Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Weekly Comics to Come - September 26, 2007

Running late this week, so these are based on actually reading the books, rather than advanced speculation

American Virgin #19 (Best issue of the series so far, and I love this series)
Annihilation Conquest Star Lord #3 (Best issue of *this* series so far, great action, art and some nice character reveals)
Criminal #9 (The Tracy Lawless series rockets along to its conclusion with the requisite amount of blood, secrets and danger)
Immortal Iron Fist Annual #1 (Beautiful art, fun pulp homage, every bit as good as the monthly Immortal Iron Fist, with the added bonus of Dan Brereton)
Killer Vol 1 HC (Beautifully drawn, creepy and involving story of a professional killer, in a stunningly designed hardcover... now if only we could get some more issues)

Astounding Wolf-Man #3 (Good, but like Invincible, may read tons better in trade)
Avengers Initiative #6 (Bleh. Hate that last page reveal, which is akin to the Speedball=Penance transformation in terms of sucking the fun out of the Marvel universe, and wasn't crazy about Uy's art. I think I may be done with this book)
Brit #2 (Lots of fun, albeit not as fun as the first issue of the series. But definitely worth reading for Invincible fans)
Captain America Red White & Blue TP (Forgotten gem of Cap stories by lesser known creators and indy stars, plus some interesting behind the scenes material)
Green Arrow Year One #5 (Fantastic action comic... makes me miss the Losers a little bit less)
Immortal Iron Fist #9 (Martial arts tournament and secret knowledge, and this book continues to kick my ass each month)
Justice League Of America #13 (Pretty awful art, almost makes me long for the return of Ed Benes... story is OK, although disappointing after the great start of JLA Wedding Special... and I really didn't need the Sue Dibny reference)
Marvel Adventures Iron Man #5 (Sold out before I could read it... bummer)
Previews Vol XVII #10 (Down the Line in process)
Revere Revolution In Silver HC (Looks promising, haven't had a chance to read yet)
Spirit #10 (Can't quite make up my mind on whether it's a clever, witty send-up of pundits or an overly obvious bashing of easy targets)
The Order #3 (Weakest issue thus far, but still good, and features zombie hobos, which earns it bonus points)
Usagi Yojimbo #106 (This book has been really good lately, with demonic possessions, multiple bounty hunters and such)
X-men First Class Vol 2 #4 (Fun! Road trip with Beast and Iceman!)

Fall Season: Reaper

Well, what everybody is saying is true. It's a lot like Chuck, but better than Chuck. It's funny and yet it's got some nice dramatic moments too. It's got likable characters (I'll take the actually funny sidekick in Reaper over the annoying sidekick on Chuck, and Missy Peregrym is terrific as the hot yet accessible love interest), a fun premise and a general tone that reminds me of everything I liked about something like Buffy without seeming like a ripoff of Buffy.

And it's got Ray Wise as the devil, which is pretty much a good enough reason to watch the show all on its own. Kevin Smith directs the hell out of the pilot, but I have to say that I'm hopeful that other directors can pull off similarly good work with the show as it goes along. The special effects weren't blow the doors off expensive looking, there weren't a ton of fancy camera tricks or editing tricks (although a good editor, and someone good at the music choices and cues, is gonna be crucial)... the heart of what makes this all work is the cast. Good cast, good writing, good premise? Few shows this season have more than one of those, so far.

Oh, and I laughed out loud several time. Not only is the show imaginative and well-acted, it's *funny*.

I haven't seen Pushing Daisies yet, but Reaper is looking like my favorite new show of the fall.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fall Season: How I Met Your Mother, Family Guy & Heroes

How I Met Your Mother: -Dary! Great start to the episode, nice use of Mandy Moore (although I liked her better in both Scrubs and Entourage... weirdly, I'm a fan of TV cameo Mandy Moore). It wasn't a *great* episode, but it was a good one, and I got several laughs out of it. I was especially impressed by the "Slap Bet" epilogue, which was totally for the long-time fans of the show, but recalled one of my favorite moments of the entire show (the second slap in the middle of Barney's "play"), and I also enjoyed the facial hair gags and Ted's "And that's the last thing I remember" narration. Funny show, off to a good start for the season.

Family Guy: I haven't watched any of season five, but I might be on board for this new season. The Star Wars episode was a lot of fun, especially if you can catch the in-jokes for not only Family Guy but Star Wars. I died laughing when they revealed Obi Wan. The "Dirty Dancing" sequence was overlong, but sometimes Family Guy can do that milking a gag type thing well, so I can't blame them for trying it. It was a callback to the "Somewhere That's Green" extended sequence that was one of the funniest in the show's history, in my opinion. I have to admit, I didn't catch Meg's role, I need to watch it again. I was also amused to see that they actually got Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo for the voices in the brief Vacation bit.

Heroes: Disappointed. Some of the same cliched writing that plagued the original pilot, the new characters aren't terribly interesting and I don't find any of the new status quo that interesting either. Well, except Parkman, who gets to be more of a real character than he was for most of the first season. But I don't really want to see Hiro in feudal Japan (even though David Anders is great), I think re-doing the "Clare's got to pretend to be normal, and so does her dad" plot was a mistake (and seriously, why on Earth would he go to work at a Kinko's? He can't do a *little* bit better and at least find a decent middle management job?) and I don't yet care about the Honduran brother and sister. Nor do I have a ton of interest in Mohinder reprising his arc from the first season, although I will admit the last minute twist makes that more interesting. Mildly curious about seeing more of the older generation (Ma Petrelli, Hiro's dad, etc.) but I'd like it to move faster, and I wasn't pleased to see "another shadowy guy in a hoodie" as the mystery villain. Basically, it wasn't awful, but they did seem to be repeating themselves an awful lot.

Now, Heroes started off kinda mediocre last season and got better and better, and hopefully that's what will happen here. But after the way they dropped the ball on the season finale, they really needed a stronger opening to hook me back in.

In other news, I decided I don't really care about Journeyman, and didn't watch it. And I watched Chuck early, so I already talked about that one.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

President Bush Hates Children

Bush plans to veto a bipartisan (and how rarely does *that* word get attached to successful legislation today?) bill that would extend a healthcare program for children.

His basic reasoning seems to boil down to being afraid of socialized medicine, and wanting to make sure that if someone can afford to pay money to health insurance companies, they pay that money. Thanks, GW! Glad somebody is looking out for those poor health insurance companies, protecting them from all those wicked parents who might otherwise use the money to buy their kids food or toys or something!

Seriously, I think we all know that Cheney survives on a diet of live babies and Alberto Gonzales bathes in the blood of children before his congressional hearings, but is this the most evil-sounding administration we've ever had? It's like they should all have sinister mustaches that they can twirl at their media conferences, or maybe Bush could create a Cabinet level Minister of Tying Helpless Young Women to Railroad Tracks.

Yeah, I'm exaggerating a bit. I have to laugh so I don't cry at what our nation's government has been reduced to.

On the bright side, at least there's one less bridge to Nowhere, Alaska being built with taxpayer money. On the down side, Ted Stevens (who may in fact be Dana Carvey doing his "Cranky Old Man" sketch from SNL as performance art) still represents Alaska, so they seem no less stupid a state than they did when they were building a $400 million bridge for 50 people to use.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fall Season: K-Ville & Chuck

Wow, is the Fall season looking bleak. There's literally nothing new I'm really looking forward to. I have Bionic Woman and Journeyman sitting on the Tivo thanks to Amazon Unbox, and nothing else to prevent me watching them, and I just can't work up the enthusiasm to watch. Even Pushing Daisies, which I expect to like, has two strikes against it: 1) I can easily see it being well-executed but not really what I'm looking for and 2) More importantly, even if it's good, it's probably going to have low ratings and get killed, as it sounds too weird to sell to the public.

I've seen two pilots thus far. I watched Chuck (thanks to Amazon Unbox) and thought it was OK. Mildly diverting. Had a couple mild chuckle-worthy moments. But the plots aren't smart enough, the action isn't compelling enough, the humor isn't sharp enough... it's solid, just this side of mediocre. And opposite How I Met Your Mother, so I doubt I'll be watching unless I start hearing a lot of rave reviews.

Tonight I watched K-Ville. I really wanted to like this one. It's got a good cast, reasonably solid direction, a *great* setting and production look... but it's some of the most cliched cop show writing I've seen. Worse, it's like they're trying to get every bit of New Orleans flavor in there in the most forced, cringe-worthy of ways. Inside of the first five minutes, I had heard just about every cop and New Orleans cliche there is. And there are two utterly pointless, utterly dull car chases. And With better writing, this show could be to New Orleans what The Shield is to L.A. But based on that pilot, I'm not holding my breath. It's not a bad show... it's just a disappointingly OK show, and up against Heroes, that isn't going to cut it. Alan Sepinwall has his review here, and he pretty much nails it.

Damn It!

I can't afford an XBox 360 *and* a Wii! Why must the videogame gods be so cruel as to have two awesome games, each unique* to one system?

I mean, on the one hand, we have Rock Band... which I must own. Therefore I need a 360.

On the other, Lucasfilm has *finally* announced the no-brainer lightsaber duel game for the Wii, which also has that cool control system that I'm in love with and happens to be $100 cheaper than an XBox 360. Therefore I must have a Wii.

Of course, this ignores the larger issue that I can't really afford to buy either one. But damn it, I had finally resolved to get an XBox 360 and let the Wii go, and now I'm back to being undecided again!

*Yes, I know Rock Band is on PS3 as well. But the PS3 looks pretty weak, is super-expensive and doesn't have the impressive roster of other games that the 360 does. So it doesn't count. I was never even tempted by the PS3.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Weekly Comics to Come - September 19, 2007

Captain America #30 (A kickass action story, plenty of twists and turns, *and* plausible redemption for Iron Man? Brubaker is the *man*)
Dynamo 5 #7 (The latest issue of the best new superhero book since Invincible)
JLA Hitman #1 (Hitman is my favorite Ennis work... can Ennis and McCrea capture the magic? And more importantly, will sales be good enough to finally get this series traded up?)
Johnny Hiro #2 (First issue was off the wall fun with great art, I can't wait to read the next one)
Umbrella Academy Apocalypse Suite #1 (Teasers of this, in the Free Comic Book Day issue and DHP MySpace, have been pretty damn good)

30 Days Of Night Beyond Barrow #1 (Sienkiewicz doing the 30 Days riff? OK, I'll check that out)
30 Days Of Night Red Snow #2 (But I'm more excited about Ben Templesmith writing and drawing this WWII era of vampires, Russians and Nazis)
Annihilation Conquest Quasar #3 (How many comics feature a cosmic warrior riding her lesbian dragon lover into battle? Not enough, I say)
Captain America By Ed Brubaker Omnibus Vol 1 HC (I don't think I'm going to be able to resist this expensive hardcover. The Brubaker/Epting/Perkins Cap stuff has been great, and that's despite me not *wanting* to like a lot of the plot twists)
Cyblade Pilot Season #1 (Joshua Hale Fialkov writes, so I'll give this one a look)
Dr Thirteen Architecture And Morality TP (Obscure DC mystical characters in a buzzed-about story with Cliff Chiang art... I'll give it a look)
Flash #232 (Really enjoyed the first issue, looking forward to seeing where Waid goes with it)
Gods Of Asgard GN (Terrific indie graphic novel about the Asgardian gods)
Green Arrow Black Canary Wedding Special #1 (After all the build-up and two specials already, this better be pretty good... I'm expecting a bait-and-switch death that's gonna piss me off, honestly)
Highwaymen #4 (The best action comic not enough people are reading)
Marvel Adventures Avengers #16 (Hawkeye! Jeff Parker! Awesome!)
Marvel Comics Presents #1 (Still unsure about this one, but the Immonen's story looks very interesting from previews)
Terror Inc #2 (Dug the first issue, looking forward to the second)
Thunderbolts By Ellis Vol 1 Faith In Monsters HC (I'm waiting on the trade edition, but I really want to get this collected, it's one of my favorite Marvel series of the moment)
World War Hulk #4 (Looking forward to seeing more, hoping Sentry's presence won't ruin the whole thing)
Zero Killer #2 (First issue was merely OK... but I'm going to give it a second issue to hook me)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Weekly Comics to Come - September 12, 2007

Fear Agent Last Goodbye #3 (This flashback miniseries is brutal, but it's also a remarkably fun war/sci-fi book)
JLA Wedding Special #1 (Fantastic start to McDuffie's run on the book)
Potters Field #1 (A very promising and dark crime book from Mark Waid and Paul Azaceta)
Suicide Squad #1 (The magic is back, as Ostrander returns, joined by the Manhunter artist Javier Pina, to tell a lost tale of the Squad)
Walking Dead #42 (Terrific issue, with a hell of an ending)

The Arrival GN (Looks gorgeous, seems weirdly out of place with the rest of Graphix's imprint)
Booster Gold #2 (Just like the first issue... wordy slog of a first half, light fun in the second half)
BPRD Killing Ground #2 (Fantastic character developments, beautiful art)
Daredevil #100 (Interesting use of multiple artists, decent issue but the book is slipping a bit for me)
Essential Punisher Vol 2 TP (I fondly remember about half the stories in this book... kind of looking forward to reading the rest of them)
DMZ #23 (Standalone issue about a graffiti artist in NYC, pre- and post-war)
Drafted #1 (Disappointing first issue, but it's still a promising series)
Fables #65 (The Flycatcher story rolls on, with some great revelations and terrific moments throughout)
Hellboy Vol 7 The Troll Witch & Others TP (I'm still a trade or two behind on Hellboy... need to catch up)
Jack Of Fables #14 (I think I may have moved to reading in trade on this one)
Legend Of Grimjack Vol 8 TP (We're about to enter some of the weaker eras for Grimjack, but it's still good at the very least)
Marvel Adventures Hulk #3 (Want to read this one when I get a chance, #2 was a blast)
Nova #6 (A bit bummed by the ending, hoping it's a fakeout, but otherwise another solid issue of one of Marvel's best books)
Showcase Presents Batman And The Outsiders Vol 1 TP (Never read this book back in the day, but I'm interested in reading it now)
Star Trek Manga Vol 2 (Lots of creators I like on this one)
Star Wars Legacy #16 (Tons going on, not always in tune with it, but it has strong writing and art)
Star Wars Rebellion #10 (Either the end or nearing the end of the current crime/espionage story, which has been really good)
Thirteen Steps #1 (Weird, dark, quirky fun book about a werewolf in a monster self-help group)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Clowns Kick Nazi Ass

This is fucking awesome.

TV Thoughts - Midseason Post-Mortem & Fall Season Predictions

I did mention how much I hated the very idea of Kid Nation, right? I mean, I thought it wouldn't be possible for me to hate reality television more, so kudos to CBS for that one, at least, I guess.

So... midseason. Not as great as I'd hoped, but not bad. The Sopranos ending felt a little too precious and "look how clever I am" to me, and while I give David Chase full credit for guts, I also have little patience for these "it's more real" type endings, in whatever medium. Yeah, it's more real... guess what? You ain't writing reality. Fictional endings have resolutions, there's supposed to be payoff to all the build-up. Damages and Rescue Me both lost my interest well before the midway point. The 4400 is testing my patience with its comedic plotlines that we're clearly meant to take seriously (The Marked? A de-aging drink? Really?) and Big Love, though I watched it all the way through, has more or less lost me. I find almost every character (except Margene) to be completely compromised, and Bill, the lead, is a complete shitheel, which I don't think is what the producers want us to think.

Actually, HBO is dangerously close to getting canceled off my cable bill. Entourage is still (just barely) watchable, but nowhere near as engaging as it was, and I'm guessing it's going to get worse instead of better. Even if John From Cincinnati had come back for a second season, it wasn't must-see enough that I couldn't wait on DVD. Tell Me You Love Me, despite all the critical praise, bored the living hell out of me. The only thing HBO has left is Curb Your Enthusiasm, and I'm not sure that's enough for the monthly bill... I'll probably ride out the Curb season, and then if there's nothing promising on the horizon, HBO is gone.

Showtime might make a re-appearance, though. Weeds has been great thus far this season and I've heard good things about Dexter. The first episode of Californication didn't do much for me, but if Dexter wins me over, and if Showtime starts developing shows the way HBO did a few years ago, they might steal the pay TV spotlight for me. Best midseason show, though? Burn Notice, on USA, just the right side of cheesy with a terrific lead actor, just enough Bruce Campbell for flavor and plenty of clever spycraft courtesy of consulting producer Michael Wilson. Can't wait for it to come back from tennis-induced hiatus.

As for the fall season? Well, it looks kinda dire for new shows, but there are a lot of shows hitting their stride in second and third seasons, so it's not as bad as I thought. I first did this rundown based on information from the upfronts in late May, but I've seen and heard more on the shows by now, and some timeslots have changed, so here we go again.

Honestly? There's nothing I watch on this night. Good thing, as it'd be up against HBO's last remaining toehold in my interest, Curb Your Enthusiasm. But I might start watching Family Guy again, if it doesn't conflict with Curb.

8:00 p.m. How I Met Your Mother (CBS) - I've gone from "I could take or leave this show" to loving it, mostly from re-watching summer reruns and realizing how great the cast is and how good the comedic timing is. Entertainment Weekly had a great write-up in their Fall Preview by Whitney Pastorek that further cemented my interest. (September 24)

8:00 p.m.: Chuck (NBC) - I still like the basic concept of this one, still enjoyed the teaser, and the buzz is pretty solid. Unfortunately, it's been moved up against How I Met Your Mother. Fortunately, I have two Tivos, one in the office, one in the living room. Unfortunately, stuff that gets recorded only on the office Tivo sometimes doesn't get watched. And I like to have HIMYM on both Tivos, so I can re-watch in the office while on the computer. So Chuck *might* get a spot on the office Tivo, but if it doesn't grab me immediately, it'll lose out to HIMYM reruns. (September 24)

9:00 p.m. K-Ville (FOX) - Anthony Anderson in a cop drama set in New Orleans, and I really want to like that. But I'm sort of inclined to distrust FOX on new shows, since they're likely to cancel anything that's actually good, and why get invested. Also, and more of a deal-breaker, it's on opposite Heroes. Still, this one will get the same chance Chuck did on the office Tivo, and if it's great, it'll survive. It also gets the benefit of one week without Heroes competition, which means it gets a one-week tryout on the living room Tivo. (September 17)

9:00 p.m.: Heroes (NBC) - Every little bit of info about season two, from casting to plot hints, has me excited to see it again, despite the lame season finale. (September 24)

10:00 p.m.: Journeyman (NBC) - In my initial writeup, I said that I was getting a lame vibe, and I failed to figure out where lead actor Kevin McKidd came from. Now I know that McKidd played the tortured soldier Lucius Verenus in Rome, and I've seen some of the slick promo spots NBC has put together for this time-traveling drama, and I'm definitely intrigued. It also has no timeslot competition. So it gets a shot. (September 24)

9:00 p.m.: Reaper (CW) - I really wanted to abandon the CW after they abandoned Veronica Mars. But damn it, the geek buzz on this thing is huge. The pilot is directed by Kevin Smith, the production values make it look like a quirky Barry Sonnenfeld/Bryan Fuller show (although that show is actually Pushing Daisies, more on that later) and now that the timeslot competition of Chuck has been moved away, I'm definitely going to be watching. (September 25)

10:00 Cane (CBS) - I'm rooting for this to die so that Nestor Carbonell can get back to what will almost certainly be a more interesting role on Lost.

8:00 p.m.: Pushing Daisies (ABC) - Weird, intriguing premise, pushed over the top because the guy behind it is Bryan Fuller, of Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls. Pushed even further because of Barry Sonnenfeld's involvement. I love the tone these guys bring to their work, and I like the weird premise (guy whose touch can bring someone back to life, but then he can't touch them ever again without undoing the gift, and one of the first people he brings back is his girlfriend) and the comic book promo I picked up in San Diego. It's between this and Reaper as my most anticipated new show. (October 3)

8:00 p.m.: Back to You (FOX) - It sounds like an NBC show, with Kelsey Grammar and Patricia Heaton as co-anchors of a local news show, and it features Fred Willard, which is always a good sign. This is supposed to be a good, classic comedy, and it could win a place in my heart like How I Met Your Mother did. Since it starts a week early, on September 19, it has two weeks to earn a spot on my office Tivo before Pushing Daisies starts.

9:00 p.m.: Bionic Woman (NBC) - Buzz on this one has been disappointing, and I wasn't all that interested in the first place. It doesn't have any timeslot competition, though, so it'll get at least a couple episodes. But there's plenty to watch, and not enough time in the day, so if it isn't really good, it's gone. (September 26)

9:00 p.m.: Gossip Girl (CW) - A show about rich bitch girls and their trashy lives? Even having it narrated by Kristen Bell can't make me watch this, although if she was narrating it in character as Veronica Mars, calling these girls out for their inane lifestyles... well, that might do it. Happily, I can get my Bell fix on Heroes this season.

Must-See TV is back on NBC on Thursdays, much to my surprise. I don't think there's anything (even Lost and Heroes) that could tear me away from 30 Rock, The Office and Scrubs. Fortunately, there's nothing else worth watching on Thursday nights. Except Ugly Betty, which is reportedly good but doesn't really strike me as that interesting. I'm going to watch season one on DVD, though, and if I'm wrong, I'll watch season two on DVD as well... because there's no way I'm not watching 30 Rock. Oh, and America? If you choose "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?" over Earl and 30 Rock, I'm breaking up with you.

8-8:30 p.m.: My Name Is Earl (NBC) (September 27)
8:30-9 p.m.: 30 Rock (NBC) (October 4)
9-9:30 p.m.: The Office (NBC) (September 27)
9:30-10 p.m.: Scrubs (NBC) (October 25)

9:00 Friday Night Lights (NBC) - Goddamn, is this show good. I passed it up last season, just like everybody else, because I didn't have much interest in high school football. But after unanimous critical praise, putting it in the same box as "great TV nobody is watching" like Arrested Development, I gave the DVDs a shot by renting the first one from Netflix. After watching the first disc, I went out and bought the DVD set the next day, because I didn't want to wait for them to arrive in the mail. This is a fantastic show, well-written, well-acted and well-directed. This is a drama about football for people who don't care about (or even better, actually dislike) football. I'm a geek, and the jock is my natural enemy, and I'm still completely wrapped up in this drama of high school jocks, coaches and their families. Even more than Heroes, this is the drama I'm most looking forward to seeing back on the air. (October 5)

My predictions for the season, based largely on what I'm excited about?

BEST NEW HOUR-LONG: Pushing Daisies on ABC
BEST NEW SITCOM: Back To You on FOX (Admittedly, there's almost no competition for this slot)

BEST RETURNING SITCOM: 30 Rock (Although it's really a three-way tie with The Office and How I Met Your Mother)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Kid Nation

I'm reluctant to even mention CBS's vile new reality show Kid Nation for fear of accidentally making someone aware of it who was blissfully unaware, but look over here:

This is a column by Maureen Ryan, a TV critic at The Chicago Tribune, talking about the reprehensible show. She's eloquent, focused and dead on target. Never once does she call Kid Nation a pus-soaked wart on the ass of modern society. Or point out that making this show is a good sign of just how soulless the producers and executives of Kid Nation are. Or suggest that every single parent who was stupid and cruel enough to sign their kid up for this televised Darwinian experiment should be lined up against a wall and shot and their kids given over to someone who might have an interest in raising them instead of using them to git on the teevee.

In response to this strong-worded but restrained piece, there's a discussion that ensues wherein people present all kinds of strawmen argument about Boy Scout camp and kids being coddled and how "we haven't seen the show yet." It's not uncommon when reading the Internet to want to reach in and throttle some clueless commenter, but I have rarely seen it so frequent as in that thread, where every intelligent or even just sane voice is shouted down by two or three yahoos with a half-assed stupid opinion about not coddling kids by making sure that they don't drink bleach or light themselves on fire.

The parents who put their kids up for this show failed on the most basic level they could, and should really go out and kill themselves now. Really, it's for the good of our collective intelligence.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

I Love The Fratellis

It's been a stressful week, and I'm in for at least a couple more stressful ones in September. Busy time of year, lots of stuff going on, etc., etc.

But on the other hand, I finally went and bought The Fratellis album and I'll be damned... every song on it is good. Most are great. I can't remember the last time I had that reaction to an album. And then there's this video, which is all kinds of awesome:

Not just because the girls are hawt, but also because I have a fondness for the '40s pinup girl style cheesecake and also, the song is great. Oh, and since my good friend Nate Southard brought it up, I also like Los Lonely Boys. Didn't know they were from Austin, though. And I've only heard one of their songs (the one they were using on promos for Jeff Goldblum's short-lived show), so it's possible the rest of it is crap.

Weekly Comics to Come for 9/6/07

Buffy The Vampire Slayer #6 (Vaughan writing a story focused on Faith, one of my favorite characters in Buffy... looking forward to this)
DMZ Vol 3 Public Works TP (The best DMZ story so far... until the arc after it came up. Book keeps getting better and better)
Incredible Hulk #110 (One of the best Hulk stories I've read in the last ten years)
Lobster Johnson The Iron Prometheus #1 (The rare property where the spinoffs are actually just as good or better than the main book. Mignola keeps his hand on the reins, but brings in a terrific artist, Jason Armstrong, to handle the art on this pulp hero style book)
True Story Swear To God Image Ed #8 (Every issue is a delight)

30 Days Of Night Red Snow #1 (Ben Templesmith writes *and* draws this tale of WWII era bloodsuckers)
Annihilation Conquest Wraith #3 (Some nice moody space action after last issue's somewhat lackluster origin/torture issue)
Black Canary Wedding Planner (Sure to be a fun, if weird, offering)
Captain America Chosen #1 (I'm expecting hand-wringing post-9-11 boring Cap, but hoping for action from the writer of First Blood)
Infinity Inc #1 (Steel and his niece. I know, I'm yawning too... but it is written by Peter Milligan)
Iron Man Enter Mandarin #1 (Fun retro Iron Man story by Joe Casey, in the vein of his Earth's Mightiest Heroes, which is both good and bad. Terrific artwork by Eric Canete)
Lucha Libre #1 (Mexican wrestlers battle crime, art looks amazing... what's not to love?)
New Warriors #4 (Really good issue deepening the mystery of Who Is Night Thrasher?)
Punisher War Journal Vol 1 Civil War TP (Now I need to give this a re-read, since I'm digging Fraction's other Marvel work so much)
Sentences The Life Of M F Grimm HC (Preview art on this book about a rapper looked phenomenal)
Shanna She-Devil Survival Of The Fittest #2 (Kind of fun adventure comic, with 20% more cheesecake than most)
Sorrow #1 (This post-nuclear ghost story looks like fun, and has gorgeous covers)
Uncanny X-Men #490 (Brubaker's conspiracy/terrorist Morlock story has been pretty solid, better than his spacefaring storyline in my opinion)
Y The Last Man #58 (Only two more issues left after this one, and it's not keeping a monthly schedule, which is just mean)

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

I thought July was a good month for comics, but August might have actually been better. A couple books snuck in from the last week of July (like Immortal Iron Fist #7, which was amazing, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer #5, the best issue of that series so far), but mostly, it was great books crowding out other great books. There's a pretty good spread of most publishers, with 2 indies (Mouse Guard & Toupydoops), 2 Image (Dynamo 5 and Invincible) and 3 Dark Horse (BPRD, Hellboy & Buffy). DC bumps up to 5 if you count all their imprints (a lone book from the DCU, a lone book from Wildstorm and three from Vertigo) and Marvel once again really has its hooks in me, with 8 books, almost half of my top 20 for the month. Of those 8, two feature Ed Brubaker, two feature Matt Fraction and two feature Jeff Parker. Fair to say those three guys are in my top 10 writers of the moment. Probably the top five. As for the stuff that almost made the cut? There's well over a dozen, many of which easily would have made a Top 20 in a lighter month. McDuffie and Pelletier on Fantastic Four #548-549. Kirkman and Adlard on Walking Dead #40-41. Fear Agent Last Goodbye #2 was also great post-apocalypse action and survival tales. Brubaker's got Daredevil #99 and Captain America #29. New Warriors #3 offered up great twists and turns. Local #10 featured the Austin area and one of the few bars I've been to in town, Beerland. Usagi Yojimbo #104-105 were great as always. Spirit #9 started what is probably the over-arcing tale closing out the Cooke/Bone run. Green Arrow Year One #3-4 continued a strong bi-weekly story. Annihilation Conquest Quasar #2 and Wraith #2 were pretty solid reads. And then there were the debuts, like Brit #1, Flash #231 and Terror Inc. #1, all fun stuff.

There are only a couple graphic novels that didn't make the cut this month, Shannon Wheeler's Screw Heaven, When I Die I'm Going to Mars from Dark Horse and Rose & Isabel Parts One and Two by Ted Mathot, which I finally got around to finishing. Both were very good, but didn't quite bump out any of the other good stuff I read this month. My desire to actually read books again has cut into my comics-reading (and TV-watching, and videogame-playing) time, and this month I read The Golden Compass (very good) and Kitchen Confidential (very funny and interesting, and man could I not be a chef). Next month I'll probably read the next two books in His Dark Materials trilogy, the new Greg Rucka novel Patriot Acts, and maybe start on the Alton Brown book I'm Just Here For The Food that I bought my wife for her birthday a couple years back.

In August, I started to watch Mad Men, based on a number of critics I like who loved it, but I just couldn't get into it. I really enjoyed the first episode, and the look and feel of the period is great, but I stopped and started the second episode about six times and just couldn't stay engaged. I gave up on a lot of shows this month, actually. I realized, with three episodes on the Tivo and no particular interest in watching them, that it was probably time to go ahead and give up on Rescue Me. I finished John From Cincinnati, although just barely, and I think my final estimation is that it's a mediocre show with genius in it. I invested a fair amount of time and got zero payoff. If JFC were actually the reason HBO canceled Deadwood (and it isn't), I'd have been pretty pissed. I have watched the first episode of Damages, which I'd qualify as "OK," but never got around to watching the remaining episodes on my Tivo, which means I probably never will. And Entourage is just barely hanging on, I'm watching purely on momentum now, same with Big Love (although that show is demonstrably superior, I just don't have as much intrinsic interest in the premise)... HBO better come up with something impressive in their next crop of shows, or, despite my love for HBO On Demand, I might go back to DVD spot watching those few shows they have that interest me, like Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Especially since Showtime has Weeds, which kicked off a great third season. True, Californication was weak, but I hear good things about Dexter, and two great shows could overshadow HBO at the moment. Especially since I haven't seen much The Wire, and thus I've got tons of seasons of that on DVD when I finally get time to sit down and give it the attention it deserves. I was also pleased to see Alton Brown's Feasting on Asphalt return for a second season. Burn Notice continued to grow on me, and is probably my favorite show of the moment. So of course, it's going on hiatus until tennis season (or whatever) is over, several weeks from now. I'm a little less enthused about The 4400 on USA, although as of right now I'm still watching it. And of course, I sprinkle viewings of Daily Show, Colbert Report and Countdown throughout.

I added a ton of new links to the RSS feeds this month, helped a great deal by post-San Diego linkblogging and business cards gained during the show. Added feeds for a half-dozen artists, new comic blogs from Marc-Oliver Frisch, Laura Hudson, Bahlactus, Jason Michelitch, Valerie D'Orazio and my first ever video podcast from Blair Butler. Added another TV critic from the Chicago Tribune via links from the TV critics I already read, and added feeds for CNN Politics (2008 election stuff is starting to piss me off, which means it must be time to become more avid in following it) and realized that I had somehow lost the feed for Whitney Matheson's excellent pop culture blog Pop Candy when I migrated over to Google Reader in the first place. Even better, she's got a podcast, too! Oh, and I figured out how to share my feeds from Google reader, so each category now has a link to the shared feed.