Sunday, June 24, 2007

Weekly Comics to Come - June 27, 2007

Another huge week, June has been busy for comics

Art Of Bone HC (Dark Horse's "Art Of" volumes are always impressive, and this will be no exception)
Criminal #7 (First issue of the new arc was fantastic, maybe even better than the previous arc, can't wait to see where it goes)
Goosebumps Graphix Vol 2 Terror Trips SC (The other two volumes were very good)
Invincible #43 (All kinds of plot and character developments, great art)
Thunderbolts #115 (Best issue of the relaunch thus far, gorgeous art and a terrific superhero/supervillain fight or two)

Annihilation Book 3 HC (Finally I can read the whole original Annihilation saga)
Collected Toupydoops TP (Really funny, smart read that is even better in collected form... review planned soon)
Daredevil #98 (Nice penultimate issue of the latest arc)
Fantastic Four #547 (McDuffie and Pelletier continue to impress)
Garth Ennis Streets Of Glory Preview (Curious to see what Ennis will do with a western and no boundaries, courtesy Avatar)
Green Lantern Sinestro Corps Special #1 (I haven't read Green Lantern in a while, but I'm curious about this new story)
Hellboy Darkness Calls #3 (Amazing art, interesting story)
Immortal Iron Fist #6 (Great conclusion to the first arc)
Jack Of Fables #12 (New story, now that Vegas and Jack Frost are wrapped... I think)
Lone Ranger Vol 1 TP (Been wanting to check back into this, gets good buzz)
Marvel Adventures Avengers #14 (Best Avengers title running)
Previews Vol XVII #7 (New Down the Line in the works)
Subculture #1 (New title from APE about geek culture, sounds fun)
Walking Dead #38 (Kirkman's Image books are always late, and then they always hit the same week... good thing I like both of them enough not to mind the weird scheduling)
White Picket Fences #2 ('50s alien invasion story continues, had a good first issue)
X-men First Class Vol 2 #1 (New ongoing, looking forward to checking it out and catching up with hardcover soon)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Support the CBLDF

Y'all may have heard about the Gordon Lee case, and that the CBLDF is about to go to trial to defend a retailer from some bullshit charges. If you haven't, you can find out a lot more by visiting Kady Mae (of Sequential Tart) and reading this post, wherein she says if she gets 40 or more emails from people who have donated $25 or more to the CBLDF, she will donate a $1000 at San Diego.

I've been meaning to re-up my membership in the CBLDF for a year now, and this was as good a chance as any, so I bought a membership for the store at the Advocate level. If you buy a membership at this level, you get a membership card with custom art (I can't remember the artist on this year's card, but previous editions have included Frank Miller, Will Eisner and Peter Kuper) as well as a T-shirt with the first amendment written out in the shape of the American flag.

Or you can donate $30 (I think) to the cause and get the shirt. Or donate whatever you can afford and get the satisfaction of helping free speech and comics. I don't linkblog a lot, partly because I'm too lazy to keep up, but this seemed like a link worth spreading to whoever's reading here, and also a good chance to remind folks that the CBLDF is an important organization that does good work.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Weekly Comics to Come - June 20, 2007

Brave And The Bold #4 (Finally, the next chapter in the Mark Waid/George Perez superhero team-up tale)
Mantlo A Life In Comics (A tribute to Bill Mantlo, which looks really cool)
Repo #1 (New Rick Spears/Rob G book, probably my most anticipated read this week)
Spirit #7 (Disappointed it's not all Darwyn Cooke, but the guest artists include Jordi Bernet and Kyle Baker, so I can't complain too much)
True Story Swear To God #2.06 (The last issue was one of my favorites, I love this book)

Annihilation Conquest Prologue (Looking forward to reading this, but kind of wanted to read the original Annihilation hardcovers first)
Captain America #27 (Good issue, although still nowhere near what I actually wanted from Cap)
Ex Machina #29 (I'm an issue or two behind, might start reading just trades, but it's still been a really good book)
GI Joe Storm Shadow #2 (First issue was fun, if disjointed, but with great art)
Grendel Archive Edition HC (Collecting the original Grendel stuff, which I've never read)
Highwaymen #1 (Looking forward to this action miniseries from Wildstorm)
Incredible Hulk #107 (Solid issue, but I'm already losing interest in World War Hulk)
Marvel Adventures Avengers Vol 3 Digest TP (Collecting the second run by Jeff Parker, which includes several genius issues, like the Ego the Loving Planet issue)
Marvel Adventures Iron Man #2 (First issue was solid, if not up to MA Avengers levels, and Iron Man isn't a dick... bonus!)
Maxwell Strangewell GG (The Fillbach Brothers craft a strange and intriguing new graphic novel)
Tales From The Crypt #1 (Papercutz relaunches the EC classic as an all-ages book... I'm curious, at least)
Tick 20th Ann Sp Ed #1 (Celebrating 20 years of the Tick, with a lot of guest talent... now if only there were consistent, well-produced trades of the early material)
Warhammer 40K Damnation Crusade #5 (Just read the first four issues a few weeks back and enjoyed them)
Warhammer Forge Of War #1 (Boom! takes on Warhammer Fantasy, and their Warhammer 40K comics have been good)
Wasteland #10 (Best enjoyed in trades, but a good read all around)
X-men Endangered Species One-Shot (If you've seen Children of Men, you know that opening scene where everybody was moping because the youngest man on Earth had died? This is like that, if that scene had been the entire movie, and if it had sucked. Seriously, bad art, boring story, it just sucks the life right out of the room.)
X-men First Class HC (Wasn't huge on Roger Cruz's art, but kept hearing nothing but good about Jeff Parker's stories, so I'll be checking this one out)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The New Baby & The Scariest Day of My Entire Life

Well, as you can see by that picture on the right, the long-delayed (OK, only two days past due date, but Katy was early and we expected the same) new addition to the Lander family has arrived. Unfortunately, his arrival did not come as easily as Katy's, but the good news is that things seem OK now.

It was a bit of a rough week. On Sunday night, I was up way too late (as usual) and after finishing up the 2-disc Kitchen Confidential, I came to bed about 3:00 AM. Just about the time Suzanne's water broke and she realized the "gas pains" she'd been having were in fact labor. We grabbed our stuff, called my parents to come to the house and watch Katy and called the midwife.

At about 5:00, we headed to the birthing center. I could tell that Suzanne was in more pain this time, and that continued throughout. She was still remarkably calm, nothing like the screaming pregnant women you see in TV and movies, but I know her well enough to know that it hurt a lot more this time. Aaron hadn't made it easy on us... there was a miscarriage scare, a week of bedrest brought on by fears he was coming too early and then he waited a couple days to come out, and did so more painfully than asked for.

After he was born, at about 9:00 in the morning (8 lbs. 5 ounces), I noticed that there was a lot of blood. The midwives handed my son to me so they could attend to my wife, and I wasn't panicking, hoping that this was, if not normal, not a big deal. That all changed when one of them called an ambulance and I was told that they couldn't get the placenta out. That's when I went into "scared out of my goddamned mind" mode.

I don't think I fell apart, because I knew I couldn't afford to and Suzanne couldn't afford me too, but man was I panicking inside. We got into an ambulance, rode to St. David's, and left Aaron with the midwives to follow us in the car. I didn't get to ride in the back with Suzanne, I rode up front with the ambulance driver, worrying the whole time that it was taking us too long. Forget about all the movies you see where ambulances are careening down the road at breakneck speeds... when you're in the cab, and you think your wife might be bleeding out in the back, driving into oncoming traffic doesn't seem fast enough. It really did seem like we were doing like 30 mph, even though I know based on how fast we got to the hospital that it wasn't the case.

Same with going into the hospital. There were a couple techs, three nurses and one doctor in the room, but it wasn't the crazy fast-cut movement of ER or even Scrubs. Everybody was doing their job methodically, but at that point, I just didn't see the urgency I wanted. I'm sure it was there, but it all moved really slow for me. Fortunately, the doctor, Dr. Fitzwater, got the placenta out and got Suzanne onto some medications for the pain. She was allergic to some of the anti-biotics, which meant she got some Benadryl to control the reaction, and combined with a dizziness side effect from the pain medication and general loopiness from the loss of blood, I could tell she was kind of out of it. We all kept talking to her, though, and she stayed awake, and after what seemed like an excruciating amount of time, the doctors got her stabilized.

We were in the hospital for a couple of days, but we got to come home fairly quickly, and Suzanne seems to be feeling well and recovering nicely. She's stuck in bed for at least a few days, but she's able to feed Aaron and get him to sleep, and both her parents and my parents have been in to help with Katy. We've also got a great support system in my friends and in the Austinmamas, who have had an outpouring of offerings of support. Kind of funny, when we got home from the hospital, there was a phone message and an email from members of the listgroup, wondering if everything was OK because they hadn't heard from Suzanne in a couple days. My wife is what you call a frequent poster when she's involved with a list. :)

At any rate, it was a scary, awful day, but the end result is a recovering, soon to be fully healthy mom and a healthy, happy (by newborn standards) baby boy. Anyone who wants to see pictures can look at my flickr set. And right now my email priorities are, in order: Family, Business, Friends & Scheduling Stuff and then everything else. So if I'm less responsive than usual, or if you notice my workload at Comic Pants has grown even smaller, now you know why.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Weekly Comics to Come - June 13, 2007

Wow. Huge week. Which is perfect, since the baby will probably come on Wednesday and I won't be there for it. :)

BPRD Garden Of Souls #4 (Easily one of my top five favorite series running)
DMZ #20 (Ditto, especially on this latest arc, which is the best the series has been so far)
Fables Vol 9 Sons Of Empire TP (Some great stuff in this one, including how the Empire would invade Earth)
Nova #3 (I'm really digging this book, although I'm anxious for it to get back to space... but they handle the Civil War/Initiative tie-in very well)
Re-Gifters (First Minx book was a solid favorite, I look forward to reading this one)

Avengers Classic #1 (Art Adams covers, original Dwayne McDuffie story, I'll check it out, even though I have the Avengers CD-ROM and Essential Avengers for the main story)
Aviary (New one-shot from Adhouse, sure to be beautifully designed and interesting)
Black Diamond #1 (Car chase madness from AIT/Planet Lar... their first color ongoing series... those who miss Drive should check this out)
Death Jr Vol 2 TP (More fun adventures with art by Ted Naifeh)
Elephantmen Pilot (I've already got this, I think, but it's really terrific stuff)
Fables #62 (The Flycatcher arc has re-invigorated my interest in the series, and I don't know where it's going, which is nice)
Goosebumps Graphix Vol 3 Scary Summer Sc (Terrific art line-up on this one... weird that volume two never came out)
Hack Slash Series #2 (First issue was pretty impressive, with a great new artist)
Hellboy Animated Vol 2 Judgement Bell TP (First volume of this was surprisingly excellent as well)
Hulk Planet Hulk HC (Now that it's all together, I might give it another shot, especially if World War Hulk is enjoyable and doesn't piss me off)
Jack Kirbys Fourth World Omnibus Vol 1 HC (Very tempted by this, but I need to see production values first)
Mystic Arcana Magik (Hoping for good, as I have a fondness for Magik, but I haven't got any sense of Marvel's magic event yet)
Naoki Urasawas Monster Vol 8 (Terrific suspense manga, as always)
Scarlet Traces The Great Game HC (Beautiful art by D'Israeli, interesting post-War of the Worlds sci-fi by Ian Edginton)
Star Wars Legacy #13 (Still only mildly enjoying this, but it's solid and has great art)
Star Wars Rebellion #7 (The delays lost a lot of my interest in this one, but I've liked what I've read)
Stormwatch PHD #8 (Finally caught up on this book... it's OK, not great, but I'll keep reading)
Sub-Mariner #1 (Reviewing this for Comic Pants, so I'll read it, but with low expectations as I'm not a fan of the characters and don't really know the creators)
World War Hulk #1 (Expecting it to piss me off at some point, but right now I'm onboard. Hulk Smash!)

Pandora Internet Radio

My buddy Dave showed me this new site, which is just too cool for words. Basically, it's Internet radio, but you program it by putting in songs and/or artists you like and it plays songs from them as well as songs similar to those, and you can thumbs up/thumbs down to help it narrow things down.

Very, very cool and totally addictive. My station is HERE, although it's very much a work in progress.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Blog Template Update for May

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. This is basically also my own records of what I read/liked for the inevitable "End of Year" lists I feel like making.

Given how much I hate much of Marvel's best sellers, I'm continuously shocked by how much of them I read. Six books this month (counting Criminal, which is just barely Marvel), and three of them are even in post-Initiative continuity. DC doesn't fare so well, post-52... none of their books even made it close, and the one book I am reading, The Spirit, isn't in continuity. Of course, there were four Vertigo books in there, just as many as I have Dark Horse and one less than I have of Image. Two indys, one from Archaia and one from Oni.

Graphic novels I read this month but didn't hit my Top 10 include a slew of discounted Marvel hardcovers (Westerns, Horror, Supreme Power 1-2, Best of Wolverine), Transformers: Infiltration and Transformers: Escalation, the latest Walking Dead HC, the Oni story of the first monkey in space, First in Space and Plain Janes, the launch of DC's Minx line. Those last two would easily have made a top 10 in a weaker month, but there were just so many good trades released in May. And that's not even counting the good ones that I haven't read yet, like Mouse Guard or Fell. Single issues that almost made the list included Hack Slash Series #1, GI Joe Storm Shadow #1, Black Coat Or Give Me Death #1, World War Hulk Prologue World Breaker, Marvel Zombies Dead Days, the third issues of Buffy, Star Wars Dark Times and Marvel Zombies Army of Darkness and Captain America #26. So it was a pretty good month for comic books. There wasn't a lot new, but what was new was pretty good, an X-Men First Class Special with great artwork and the hilariously sick and wrong Goon: Satan's Sodomy Baby.

May was a really good month for TV. Sopranos and Veronica Mars both drew to a close, the latter in a decent manner after a disappointing season and a disappointing near-pickup, the former in fine style, although as I write this there's still one more episode to go. A lot of TV ended in May, which means my June line-up is probably going to look pretty different. Most of what was great (The Office, 30 Rock, The Shield) stayed great, and Lost took a huge upturn and ended on a great episode, while Heroes ended a great set of episodes with a really disappointing finale. The upfronts for next season look pretty fucking abysmal in terms of new shows, so this might have been the best season of TV for a while.

Tons of new feeds this month. I added Tom Brevoort's Marvel Blog: Blah Blah Blah to follow the entertaining Editorial Simulation, finally added The Savage Critics to my feed, found Melanie McFarland, Seattle's TV Gal off a link from Alan Sepinwall and added Rolling Stone's Photo, DVD, Music and Movie feeds. I also added a couple new writer feeds from Andy Diggle and Heroes producer Greg Beeman, found artist blogs for several favorites like Frazer Irving, Kyle Baker and Sean Phillips and added three new webcomics: Alien Loves Predator, Smuggling Spirits and Wondermark. Then there were two new local feeds for Austinite Rob Osborne and the Alamo Drafthouse.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Weekly Comics to Come - June 6, 2007

Buffy The Vampire Slayer #4 (The conclusion of Whedon's first arc)
Dynamo 5 #4 (One of my favorite new series on a biweekly release schedule... doesn't get much better than that)
Fear Agent Last Goodbye #1 (The origins of Heath Huston, Texan alien exterminator, picks up at Dark Horse)
Jack Of Fables #11 (At last, the conclusion of the "Jack Frost" story)
Superior Showcase #2 (Indy style superheroes! The first issue was great)

Avengers Initiative #3 (Weaker with every issue. Some good moments, but I can't believe this is the same writer who kicked ass on early days of She-Hulk and on The Thing)
Fantastic Four Inhumans TP (Beautiful Ladronn art on part of this, beautiful Pacheco art on the rest... stories so-so on both)
Invincible #42 (Jumping-on priced at $1.99, and I've been enjoying this book a lot lately)
Marvel Zombies Army Of Darkness #4 (In a way, more fun than the original Marvel Zombies, since it includes so many C-listers)
New Warriors #1 (Solid first issue with beautiful art by Paco Medina)
Spider-Man Family #3 (Includes stories by Paul Tobin and Fred Van Lente)
Spider-man Loves Mary Jane #19 (One more issue of McKeever to go)
Strange Embrace #1 (Loved this in black and white GN form, looking forward to seeing the new color version too)
Uncanny X-Men #487 (Interesting opening to the new arc, but I miss Billy Tan's art and I'm still pissed about Corsair... and Banshee, for that matter)
Ward O/t State #2 (Good first issue, weird but engrossing concept)