Friday, May 26, 2006

Weekly Comics to Come - June 1, 2006

Runaways #16 (Solid issue, kind of pissed that preview art in Marvel Previews may have spoiled who gets killed next issue)
Thing #7 (Dwyer's art seems kinda rushed, and Thing will probably go out on a weak note, which is too bad, because the writing is still fun)

52 Week #4 (I don't see myself reading all the way to the end. Still reading now, but I can't remember most of what happened last issue. Dull.)
Abadazad Book 1 Road To Inconceivable (Loved Abadazad the comic, not really interested in Abadazad the illustrated kids' novel. But I might get it for my daughter, if it's still good)
Age Of Bronze #23 (I generally wait for the hardcovers on this one, but I'm glad to see it still coming out)
Essential Off Handbook Marvel Universe Deluxe Ed Vol. 2 (Fun nostalgia trip)
Five Fists Of Science Gn (I enjoy Fraction's writing, the art looks good and the premise is fun)
Godland #11 (Probably the most fun superhero book on the market.)
Local #5 (Yay! One of my favorite books makes an appearance. Good thing, too, because the state of comics is depressing me right now.)
Middleman Vol 2 #4 (After a weak #2 and #3, I think I might be done with this one.)
Mouse Guard #3 (Not totally my thing, but kudos to a new indy book for making a splash)
My Inner Bimbo #1 (Sam Kieth is hit and miss with me... this looks like fun, though)
Showcase Presents Haunted Tank Vol 1 Tp (I kind of think that Silver Age DC is not for me, even in Showcase format... but this will be the volume that puts that to the test)
Zombies #1 (Full-color zombies from IDW... curious to see how it is)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Updated TV stuff:
So this is new. NBC, upon seeing what the competition was doing, decided to re-arrange their schedule. I *hate* counter-programming, the constant moving of shows. It kills a lot more than it helps. And now they're doing it at the upfronts. I'll be surprised if this doesn't result in some reshuffling by some of the other networks as well.

I have a Tivo that does most of my thinking for me, and I *still* miss shows when the execs keep moving them, which leads to me quitting shows. And I'm something of a TV fanatic, in a lot of ways. Casual viewers probably get frustrated a whole lot easier.

So... Studio 60 is now on at 10 pm on Mondays, after Heroes. Seems like a strange pairing, and doesn't really seem to give Studio a stronger lead-in, nor help Heroes in any meaningful way. Doesn't conflict with anything else I'm watching, though, so OK.

Friday Night Lights remains where it was, up against Standoff. And while I like Ron Livingston and Gina Torres and the premise better, Fox's trailer for Standoff during 24 was pretty weak. Hope it's better than that.

20 Good Years/30 Rock move down a bit, into less competitive waters against Jericho. The trailer on Jericho was also a little weak, although it had potential. Certainly I've got a better chance of giving up on Jericho then on Lost.

Mostly, these schedule changes don't affect any viewing plans I was making. But it does make me nervous, not confident, in NBC's plans and faith in their schedule, and I'd bet it'll have that effect on advertisers as well. At least, I hope this backfires on NBC, because the last thing we need is more encouragement for the networks to keep moving shows on a whim.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The New Fall Season:

Every year, I enjoy looking ahead at what's coming up on TV and seeing what I think might catch my eye. Usually, there's at least one show I never even heard of until Entertainment Weekly or one of my friends mentioned it to me that gets on my viewing schedule (Veronica Mars, Arrested Development and My Name is Earl are all in that category). The upfronts ended last week, so for those who are interested, here's my take on TV starting in the fall.

After last year's supremely lame offerings (were there *any* good new shows on the networks last year, aside from stuff on F/X, and midseason replacement The Unit?), I was pretty pleased. There's a good eight or nine shows I think could be good, and odds are good at least one or two of them actually won't suck.

Monday 9 Heroes (NBC)
Monday 9 24 (NBC) - January

HEROES (NBC) is probably doomed, but that could be a good thing, as it'll clear my schedule for 24 in January. With Greg Grunnberg in, Adrian Pasdar and Ali Larter, and a RISING STARS-esque superhero concept, I'm really anticipating this one, and hoping it'll: A) be good B) survive if it is.

Tuesday 8 Friday Night Lights (NBC)
Tuesday 8 Standoff (FOX)

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS sounds potentially very interesting, and I like Peter Berg, but STANDOFF sounds more interesting, because it's got Ron Livingston and Gina Torres and is about hostage negotiators, which engages me more than high school football. Either one could wind up being very good.

Tuesday 9 The Unit (CBS)
Tuesday 9 Veronica Mars (CW)
Tuesday 9 Let's Rob Mick Jagger (ABC)

One of two contested spots for me this season, with three shows on at the same time that I might want to watch. I'm not big on sitcoms these days, but I do like heists and spoofs and Donal Logue, so LET'S ROB MICK JAGGER gets my attention... of course, it's on against both THE UNIT and VERONICA MARS, so I'll never see it unless I download it.

Tuesday 10 Smith (CBS)

SMITH sounds potentially good, if only because I'd like to see if Ray Liotta can manage a Kiefer Sutherland-esque transition from OK movie actor to great TV actor. And I like criminal/heist stories.

Wednesday 8 Jericho (CBS)

JERICHO has a neat premise, but like INVASION, does seem like it's trying too hard to echo the success of LOST. I hold out a slim chance it could be good, but more than likely it's going to be weak genre second helpings.

Wednesday 9 Lost (ABC)
Wednesday 9-9:30 20 Good Years/30 Rock
Wednesday 9 Justice (FOX)

Wednesday at 9 is the other (moderately) competitive spot this season. 30 ROCK and 20 GOOD YEARS, both of which sound potentially entertaining, JUSTICE (which is yet another legal drama, but it has Victor Garber and Eamonn Walker in it)... I might watch either one in different time slots, but up against LOST? Forget it.

Wednesday 10 The Nine (ABC)

THE NINE: It's all in the character stuff, though, just like LOST. I'm not wildly enthusiastic, but seeing people pick up their lives after a traumatic event has potential, and the cast (Chi McBride, Tim Daly and a *ton* of VM and 24 vets) has potential as well.

Thursday 8 Big Day (ABC)
Thursday 8 My Name is Earl (NBC)
Thursday 8:30 Notes From The Underbelly (ABC)

BIG DAY (up against MY NAME is EARL, but that's not a deal-killer) and NOTES FROM THE UNDERBELLY are my sitcom picks to try out this year. But then, wedding day and upcoming baby are relatively recent events in my life, so I can relate to both. And I like Wendie Malick (BIG DAY) and Rachael Harris (UNDERBELLY). My expectations are that neither will really grab me, but I'll give them a look. Honestly, after the death of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, I've started to doubt any sitcom that's successful will ever catch on with me again. My tastes in comedy clearly run far outside the mainstream.

Thursday 9 Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (NBC)

STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP is the closest thing you can find to a sure thing, quality-wise. It may not get the ratings, that's a crapshoot, but Sorkin's record on TV is spotless, and the cast and premise sound fantastic. I'm legitimately excited about that one.

Thursday 10 Six Degrees (ABC)
Thursday 10 The Black Donnellys (NBC/Jan)
Thursday 10 Shark (CBS)

SIX DEGREES - I'm mildly interested because of Abrams and it's a decent cast and premise... but it's gone as soon as THE BLACK DONNELLYS (new TV from Paul Haggis!) premieres in January. I'll probably watch the season premiere of SHARK, since it's going to be directed by Spike Lee, but for now, legal dramas and cop dramas need not apply to the Lander household. We're full.

All in all, I'm optimistic. 4 number of returning shows that are creatively high right now for me (LOST, VERONICA MARS, 24 and THE UNIT), plus 7 shows that I think have the potential to be great (HEROES, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, STANDOFF, SMITH, JERICHO, THE NINE, SIX DEGREES), 2 I think could be good (SHARK and JUSTICE) and 2 I'm almost sure will be great (STUDIO 60, BLACK DONNELLYS)? And that doesn't even include HBO or F/X (which should start running THE SHIELD, my favorite show on TV, again either at Fall or in January). Pretty good odds for TV. Certainly better odds than we're getting for great comics right now.

Friday, May 19, 2006

What I'm Up To:
I haven't posted much on the blog of late save my weekly comics posts. May has been an unusually busy month, starting around April 27th when we closed on our new house. We started moving that weekend, and just finished getting everything officially out of the old house last night. So that's been a constant battle.

There's also been a fair bit of improvement to do on the house. My parents have been remarkably helpful and generous with time and money, helping us paint the master bedroom and bathroom, putting in laminate floor in my new office, staining some of the wood in the living room and, while Suzanne and I were on vacation, even putting in new doors to replace the damaged doors the previous owners had left us with.

Seriously, this is a nice house, but the previous owners just kicked. the. shit out of it. The doors were all banged up, none of the windows or coverplates for electrical outlets and light switches match, and every home improvement project seems to have been done on a "well, that'll work at least" level. It's a good house, but with a little more attention to detail, it could've been a great one. I'm pretty happy with the increased space, though, and I love my new office, which is big enough to hold all my comics and books, a spare TV with spare Tivo and cable, my computer and still have room for gaming in it with six friends. My office is easily the nicest room in the house, and given that I put up original art, posters, etc. last week, it is also the only really finished room in the house.

Suzanne got a new washer/dryer out of the deal, though (although it had a pinhole leak in one of the hoses, which they're supposed to fix today or next week), and Katy got a new pink room and a new bed, so everybody gained something. Hell, even the dog now has a back door that makes it easier for him to get out without going through an extra gate.

So there's been that, and the stress of the old house not having sold yet. We've had lots of interest, but no offers yet, and I live in constant fear of that home-owner's nightmare, having two houses and paying for both for too long. We sure as hell can't afford it, and in fact can only afford to do the home improvement we've been doing with help from both sets of parents and extra money I put away from eBay auctions just before we moved.

Then there was the weekend trip to Port Aransas, arranged months ago before we knew that: A) We'd be moving the week before and B) It was the same weekend as Free Comic Book Day. So I had to bail on working FCBD this year, which was a shame, although I heard it went well again. The weekend in Port Aransas was fun, but it was sadly kind of cloudy and cool on our main day (Saturday), so Katy only got to spend about five minutes at the beach, and in those five minutes, got kind of scared of the waves in the ocean and never had a chance to get over it and enjoy it. She did love the pool, though, and really enjoyed the aquarium in Corpus Christi that we all went to as well. So it was a good weekend, if not the relaxing one I was hoping for. In fact, I can't remember the last relaxing weekend I had.

This weekend won't be it either. We have to drive out to Arkansas for my grandfather's funeral. He was 98, so it wasn't a shock, but I'm still kind of sad. He was my last grandparent, and really, the one I liked the best. I'm gonna miss him, and I know it's hard on my mom right now. This was also the weekend my sister and her husband (and soon-to-be-born child) were going to be in Austin, and now they've got to spend that time in Arkansas, which means no Chuy's, Fajita Warehouse and generally hanging out in a town they miss.

The upside is, the family will all be in Arkansas, including Katy's young cousins Matt and Sean that she just adores, and there'll be a pool in the hotel, so Katy at least will probably have a good time, and it'll be nice to see the California branch of the family that I don't see often, as well as seeing my sister and her husband, who I don't get to see enough of these days.

All this busy-ness also means that Suzanne and I haven't had a chance to get up and see Ensley, our newest niece, born in Dallas about a month ago. We're hoping to get up there the first weekend of June, since I have to do comic ordering the last weekend in May. I feel kinda bad we haven't been up to see her yet, especially because I know Katy is going to love meeting her baby cousin, but I feel a little bit better about it because it has been literally unavoidable, we've been busy every single weekend.

So that's it, the entirety of my life at the moment. Coming up soon, my take on the new Fall season now that the upfronts are over... I'm actually pretty enthusiastic about the prospects for next year.
Weekly Comics to Come - May 24, 2006:

Daredevil #85 (I have to admit it, Brubaker and Lark have really sucked me into the story they're telling here)
Exiles #81 (The World Tour story is starting to feel overly long, but I'm still curious to see how it comes out)
Fantastic Four A Death In The Family (Usually I like Kesel's take on the FF, but this was just hokey and, well, dumb)
Toupydoops #2 (Second issue is as funny as the first, probably the indy breakout of the year for me)

52 Week #3 (I'm mostly bored, but I do enjoy the Booster Gold segments)
Batman #653 (We're closing in on the conclusion of Robinson's Batman arc, and it's been good so far)
Birds Of Prey #94 (Possibly my favorite DC Universe book running at the moment)
Black Coat Call To Arms #2 (First issue was a good pulp-style book with an original concept, and had great art)
Catwoman #55 (Intrigued by this one, although not as engaged as I was when Brubaker/Stewart were doing the book)
Checkmate #2 (Mostly hated issue one, but I still want to give it a couple more issues)
Concrete Vol 5 Think Like A Mountain Tp (I'm now four trades behind in my Concrete reading)
Death Comes To Dillinger #1 (I don't honestly remember what this is about, but I remember it seeming interesting)
Green Lantern #11 (Not really digging this, but I'm still interested enough to keep reading, at least)
Scott Pilgrim Vol 3 Infinite Sadness Gn (Late, but no doubt worth the wait)
Secret Six #1 (Simone returns to her villain characters for a miniseries, and I'll be there to read it)
She-Hulk 2 #8 (Follow-up to the Starfox story or just Civil War tie-in? This could be where my interest in She-Hulk goes south, if it ties in too much to Civil War)
Villains #1 (Viper's supervillain series. Not as fresh as it might have been, considering Arch-Enemies, Secret Six, Living in Infamy, etc., but still potentially interesting)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Weekly Comics That Went - May 10, 2006:
Because of vacation and moving, I didn't get a chance to post what I was intending to pick up and read last week. So here, for those who care, is that list:

52 Week #1 (Pretty slow-burn opening... I'm kind of meh on the whole thing, as I've been on IC in general. Nice (most likely Morrison-scripted) stuff with Booster Gold, though, reminding me of old school Dan Jurgens Booster Gold. I'll follow for a few issues at least, but my optimism has faded)
American Virgin #3 (Great third issue, and while I'm not sure how long the concept can sustain, right now the creative team is firing on all cylinders)
Annihilation Super Skrull #2 (Good lord, the kid sidekicks in cosmic adventures are annoying. Solid, but unspectacular)
Borrowed Time #1 (Great story by Neal Shaffer, great art by Joe Infurnari, nice Twilight Zone-ish feel... probably my favorite thing I read that week)
Cthulhu Tales #1 (Anthology, which means mixed bag, but there were a couple of real good stories)
Deogratias Tale Of Rwanda Gn (I'm rooting for First Second, but while the art on this one was gorgeous, the story didn't engage me)
Ex Machina #20 (Cruising along, but I can't help but feel like I'm reading it on autopilot at the moment, and I need something stronger to jolt me back to loving it)
Fables #49 (This, on the other hand, I still love. It is easily my favorite series running right now)
Jonah Hex #7 (I think I've had my fill of Jonah Hex. It's a good book, but I think there's only so much formula western I can enjoy, no matter how solid the craft)
She-Hulk 2 #7 (This I loved, despite it's non-traditional take on Starfox)
True Loves Vol 1 Gn (Very good romance-drama story, I'm looking forward to volume two, which will see the burgeoning relationship in later days)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Weekly Comics to Come - May 17, 2006:

Annihilation Nova #2 (Hate Cammi the kid sidekick and I'm kind of weirded out by the buddy comedy vibe of the whole thing, but there is some nice cosmic action in this second issue)
Batman Year One Hundred #4 (I would have liked a stronger, more definitive reveal of Batman's identity, given that it was one of the two big mysteries of the series, but the art was gorgeous and the action pretty interesting.)
Captain America #18 (A modern twist on an Invaders adventure, guest-starring Spitfire and Union Jack, all done up in Brubaker/Epting's 24 meets Cap style. Good reading)
DMZ #7 (Paranoia about the government, great character work... Local and Supermarket top it for me, but DMZ is my third-favorite Brian Wood book right now)
Marvel Adventures The Avengers #1 (A bizarre line-up, but it reads surprisingly well, like an all-ages Avengers should, with plenty of action and fun. The Marvel Adventures line isn't really for me, but it's not supposed to be... it's a pretty good line of Marvel kids' comics)
Y The Last Man Vol 7 Paper Dolls Tp (My second-favorite Vertigo series and in my top five of all series running right now)

52 Week #2 (First issue was merely OK, with some good moments... hope it gets stronger, but it's readable at any rate)
Conan #28 (Still reading, although it's dropped to sort of the "reading to keep up" level for me)
Fallen Angel #5 (Curious to see the Angel's origin revealed, still unsure about that art)
Fear Agent #4 (The lateness hurts my interest, but Moore's art is terrific, and Remender's down and dirty old school sci-fi writing is a lot of fun)
Fell #5 (Last couple issues were a lot weaker than the early ones, but I'm still sticking around at this point)
Manhunter #22 (Enjoying the One Year Later take on the character... still wishing it was a trade series, though, as it reads better in chunks)
Marvel Legacy 1970s Handbook (I'll check this out for the novelty value... if they do an '80s one, I'll buy it for sure)
Star Wars Rebellion #2 (The art's a little bombastic for me at times, but this is pretty good Star Wars comics)
Talent #1 (New Boom! story, curious to see the first issue)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Site Feed Update:
I've just now realized that the old site feed didn't work, so I've updated the new one. The new site feed is

Monday, May 01, 2006

Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondents Dinner:
Following a link from Boing-Boing, I watched Stephen Colbert give the keynote address to the White House Correspondents at their annual dinner. I have no idea what possessed them to invite him, and President Bush, to the event, because they should have known he wasn't going to pull any punches in his speech. And he didn't. And it was both hilarious and damning of the failures of both the adminstration and the press that has mostly failed to take them to task.

Colbert plays a right-wing crazy modelled on Bill "Fuckface" O'Reilly on his show, and does it in such a way that skewers both the right and the left when they're being stupid or crazy. Which is often. One of the schticks of his bit is to claim to have or demand from others "balls." It's a macho goof, daring others to have the balls.

But standing up and making fun of a corrupt President and his administration when that President was about five feet away? Spoofing a lackluster media with no sense of humor about itself? Delivering hilarious bon mot after bon mot, not flagging at all when the majority of the room either seemed to not get it or to be turning increasingly hostile? Stephen Colbert really does have balls. Big, swinging brass ones. Shame he's a comedian and not a journalist. We could use a few more journalists with the courage of their convictions that Colbert showed at the White House Correspondents' Dinner.
Blog Template Update for April
This is the latest monthly update to the left column of the blog, listing my Favorite Comics and TV for 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. It's less useful as a gauge of my overall tastes, but more useful as a "must-read" for the month.

No links this month... no time to get them done, what with moving house and having a vacation in the first weekend of May, and nobody's using them anyway. However, even with being that busy, I have been able to get a Down the Line feature done. With any luck, it will be finished and live shortly after you read this update. Unless you're reading it later than it went up, say Tuesday or Wednesday, in which case hopefully it will already have been up for a couple of days.

Finally, the updates are for the month of April... May 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.