great. Still better than most of the shows that are making the big ratings and being championed by Entertainment Weekly, which is pissing me off more and more with their slobbery love for Grey's Anatomy and constant bashing of Studio 60, which is uneven but always smart and usually funny. The Office has also been hilarious, at its best when the merger episode happened. I'm also generally enjoying Battlestar Galactica, although that last episode (the boxing one) mostly served to remind me how little I care about boxing. Ever since they lifted off from that fantastic Caprica story, the series has been on a bit of a downward slide. Still good... but rarely great.
New links added this month were the blog for Comic Foundry, which was an online magazine for comics and will in 2007 be a new print magazine for comics. I also found, usually through links from The Beat, new artist websites for Jen Wang and Dan Hipp.