Monday, April 02, 2007

Blog Template Update for March

This is the latest monthly update to the right 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.

Well, March was a hell of a month for comics. For me personally, I didn't have a ton of new stuff, but I did have to pare down the list to get to 20, and there were a lot of good graphic novels. For me as a new retailer, it was a phenomenal month. The Death of Captain America, the new Buffy comic, The Dark Tower series, etc. etc. There were a couple new books I liked, including Jay Faerber's new superhero book Dynamo 5, McDuffie and McKone taking over the FF and Joss Whedon and Georges Jeanty's excellent first issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but mostly it was reliable favorites. 3 DC books (Spirit, Brave and the Bold and Manhunter, the common denominator of the first two is fun and the third is just an example of how to take advantage of the ongoing series format), 8 Marvel (despite my hatred of Civil War, which probably speaks to the level of talent at Marvel right now), only 2 Vertigo (no Jack of Fables or American Virgin in March, and Fables was a little weak) and 7 indies (2 Dark Horse, 3 Image, 1 Oni, 1 Devil's Due).

Graphic novel a day may be pretty much dead as a feature. It's not that I'm not reading them, it's that I just can't seem to find the time and energy to write about them. At any rate, I think I read more like a graphic novel every other day, but the Daredevil Omnibus took me four days to get through, and then I was inspired to go back and reread Born Again (pretty damn good) and Man Without Fear (not as good as I'd remembered.) I also tried to read the Daredevil/Elektra Love and War HC with Elektra: Assassin in it, but found it pretentious and boring and didn't get past issue one of Elektra: Assassin.

No new episodes of How I Met Your Mother, The Office, Studio 60 or Veronica Mars. Only two episodes of 30 Rock, but they were both really good. Heroes only had one, "Parasite," but it was a phenomenal episode, maybe the second best in the show's history, after "Company Man" the previous week. Thankfully, Andy Barker P.I. is a really funny new show (that's probably dead, given that it's smart and quirky) and The Riches is dark, features a brilliant cast and has my mild interest. Raines is imperfect and probably going to get old but has some style and a great lead actor in Jeff Goldblum, not to mention a terrific (and underused) supporting actress in Nicole Sullivan. Finally got around to watching the first episode of The Black Donnellys, and I like it... good crime stuff, maybe not exceptional when compared to stuff like The Shield, but certainly watchable... of course, I haven't watched the rest of the episodes on my Tivo, which tells you how deep my interest runs. Good thing, too, as it's been pulled to make way for a reality show about jackasses crashing real weddings... which the (stupid) couple is in on. Yeah, gay marriage would totally cheapen the institution, but bringing on the producers of Punk'd to ruin it weekly on national television, that's fucking perfectly acceptable. I'm annoyed the show is even on the air, I'd be livid if it were replacing something I really liked.

As for the familiar shows... Scrubs has been pretty weak, but came on strong late in the month, and besides, pickings are kinda slim right now for new episodes. Battlestar Galactica, after stumbling around punch-drunk ever since the show lifted off from New Caprica, delivers a nice one-two punch of a season ender. Now if only they can come on stronger next season and really follow up on all that potential... hopefully with an ending before the whole thing just gets old. Lost also stumbled a bit early this year, but has had some really strong episodes lately, and the confrontation between Ben and Locke was probably one of the best moments of the show ever. And 24... well, it's 24. Formulaic, getting predictable, but serving up good action and amusingly predictable "24" moments of torture, Kiefer Sutherland yelling and impossible to believe bad security at CTU. The latest episode, which sees Jack teaming up to fight crime with a developmentally disabled man who was working with his brother the mercenary terrorist, was cringe-worthy. I might be done with 24. Fortunately, April sees the return of The Shield, Entourage and The Sopranos, as well as Heroes, so it's looking like a good TV month.

My novel for March was Gates of Fire. Which I borrowed, but haven't read. Novel of the month is just a spectacular failure, I guess.

This was a month for discovering a ton of new feeds. There was a new webcomic out of New Orleans, starring my friend Leo and written/drawn by Josh Neufeld (New Orleans A.D. After the Deluge), there was the re-independencing of Comics, Covered, and through links to Comic Pants, I found an interesting comics review/commentary site called Blurred Productions. But mostly, it was a month of finding people whose work I love doing blogs. I was delighted to find blogs for Becky Cloonan, Cliff Chiang and Vasilis Lolos, three of my favorite artists. I was interested to find a blog from TV writer Jane Espenson. A link to the brilliant Steampunk Star Wars art he's doing lead me to Eric Poulton. And most importantly, a random link from Entertainment Weekly let me find the site of Alan Sepinwall, professional TV critic whose writings I've been reading since I found a link from rec.arts.comics usenet to his NYPD Blue recap sites. Alan is one of the best TV critics I've read, both because his tastes seem to synch up nicely with mine and because he can write in a style that is witty, intelligent, insightful and yet relatively spoiler-free. I'm delighted to be able to read his writing on a regular basis again.

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