Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Resolution #1: Freak Out Less

I think I make this one every year. But I'm starting early with this one, because Diamond has, with the help of UPS, managed to turn a Friday comics delivery day (already a recipe for reduced sales) into a following Monday comics delivery day (a recipe for apocalyptically bad sales).

Here's what generally happens. On a late release day, which happens seemingly every couple of months thanks to various holidays, and pushes comics to Thursday, we generally lose about a grand in sales. Where do they go? I don't know. But mostly it seems that folks who are more casual about their comics buying, or who might have picked up a few extra books, don't come in that week at all, opting for a "double helping" on the next Wednesday (which, due to budget realities, usually means more of a "helping and a half", and a bunch of add-on comics that might have sold don't sell) or they come in.

A Friday, when the next comics day is looming closer, is even worse. A Monday, when there's a new comic day two days later? I'm gonna guess that a large majority will go ahead and wait it out, and we've effectively lost a Wednesday. Worse, we get pick-up sales on those books on Thursday, Friday and the weekend. Those are now gone as well. Now it's not like we have nothing to sell... we'll still sell graphic novels, comics that had already come in, games, etc... but as with everything, the new is what drives things, and a bunch of books that would have sold on Friday may not sell at all. Crazy as it is, every day a new comic is late, it's value decreases.

Especially in a town where two other comics shops are chains, and thus get the benefit of early shipping, so they *will* have their books on Friday.

Diamond "regrets the error" but isn't offering anything to make up for this money loss, not even free shipping on the books that are now shipping out three days late.

Diamond and UPS are two of the most important parts of my business... I interact with each of them at least twice a week, and one of those times (the weekly comics drop) is literally life-and-death for the business. And if they screw up, as they do on a monthly basis (in small and sometimes big ways), my only recourse is... to get frustrated. Which earns me nothing, and hurts them not at all.

Thus the resolution to freak out less. I'm not going to let the fact that I probably just lost a couple grand in sales kill my enjoyment of my New Year's Eve party, and I'm going to try real hard not to worry about it all weekend.

But if all of you could spare a moment or two over the four-day weekend to mutter "Fucking Diamond" under your breath, you'll probably be syncing up with me at some point. ;)

Monday, December 29, 2008

This Headline

GOP reaction divided over controversial Obama song

Pretty much says everything you need to say about the modern GOP, doesn't it?

To their credit, *most* of them are smart enough to distance themselves from this, but a couple are actually trying to defend it as "political satire."

Oh, and the song originated with Rush Limbaugh. Shocker.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


In the spirit of the holiday, I will say that I do not currently wish for The Spirit to tank so badly that it ends the film career of Frank Miller and prevents him from ever touching Will Eisner's character or (God forbid) makes the awful Buck Rogers movie he wants to make.

But ask me again on Friday and I'll have a different answer. :)

At any rate, what I think hardly matters, because so far, the critics seem to be delivering the smackdown you might have expected from the terrible trailers for The Spirit we've been seeing.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Best Of 2008 - Music

It's time for Best Of lists, and while I'm not quite as on top of these kinds of things as I usually am, I was reading the picks by Alex Robinson and I was surprised to see that he had a few of my picks on there, and it reminded me that I've gotten a fair amount of music that I liked this year.

I don't listen to the radio ever, I don't watch MTV, so most of my music comes from a sort of weird osmosis of stuff I see on TV shows, picks by friends, folks I read online, freebies from iTunes or Amazon or occasionally Rock Band or similar games. I don't tend to pick up full albums, and I've always been more of a singles guy than an album guy, so I'm picking by song rather than by album or band. So here are my favorite new songs of the year, in no particular order:

Borneo - Firewater (I believe this was an Amazon free download. Nice little poppy, big band-ish song with a bit of political commentary on the Iraq War thrown in)

Loose Lips - Kimya Dawson (and the entire Juno soundtrack, actually. I'm not sure if this actually came out in 2008 or 2007, but I was really pleased with this music. Recommendation courtesy of my friend Jamie... thanks, Jamie!)

Handlebars - Flobots (Loved this whole album as well. I know Handlebars is the single that most will know, and it's probably cooler to pick a more obscure track, but this one is still my favorite track off the whole album. Anne Braiden is a close second. Recommendation from my friend and customer at the store Ray Brister. Thanks, Ray!)

Lake Pontchartrain - Ludo (Great little horror story in song form, has a Cthulhu type vibe to it. Got this one from a mix CD by my friend Jason Murphy. Thanks, Jason! This album also has Go Getter Greg, a funny little stalker song. These guys do great lyrics.)

Your California - Parker Brothers (Another Amazon free download, this is an upbeat song that reminds me a bit of the Presidents of the United States)

More Bad Times - Presidents of the United States (Speaking of... I've always liked these guys, but aside from "Cleveland Rocks" from Drew Carey, never had any of their stuff. Rock Band 2 spurred an interest in them, so I picked up a few singles and the new album, and this was my favorite song off the new album, which I generally liked)

Shut Up And Let Me Go - Ting Tings (This one was a recommendation by Cameron Stewart on his blog... thanks, Cameron! I like the whole album, but this one is a favorite, and my daughter loves it too... she sings along, which is adorable)

The Greatest Man That Ever Lived - Weezer (I know a lot of folks were down on this album, just like they were on the last one, but I liked about half of it quite a bit, and find most of the rest listenable, at least. This is my favorite of the bunch. This was also the only album I found with no help from anyone. New Weezer or Foo Fighters will always be on my radar.)

I also bought the new Fratellis album, and while it was OK, it was a disappointment compared to the consistent greatness of their debut. And I bought a bunch of stuff spurred on by Rock Band 2 that has been out forever, including Joan Jett, Journey, Rage Against the Machine and The Clash.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rick F*%^#ing Warren?

I'm on record as giving the President-Elect a chance to at least get into office before we start criticizing his policy decisions. But inauguration decisions, those seem like fair game.

And this... well, this makes me as angry as anything Sarah Palin ever said. I've been annoyed at the overly conciliatory tone the Democrats (and Obama) have taken with their foes in the media and the political arena, but I was willing to swallow my own sense of revenge in the name of moving forward in a positive direction.

But you sit a guy who is so vehemently anti-gay, so vehemently anti-choice, so much the embodiment of making yourself rich and famous off of the faith of others, and turning that faith into a weapon against those who disagree with you... well...

It's just a slap in the face. It is, at the very least, a dick move.

I still believe a President Obama is going to be better than a President McCain or *shudder* President Palin... but this is disappointing. Bordering on crushing.

On most days, I can accept that religion is for some people... I have a close friend who leads a congregation, and most of my family is in church of one kind or another. But there are also days when I wish that organized religion would completely vanish from the planet, never to be seen again. This has become one of those days.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Santa Thing

I know a lot of parents (and many of those who aren't parents, but want to tell people how they should raise their kids) have some unease about the whole Santa thing.

If you want to boil it down, Santa is really lying to your kids for an extended period of years, setting them up for disappointment when they discover that he's not real. But he's also an expression of the magic that's still in the world when you're a kid.

Myself, I have no such ambiguity. I didn't hesitate to start the Santa tradition with my daughter. Everyone is in such a hurry to get kids to grow up and start accepting reality these days, and while there's a certain amount of reality you've got to dose them with in order to keep them safe (the whole "distrust strangers" thing really introduces the notion of other people being unsafe, but unfortunately, a lot of other people *are), there's no need to rob them of a magical world. It's OK, even preferable, when you're a kid, to believe in fairie princesses and dragons and robots and aliens and Santa and the Easter Bunny and all that cool shit.

The trick is, if you *don't* believe this, and you tell your kid there's no Santa, then not only are you robbing your kid of Santa, you are potentially robbing other kids of it as well. Because there is *nothing* that kids who don't believe in Santa love more than spreading that disbelief to others. So while I understand folks who say "I don't want to lie to my children," I can't help but be a bit annoyed that they're making it more difficult for those of us who do want our kids to believe in Santa for a bit longer.

Of course, there are some who can't afford the presents, and have to tell their kids Santa isn't real to avoid disappointing them by having a Santa who can't deliver them the promised presents for being good. I've got sympathy there. But in general, I'm very pro-Santa.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Weekly Comics to Come - December 17th, 2008

Naoki Urasawas Monster Vol 18 (Finally! The long awaited conclusion to Urasawa's suspense masterpiece)
Spider-Man Noir #1 (X-Men Noir was surprisingly good... Hine's Marvel track record isn't as good with me as Van Lente's, but I'll definitely give this a read)
Thunderbolts #127 (Seems clear from the Dark Avengers solicits that Diggle's Thunderbolts will be having some major status quo changes... so I'll definitely keep checking in for a few issues to see how it shakes out)
Uncanny X-men #505 (Possibly my favorite non-Abnett/Lanning Marvel book of the moment. I can't believe I'm loving X-Men again)
Walking Dead #56 (Slowed down for #50, but has picked up speed with each issue, and it's at the top of my favorites again)

Dark Reign New Nation (Not excited about Bendis's Dark Reign, but I like a lot of the creators on this one, and I like War Machine, Agents of Atlas, etc.)
Fables #79 (Lost something for me at #75, but four issues later, I'm still at least interested enough to see where it goes next)
Impaler #1 (Enjoyed this one when it came out, but super-lateness may have killed it... still, I'll give it another chance to win me back)
Star Wars Legacy Vol 4 Alliance TP (Read 1-3 of this recently and really enjoyed it)
Terminator Revolution #1 (In a major Terminator mood lately, so I'll probably check this out)
Warhammer 40k Exterminatus Vol 1 TP (Another great tale of the dark Warhammer universe from Boom!)
Wormwood Gentleman Corpse Down Pub (Templesmith's Wormwood outings are always fun, and the one-shots in particular seem to serve the character well)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Blog Update for November 2008

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

With the disappointing solicits for Dark Reign, this might be the last month that Marvel dominates this strongly. Honestly, given that DC is still sucking the life out of the room, it might also be the last month I manage even close to a Top 20, unless the indie guys can really step it up. But this month, there are 6 Marvel (One actually a Secret Invasion tie-in, the rest clear of that particular crapfest), 5 Dark Horse (The only four issue ones on the list), 3 Image, 3 Boom! and 2 DC (both making it on the strength of it being a weak month).

Finished the second Song of Ice & Fire novel this month, and I'm hoping to start the third one in December. Caught up on a bunch of TV, though. The Daily Show is back in daily rotation, and I'm really enjoying it lately... clearly the election of an actually competent man hasn't hurt them too badly. Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles is one of my favorite shows and, aside from the "Self-Made Man" episode, this month continued to impress. The Shield finished on an amazing note. Still really loving Chuck, and the three-parter with his ex-girlfriend was particularly good. How I Met Your Mother finally regained some of its funny, especially with the "Naked Man" episode. And The Office and 30 Rock continue to delight as well. Always Sunny was, overall, a disappointing season, but it was still funny enough. Oh! And the new Brave and Bold is a ton of fun.

I've been spending wayyy too much time reading RSS feeds lately, so it was time to do some pruning. Blog@Newsarama and Comics Foundry both folded, and the new Blog@ team hasn't won me over, so I'll check in more casually until they do. Newsarama and CBR seem to carry much the same stories as far as news, and feature content rarely interests me, so I'll keep Newsarama for the daily comics scan, and The Beat for the more widespread (and snarky) comics news.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Weekly Comics to Come - December 10, 2008

Let's see if I can actually update this weekly through December.

Courtney Crumrin And Prince Of Nowhere TP (Always a treat, new Courtney by Ted Naifeh)
Nova Annihilation HC (Oversized hardcover of the Abnett/Lanning Nova series? Yes, please!)
Phonogram 2 #1 (McKelvie's art actually looks even better than his last two projects, and I'm curious to check this out and see if I can make heads or tails of the story without the necessary musical background)
Warhammer 40k Fire & Honor #4 (Concluding the latest Warhammer book from Boom! - or maybe there's one more to go? Good, at any rate)
Wonderful Wizard Of Oz #1 (Eric Shanower writes the Wizard of Oz, from the beginning. Skottie Young's art style on it looks intriguing as well)

Booster Gold #15 (This is on my "take it or leave it" list, which usually means I'll stop reading it soon, but on a light week, I'll still give it a read)
Final Crisis #5 (Yes, it's a little nonsensical, but in a more interesting way than Secret Invasion, which is painful even to skim read)
Justice League Of America #27 (On the upside, the Milestone characters return and Dwayne McDuffie is writing. On the downside, the DCU is lame/annoying as hell lately thanks to editorial direction/crossover-itis, and I'm no fan of Ed Benes's art)
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 1 Legacy HC (Love this book, hate Marvel's premiere hardcovers... so I'll wait for the trade)

Friday, December 05, 2008

Why I Hate Congress (Even The Democratic One)

Barney Frank offers up this little nugget for President-Elect Obama. You know, the guy who has been putting together his administration faster and more effectively than we've seen in decades? The guy who has put together a pretty amazing cabinet thus far, who is getting kudos from a majority of the public in polls pretty much whenever he announces something?

"He's going to have to be more assertive than he's been," House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., told consumer advocates Thursday.

"At a time of great crisis with mortgage foreclosures and autos, he says we only have one president at a time," Frank said. "I'm afraid that overstates the number of presidents we have. He's got to remedy that situation."

Well, that's very glib, Congressman. But hey, isn't asking the guy not yet in power, who is trying to observe the Constitution, to "get more assertive" a bit hypocritical when you and your idiot cronies are the ones who gave Paulson a blank check to further fuck up the economy?

The speed with which the liberal blogosphere and the Democrats in Congress have turned on their new party leader, *before he's even in office*, is astounding. Are we *so* determined to put the Republicans back in office that we're going to undermine our leader a full month and a half before he's even sworn in? Even when pretty much every indicator is that he's on a pretty solid path?

Look, I get a little cautious needling and questioning around the edges. But there seems to be this huge panic that Obama isn't doing whatever they want him to do right this minute, even if he's *legally prevented from doing so.* I'm not a "My President, right or wrong" kind of guy. If Obama turns out not to be able to do this, then hey, yeah, call him on the carpet.

But at least let the guy get to standing up before you try to cut him off at the knees. We elected him to lead, let's see if he can lead, huh?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Blind Man and the Elephant

There is a tendency on the Internet, especially the comics-related portion thereof, to take little tidbits of information and draw from that absolutely irrefutable conclusions that have no basis in reality. These conclusions, unfortunately, often wind up getting reinforced on other message boards, become "common wisdom," and help shape buying patterns to the point that they can help make their original premise become true.

I believe that's happening, to some extent, with the meme going around the comics blogosphere that layoffs at Devil's Due and Tokyopop, and the closing of Comics Foundry, are indicators of the recession hitting comics.

Well, yes. To some extent, it's pretty clear that the timing is related somewhat to the recession where the layoffs are concerned. But keep in mind that both Tokyopop and Devil's Due have had more than their share of rough blows this year, from losing prominent licenses to a shrinkage of interest in manga (especially OEL manga), and the recession is, at best, a *contributing* factor. Maybe not even the major contributing factor.

But hey, that's fair enough. What I don't get is all the people pointing to Comics Foundry closing its doors, when Tim Leong couldn't have been clearer about saying in his press release that "It's not about the money." He's just got a full-time job that takes too much time to continue. They're refunding subscribers the remainder of their subscription fees. This is not the mark of a company closing because financial realities of the recession closed them down.

Sure, you can argue that if Comics Foundry were making huge money, Leong would have given up his other job, but I'd say two things:

1) Nobody in comics journalism is ever, ever going to make huge money.

2) His other job involves photography of and interviews with amazingly hot, often famous, no doubt very interesting people. Seriously, no matter how much you love comics, which would you choose?

So all you chicken littles need to chill the fuck out. It's worth keeping an eye on the growth of digital media, the worrying increase in comics prices and the event fatigue that neither of the big two seem to have caught on yet, as well as dozens of other little problems, but... the recession is not the anvil coming down on our heads. It's just another headache to keep track of in the always interesting (in the Chinese curse sense of the word) world of the comics industry.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Weekly Comics to Come - Three Weeks' Worth

Wow, I've been neglecting this blog. Haven't posted in over a week. Hopefully I'll be able to remedy that soon. At any rate, here's my last three weeks of comics buying/reading:

Week of December 4th
Criminal 2 #7 (This series continues to delight, and even though I think it reads better in trades, I haven't slipped to trade-only reading with it because I can't wait that long)
Hellboy Wild Hunt #1 (More Mignola-Fegredo should be good, as I thought their previous team-up was the best Hellboy had been in years)
Proof Vol 2 TP (This book has fallen into trade-only reading for me, but I am anxiously awaiting reading the trade, based on the issues I had read)
Supergirl Cosmic Adventures In The 8th Grade #1 (All-ages friendly Supergirl. Great idea, love the creative team, can't wait to read this to my daughter)
X-men Noir #1 (Looks like fun, actually. A weird sort of concept, but promising)

Marvels Eye Of Camera #1 (I don't really believe Busiek can re-capture the Marvels magic, but I have to see if I'm wrong)
Wasteland Book 3 TP (Another "trade only" read for me, and I'm anxious to see what I've been missing)

Week of November 26th

Guardians Of Galaxy #7 (Great last-page reveal, nice status quo shake-up, the usual great art and moment-to-moment writing)
Nova #19 (Also a great status quo shake-up, also nice art, love the use of the aliens)
Secret Invasion X-Men #4 (Surprisingly good X-Men mini, despite the Secret Invasion tie-in)
Umbrella Academy Dallas #1 (Great opener. Actually stronger than the opener for the last series)
Walking Dead #55 (Really digging this book right now. Love the new characters, and that ending is a heartbreaker)

Incredible Hercules #123 (Remains one of the most fun Marvel comics at the moment)
Mesmo Delivery Vol 1 TP (Beautiful art, strange story, a great read)
Mouse Guard Winter 1152 #4 (Music in comics is a pet peeve of mine, but even with that, it's just good to see this book again)
Warhammer 40k Exterminatus #5 (Pretty solid finale to another impressive Warhammer outing from Boom!)
Welcome To Hoxford #4 (Haven't gotten around to reading it, but I'll probably just wait, since I know I'm buying the trade and that'll make the ending a surprise)
X-men First Class Band Of Brothers TP (Upon re-reading, remembered why I have such a fondness for this book, even if it's dimmed a bit of late)

Week of November 19th

Crogans Vengeance HC (Fantastic. Beautiful cartooning, excellent (but not overwhelming) research, good characters, one of the best graphic novels I've read all year, and super-ambitious)
Dynamo 5 #18 (Another solid superhero outing)
Fables Vol 11 War And Pieces TP (Good conclusion to the series. Yeah, I know it continues, but I *might* be done with buying the trades as of this issue, as it's such a good stopping point)
Uncanny X-men #504 (This has been really good of late, and I actually could see myself buying it in trade, the first mainstream X-Men I will have bought in years. Dodson really stepped up with his art here, too)
Walking Dead Vol 4 HC (Wow, the brutality of this arc comes into even sharper relief when you read the issues preceding it with all the proper dread)

Love And Capes TP (Thom Zahler's fun superhero romance gets a swanky-looking trade)
Thunderbolts #126 (Not the slam-bang opener I was hoping for, but solid enough to keep me reading for a couple more issues)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Help the Hoffmans

This has been around the blogosphere a couple days, but if you haven't already seen it, go and read this at Blog@Newsarama. This is not directly comics-related, it's much more important.

To sum up, Carla Hoffman, who many will know from her contributions to Blog@Newsarama, along with her husband, Lance, were caught in the fires in California. They both received severe burns. The good news is that, medically, it seems like they're going to be all right. The bad news is they still lost their home, and they will no doubt have some hefty medical bills.

As noted in the article, there is a fund set up to help them:

The Lance and Carla Burn Fund
Santa Barbara Bank and Trust
1483 East Valley Road
Montecito, CA 93108-1248

I've met Carla only briefly, at this year's San Diego, but I can tell you that she is remarkably nice, and passionate about comics, and she not only writes about them but she works on the front lines of comics retail. She is, in short, one of the good ones. The comics community has always been remarkably generous when it comes to helping those in our community who need a hand, so I'm hoping the same will be true now. Especially given the current economy and how near we are the holidays, which makes this hit all the more hard.

Can Someone Explain the Appeal of Joe Lieberman?

I wish I could say that I'm surprised that the Dems decided to keep Lieberman not only in the caucus, but at the head of the Homeland Security Commission, where he's been complicit in malfeasance in New Orleans, Iraq and elsewhere by not investigating any wrong-doing after Katrina, or by Blackwater, or indeed seemingly anything.

But if history has shown us anything, it's that the Democratic Congress and House of Representatives seems to have little to no balls at all. I mean, the Republicans may be the enemy of almost everything I stand for, but Jesus, at least they have the cojones to stand up and fight for what they believe. All too often, the Democrats have just knuckled under, calling it "compromise" and "bi-partisanship."

So in that spirit, let me just ask: What do we, the Democrats, gain by having Lieberman there? Was it so important to keep him in the caucus that they couldn't risk him getting mad and bolting after pulling his chairmanship? Is he so convincing a figure that his vote actually equals a half-dozen votes or more? Does he always bring the best potato salad to the Democratic/Connecticut for Lieberman two-party barbecues?

The talking points against this have been "We shouldn't be seeking revenge, it goes against the message." But this was never about revenge. Sure, some of us (OK, me) who have always disliked Lieberman's censorship happy, pro-Iraq War, right-leaning version of Democratic policy were incensed by his actions during the Presidential election. But... we won. His smears against Obama didn't work, and he was ultimately as helpful to John McCain winning the White House as he was to Al Gore in 2000.

But I've seen lots of arguments that we *shouldn't* strip him of his chairmanship, that we shouldn't kick him out of the caucus... can anyone tell me why? What exactly does he bring to the table? Is it just a matter of "We're showing that we can be the bigger person?," which is childish and naive political policy? Is "Because Joe might get mad at us?" really enough to make the Dems back down? And if so, just what is it going to take for Senate and House Dems to grow a pair? I don't want a replay of the last 8 years, where the Republicans controlled all three branches of government and still complained about being the minority party. The Dems won. They've got Executive and Legislative Branches all but sewn up. But if they're going to act like the Republicans and their allies (which Lieberman is, let's be honest) are still calling the shots, then what was the point of the election?

Further (Nicer) Thoughts on D&D Minis

Despite my impassioned rant (and remember, Internet anger equals about a third of real anger) against the new Demonweb set, I did pick up four boxes, just to see what I'd get. There were a few minis I wanted in the set, and I wanted to see if I would wind up with tons of mushrooms, etc.

Well, yes and no. The fact is, having bought four boxes, I got a half dozen minis I thought were pretty cool, and only a few that I thought were ridiculous. Only one Kruthik, two "Scythejaws" (what the hell are these? When will I use them) and two Guard Drakes, which would have been handy for the 1st level adventure I ran a couple months ago, but are almost useless now.

I got four rares in four boxes. One was a Girallon, which was annoying because I already have two, and also because the new Girallon mini is kind of ugly. The others, though, were without exception pretty nice. The red and brown-colored Autumn Ranger is a nice piece, and should make a great mini for one of my players. A Black Dragon is always welcome (even though I've already got about three, of varying sizes, from other sets). But my favorite was the *massive* Brutal Ogre Warhulk. You put that solid piece of plastic down on the table, your PCs are going to know they're in for a fight. It's bigger than the dragon, and has some nice detail as well.

The other standouts were the new Warforged (pretty nice, although not really useful to me until 2009 when Eberron returns) and the Drow Assassin. I've got lots of drow, but this is a really nice mini.

I'm not sure how many I'll buy out of this set. I dodged most of the ones I didn't want (the Slaad, the evil mushroom, the sarcophagus, the kruthik) and there are only a few in the set I'd really like to get (the Rakshasa assassin and the Cyclops, both rare, and the common Hobgoblin Warcaster). I'll probably try a couple more, but the odds of getting something I don't want have gone up, since I had a pretty good early pull.

So I take back a little bit of the venom I slung at this set a few days back. But I still think it's beyond stupid that there are no Uncommon or Common Dragonborn, and even moreso that all the Dragonborn they've presented have been variations on the paladin and fighter.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Weekly Comics to Come - November 12, 2008

BPRD The Warning #5 (Concluding the latest series with some great apocalyptic visions, and Guy Davis, amazingly, just continues to get better and better)
Naoki Urasawa's Monster Vol 17 (The penultimate volume! Can't wait to see how this all turns out)
Walking Dead #54 (Back on an upswing for me, with new characters, a new direction and... an explanation for how the zombies came about? Unexpected, but cool)
Warhammer 40k Exterminatus #4 (Inquisitor vs. Chaos - very cool 40K stuff, would be my favorite this week except...)
Warhammer 40k Fire & Honor #3 (This, the Imperial Guard (read: tough as hell army regulars with tanks) vs. evil Tau conspiracy on a planet they were supposed to defend. Very cool sci-fi military action.)

Booster Gold #14 (Time-traveling battles versus Starro, guest starring Girl Chronos. Kind of fun, actually)
Cleaners #1 (Interesting premise, nice art, crime scene clean-up crew faces the supernatural)
Fables #78 (New villain is kind of... meh. I'm still reading, but I think for me Fables ended at #75)
Push #1 (Pretty solid little psychic military adventure... beautiful Jock cover)
Warhammer Crown Of Destruction #2 (Kieron Gillen's Warhammer fantasy comic continues to impress, although I'm not as certain of the artwork, two issues on... it's a little stiff and uneven)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Few Thoughts on George R.R. Martin and Game of Thrones

Last night, I finished reading the second volume of the Song of Fire & Ice, A Clash of Kings. I loved it, as much as I enjoyed Game of Thrones a few months back. It's been awhile since I got drawn into a fantasy series, but Fire & Ice is fantastic. Now I've got two more books to read until I'm caught up, although I'm afraid to catch up, because the fifth book isn't planned for availability until April, and who knows how long I'll have to wait until six and seven get finished after that.

I've actually been a fan of Martin's since his work on the Wild Cards book series when I was younger. But Game of Thrones is even better, a really fully fleshed-out world with great characters and stronger moment-to-moment writing than most fantasy novels offer. So I was excited when it was announced that HBO had the option to adapt the seven novels into seven seasons of television, and today they announced that they've green-lighted the pilot. I am of course nervous about the series' chances, given the traditionally high cost of fantasy and HBO's history with shows like Deadwood and Rome, but I'm also super-excited to see what happens.

I'm also anxiously awaiting the late Green Ronin Fire & Ice role-playing game, and hoping it'll be out in the next couple of weeks.

But... the announcement of the HBO pilot got linkage everywhere, and Blog@Newsarama linked to Martin's blog, which I followed. And not only is the guy a great writer with at least two great series under his belt (one as co-writer/co-editor, one as sole creator), but he's also a big, outspoken Obama fan.

Unlike Orson Scott Card, another well-known author who, it should be remembered, is a homophobic douchebag.

A Non-Political Aside About Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures

This post is aimed at the extremely niche readership that cares about D&D gaming. A lot. Too much, really. Everybody else should probably just wait for my next post praising Obama or bitching about Prop 8. ;)

Some minor waves went through the gaming community lately, when Wizards of the Coast announced that they were discontinuing the skirmish element of their miniatures line, changing up the packaging and, oh yeah, jacking up the price a bit.

But, judging based on their last random pack set, Demonweb, I say "Bring on the new, ungodly expensive but hopefully more focused set!"

One of the biggest requests we've gotten at my shop, since 4th edition? Dragonborn miniatures. They were the big new race in 4th edition, and there are tons of folks playing Dragonborn. Paladins, Warriors, Wizards, Clerics, everything. Do you know how many Dragonborn miniatures there were in the first 4th edition set, Against the Giants?

Two. And they were rare. Both were fighter types.

OK, so surely they'll rectify that in the next set, right? Well, behold the gallery.

There are two more. One is another frikkin' paladin, the other is a very specific, barely usable epic-looking dude with wings. And they are both rare.

You know what's uncommon, which means you'll get one every couple of packs? Well, there's a warforged, despite the fact that they haven't reintroduced the warforged yet (save in a Dragon article) and Eberron won't even be out until 2009. There's a fucking evil mushroom. Let me tell you, if I'm a consumer, every time I open a pack of expensive plastic miniatures and not only don't get the dragonborn warlock that I've been playing for several months, but I get another fucking evil mushroom? My head's gonna explode.

There are a ton of wildly specific, mostly unusable miniatures in this set. Another Girallon? Seriously? Who at WOTC has a hard-on for four-armed gorillas? Kruthik? Goddamn Kruthik? Who even uses Kruthik, except for those of us running the modules written by folks at WOTC who think people give two shits about the Kruthik? And I'd happily use little red glass beads to represent Kruthik if you'd give me a few options for your brand new showpiece race the Dragonborn instead.

As a last set for the current D&D miniatures model, this looks like an utter failure. Maybe I'm wrong, and after I open a few packs, I'll see the wisdom of having the same number of Slaad as the number of Dragonborn, or I'll want to create an amazing module populated by evil mushrooms, sarcophagi and Kruthik.

But I very much doubt it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More on Prop 8

Governor Schwarzenegger, despite being a Republican, spoke out against Prop 8 and encouraged the gay community to continue fighting.

This makes me feel so much better about loving Total Recall, Predator and so many other '80s Schwarzenegger movies.

But here's the key thing that jumped out at me:

"Sherrie Derriko, a longtime Saddleback Church member and hair salon owner from Mission Viejo, said she was bothered that protesters had targeted houses of worship. As she drove by, she rolled down her window to offer some advice.

"Read the Bible. God made man and woman, and that's what a marriage is," she called from inside her SUV.

Derriko recounted the incident after attending services. "When we saw them out there, we thought, 'Why are they not over this? Do they think they're going to change anything, or are they just stirring up trouble at our church?'""

Are you f*&^cking kidding me? "Why aren't they over this?" Lady, they didn't get turned down for a loan or not get a job they interviewed for. The majority of the people in the state they live in told them that their lifestyle is illegal. Not just immoral, illegal. Would you give up after a couple of days if religion were banned?

And the complete smugness is so clear in the quote. "She called from inside her SUV." Tells them to "Read the Bible." This is the extent of deep thought the woman has given the issue.

I can imagine she heard some very un-Christian remarks directed at her in response.

Keith Olbermann on Prop 8

I know some don't like Keith Olbermann, folks I respect, like my dad. I know some absolutely despise him, folks I like, like Thom Zahler.

This special comment, offered not with the usual anger (which I love, quite honestly) but with a sincerity and a genuine hurt that maps almost exactly to how I feel about this puzzling, backwards anti-gay marriage, forgive me but there is no other word *bullshit*, is exactly why I like Olbermann.

Like Olbermann, I have no personal stake in this. I don't have any close gay friends that I can think of, just gay acquaintances. No one in my family, at least no one that I know of, is gay. I've never been to a gay wedding, I don't see any invitations in my future. On a personal level, this affects me not at all.

But on a basic human rights level, the notion that we should treat a group of human beings as other, just disgusts me. If you voted yes on Prop 8 or one of its compatriots, if you would vote yes on a ban on gay marriage, then part of you is a bigot, and you need to deal with that part. Really examine why this is so important, really examine how much of a difference there is between laws preventing gay marriage and the laws that, until the late '60s, prevented mixed race couples from marrying. The same arguments were used then, that allowing mixed race marriages would change the definition of marriage, would destroy the institution.

We've managed to simultaneously move the country forward one giant leap and yet stumble backward several important steps. And as happy as many of us are about President Obama, it's hard to celebrate when that election also came with this awful, dehumanizing price for so many.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Blog Update for October 2008

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

I don't know if it was my investment in politics, a lame month or (more likely) a combination of both, but this was a pretty weak month for single issues. So much so that I was only able to put together a top 19, even including a couple weaker contenders in the mix, and even though it was a five week month. I still had no trouble putting together a Top 5, as there were plenty of great single issues like Criminal, RASL and BPRD, but... not a great month for single issues. DC lost me entirely this month (and the solicits don't look promising for the future), as they had only 2, the now-cancelled all-ages Family Dynamic and the slowly-losing-my-love Fables. No DC Universe at all. Also taking 2 slots? Boom! (with two Warhammer books), Dark Horse (BPRD and Usagi), IDW (GI Joe and Welcome to Hoxford) and Image (Dynamo 5 and Walking Dead). There were two indies (RASL and The Corps), and, dominating my single issue, reading, Marvel, with 7 books (Brubaker's Criminal, Cap and (co-written) Uncanny and the Rosemann-edited group of Marvel Zombies, Nova, Guardians of the Galaxy and Thunderbolts).

Started working on the second Son of Ice & Fire novel this month, and I'm about halfway through... greatly enjoying it. Also played a little Force Unleashed, a little Mass Effect and a lot of RocK Band 2.

October was a weak month for comics, but a decent month for TV, as my Top 10 is finally, once again, a Top 10. Although one is a cheat, as I finished up seasons four and five of The Wire on DVD. I have to say, seasons two and four are my favorite, although both rely on character and plot work from the other three to really have their effect. Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles continues to impress, and now that it's gotten better, of course it's ratings are slipping and the impending move to Friday is worrisome. The Shield also returned from a shaky start to once again become riveting television, and I can't wait to watch the last three episodes. Pushing Daisies is, as always, sweet, fun and strange and, more than likely, doomed. Chuck is fun, and definitely shaking off any problems it had early on to become a lean little comedy-action show. How I Met Your Mother and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, unfortunately, started strong and then got weaker. I'm just barely hanging on to HIMYM at this point (the whole Stella plot was a *huge*, uninteresting waste of time) and, while Sunny continues to amuse from time to time, the first two episodes of the season were so good, and I'm missing that consistency. The Office, meanwhile, has been brilliant (Amy Ryan was *such* an awesome addition, and the Jim/Pam stuff has thus far been fantastic as well) and 30 Rock *finally* returned with a hilarious first episode.

In RSS feeds, I added two political feeds (humor/political site 23/6 and the awesome Margaret and Helen) and one webcomics feed (Action Age Comics!). I read (who were the most accurate pollsters of the season, according to the Rachel Maddow show's analysis) throughout the election season, but I'm probably not going to follow them at the moment.

Weekly Comics - October 29th and November 5th

OK, I got a little behind here, but in my defense, there hasn't been a really great week for comics in quite a while, and my enthusiasm for the weekly reads is at a low as a result.

For November 5th:
BPRD Vol 9 1946 TP (Fantastic, the only thing holding it back from being as great as the other BPRD stuff is the lack of Guy Davis, and Paul Azaceta is no slouch)
Fishtown HC (Beautiful art, compellingly creepy story, gorgeous production values)
Kull #1 (This was actually really great, very different from Conan, with nice art and a good fantasy vibe...maybe it's because I'm reading George RR Martin books again, but I was definitely in the mood for this kind of book and the creative team delivered)
Liquid City TP (Beautiful looking anthology out of Southeast Asia)
Question Vol 3 Epitaph For A Hero TP (More '80s zen noir, this book lives up to its rep)

Gemini #3 (Looong delay between issues, but still really good)
Gigantic #1 (Intriguing opener, fun genre, amazing artwork)
Marvel Zombies 3 #2 (Surprisingly fun, and I can actually see myself picking this up in collected format)
Notes Over Yonder HC (New Scott Morse - always welcome)
Warhammer Condemned By Fire TP (My favorite Warhammer Fantasy series yet)

For October 29th:
Empowered Vol 4 TP (Best volume yet of this sexy, funny series)
Northlanders #11 (Here's how I know this was a weak week for me... one of my top five is a book I'm three issues behind on reading now. I loved the trade, I'll definitely pick up volume two, but I'm not sure if I'm still reading in single issues)
Nova #18 (Very good, as always)
Usagi Yojimbo #115 (A particularly good issue of Usagi, with one of my favorite supporting characters and some awesome action)
Venice Chronicles HC (Travel journal with gorgeous art by Enrico Casarosa)

Avengers Initiative #18 (I've been digging this book, but I think I forgot to read this issue)
Incredible Hercules #122 (Ditto)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Rahm Emanuel - Chief of Staff?

The New York Times has this piece, with the headline "Capital Asking - Politics As Usual?"

Really? Less than two days after the election, we're already dipping into that well?

But despite the headline and editorial slant of "this looks like a bad idea," it actually gives me a lot of hope for Emanuel. I don't know the guy, although I'll be doing some research in the next couple of days, but here are my takeaways from the piece:

*He swears a lot. It's implied that he loves the "F" word. So we've got that in common.

*Like Obama, he looks like a relatively (49) young, ambitious guy who hasn't been a decades-long fixture in the current political machine, but who nonetheless has become "one to watch" very quickly

*He's willing to go at his own party, which included pissing off Hilary Clinton when he was in the White House. Look, I'm not a Hilary hater, but somebody who ruffles Hilary's feathers is at this point, a plus to me.

*The Republicans hate him for his partisanship. Which, of course, I like. Just because Obama plans to run a bipartisan administration, that doesn't mean there shouldn't be some die-hard Democrats in there. Especially if they're going to have to battle it out with Republican appointments in his cabinet or staff as well. He has some Republican friends, but it's clear that he leans Democrat. That's about where I'd like him to be.

*Joe Scarborough thinks it's a bad idea. For that alone, I'd almost say it's the right way to go. ;)

He may turn it down, for family reasons, which I could totally respect. But if Emanuel does take the job, to me, it looks like a good first pick.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I Promise I'll Stop With The Gloating... Maybe in 2010

But this is just as sweet and uplifting as it was before the election. Better, actually, because now I know that all my hopes aren't going to get dashed like they were in 2000 and 2004.

An Appeal for Compromise

Look, I know this is a sensitive issue.

There are stark, important divides, and both sides have a point.

On one side, you have people arguing about a tradition that goes back to their grandfathers.

On the other, people saying that youthful energy and change should be the order of the day, and just because it has always been one way, it doesn't always have to be that way.

But I think we can all find some sort of compromise on this point.

Really, isn't it OK to have both slow moving zombies *and* fast moving zombies in our pop culture?

Simon Pegg says no.

What? What did you think I was talking about?

Politics: More Thoughts and Linkblogging

You know, I'm a little worried... I thought my political obsession would end when Obama won. But it hasn't. I'm still much more casually interested in comics, TV, movies and videogames than I was about a year ago. Everything I've written about, what my career has become (in the case of comics), has taken a bit of a backseat to politics. This is worrisome, because unlike my place in the small pond of comics, I'm not really in a place to get there with politics. I'm way too old to work my way up to political pundit, and way too atheist to actually get into politics. ;)

I've been spending much of the night catching up on the very early post-mortem reactions from all the blogs I follow, and here are some of the pieces that moved me, in one way or another:

Margaret and Helen:
"I feel good, but I will feel even better when Barbara Walters slaps the crap out of Elisabeth Hasselbeck." Chicago The Day After:
"We suspect we're not alone. Right now, organizers, full-time volunteers, campaign staff, and everyone else who gave single-minded effort toward November 4 are waking up and saying to themselves and each other, "what do I do with myself?" Their cars are messes, their rooms disaster zones, and they've been cut off from friends and family for God knows how long."

23/6: President Bush's Legacy: President Obama:
"Speaking of Bush, it is clear now, if it wasn't before, what his legacy is going to be: Obama.

Bush will be known for ushering in the Obama era, the way Herbert Hoover was known for ushering in FDR or Pete Best was known for preceding Ringo."

Paul Krugman: The Monster Years:
"What I mean by that is that for the past 14 years America’s political life has been largely dominated by, well, monsters. Monsters like Tom DeLay, who suggested that the shootings at Columbine happened because schools teach students the theory of evolution. Monsters like Karl Rove, who declared that liberals wanted to offer “therapy and understanding” to terrorists. Monsters like Dick Cheney, who saw 9/11 as an opportunity to start torturing people."

Christopher Frizelle at Slog: Majority Rules:
"One got the startling sense last night that we were bigger in number than we realized. It is possible to deeply internalize your family’s fucked up Republican arrogance, to believe on some level that you are outnumbered—as another of my relatives, also a diehard Republican, likes to chirp whenever we talk about politics, “Majority ruuu-ules!”—and one great gift of last night was the realization not only that there are lots of liberals out there (duh) but also that there are enough people out there who like liberals to make this happen (easy to forget). Obama has made liberalism likable again."

Savage Love Letter: Gay Days in Utah:
"I think there are many gay and lesbian citizens who, like me, are enraged by the campaign in support of prop 8. As you know a large chunk of the funding came from the Mormon Church. Instead of just bottling our rage, let’s all get on planes and trains, and in automobiles, and go to Utah. The plan would be for gay and lesbians to visit Utah en masse to make the point that if religious folk are going to encroach on our lives, we will encroach on theirs."

Dan Savage: Black Homophobia:
"I’m not sure what to do with this. I’m thrilled that we’ve just elected our first African-American president. I wept last night. I wept reading the papers this morning. But I can’t help but feeling hurt that the love and support aren’t mutual."

Paul Constant at Slog:
"When Obama gave his speech last night, he looked relieved, yes, and assured, yes, but he also looked tired. And it was the kind of tired you see on the face of someone who’s run five miles and has to go fifteen miles more before he or she sleeps. Intellectually, he realizes the burden of a presidency, and he’s getting ready for it. It’s amazing to watch. Here’s a man who’s giving up the rest of his life for this national service, and, completely understanding what it means, he’s doing it willingly. That’s a kind of heroism."

Talking Points Memo watches The Republican Party begin to eat itself:
"Randy Scheunemann, a senior foreign policy adviser to John McCain, was fired from the Arizona senator's campaign last week for what one aide called "trashing" the campaign staff, three senior McCain advisers tell CNN.

One of the aides tells CNN that campaign manager Rick Davis fired Scheunemann after determining that he had been in direct contact with journalists spreading "disinformation" about campaign aides, including Nicolle Wallace and other officials.

"He was positioning himself with Palin at the expense of John McCain's campaign message," said one of the aides."

Greg Sargent: Obama's Win A Death Knell for 1960s Cultural Politics?
"There's a tidy symmetry in the fact that Obama defeated, in succession, both the Clinton machine and the Rove-Atwater brand of politics that Republicans have honed for so long.

In so doing, Obama defeated not one, but both of the leading practitioners of that 1960s-rooted cultural politics. More to the point, he did this by quite literally running against politics as both those groups practiced it."

Jeff Parker: Congratulations Obama:
"What a night. I’m so ridiculously, unabashedly proud of America right now I can’t tell you. Maybe our motto should be, as would also apply to our stalled entry into World War 2, “We’ll screw up and drop the ball most of the time, but right at the very last minute of the eleventh hour when it’s almost too late- we’ll do the right thing!”"

My Less Gracious Obama Victory Post

Awash in the unity mantra of my candidate, happy with an election that actually went for my party, feeling for the first time in eight years like we started digging up instead of deeper to get out of the shithole that over 50% of the country seemed to want us in, last night I offered up a fairly congenial "we're all in this together" post with only the slightest bit of anger in the form of the late, great Bill Hicks.

This is not that post. Chris Hunter, you can probably stop reading now.

We've won a great victory. Those of us who voted for Obama realize it now. Many of you who didn't will hopefully realize that in the next year or two. But as I said on Twitter last night, we've won a battle, not the larger war for our country.

Michelle Bachmann, she of the "let's root out the un-Americans in Congress" McCarthyite opinion, was re-elected.

Ted Stevens, convicted felon, author of the Bridge to Nowhere who famously refused to relocate funds for New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, is looking like he's getting re-elected. (Between that and Palin, is Alaska this year's Florida?)

George W Bush, Dick Cheney and their many cronies both corporate and government, are going to walk away from their thorough, unrepentant fucking of our government, its economy and its military without so much as a slap on the wrist.

Bill O'Reilly is still being paid $10 million to be a douchebag spreading a mixture of hatred and bullshit on the air.

Despite my fervent wishing and hoping, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter continue to draw upon our nation's precious oxygen reserves.

And most noxiously, the Mormon Church funneled obscene amounts of money from their tax-free churches into passing Proposition 8, which *took away* the right of marriage from gays in California. Anti-gay measures passed elsewhere (including Arizona), but in the blue state of California, it stings even more that it passed with such a near margin.

There's still plenty to be pissed about. Do not think we will forget. We may forgive, in order to move towards a unity this country desperately needs, but we will not forget. Unfortunately, while everyone was busy talking about how great this country is for getting past its racist roots and electing a black President, many of the same people who voted for a black President also voted to strip the rights from homosexuals. The hypocrisy of this position seems lost on many. But while yesterday was a huge step in the right direction in terms of living up to our promise of "all men being created equal" we've still got a lot of steps left.

Btw, "men" in the "human" sense, not "male" sense. But clearly the country still has some equality issues with women to deal with as well.

For those who hoped that the election ending would put an end to my political posts, sorry... I've still got plenty to say. More than ever, in fact. We're taking baby steps in the right direction. It's up to us to make sure that in all ways, large and small, we continue on that path.


Sorry, I'm a bit jubilant at the moment.

To the young voters: Thank you. You guys actually showed up this time. It made a difference.

To my fellow Obama voters and supporters:

To those Republicans who voted for Obama, or who took the words from his speech, or McCain's concession speech to heart: Let's concentrate on our common ground, and maybe we can hammer out our differences on gay marriage, birth control, church and state and other issues in a rational way.

And to those Republicans who booed Obama during McCain's speech, and the many Palin supporters like them, I offer this:

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Last Pre-Election 2008 Post From Randy

Get out and vote, if you haven't already. Obviously, I'm less fanatical about this if you're planning on voting for McCain/Palin. ;)

But I'd really love it if we could set some kind of turnout record for this election. The first step in a democratic republic that works is showing the politicians that you give enough of a shit to try and use the process for (and against) them. Even if they can game the system through voting machine hacking, purging voter rolls, etc., there are still a hell of a lot more of us than there are of them, and purging 5% of the electorate wouldn't matter much if 100% of the electorate were voting.

I'm off from work tomorrow. I expect I'll be glued to MSNBC from the moment I wake up, and probably Twittering, at least until Twitter inevitably explodes from all the extra political traffic.

A warning to my conservative friends and acquaintances... I'm going to be insufferable tomorrow. I'm either going to be gloating like I just won the Superbowl single-handedly or expressing the most violent hatred of your party and its pundits that you've ever heard.

Probably both, actually. Even on a good day, I keep hoping Bill O'Reilly will have a fatal collision with Ann Coulter, and the resulting ego explosion will take out Rush Limbaugh. ;)

More from Morrison

The ten-part interview series concludes today, and includes this:

"In a world, I’m reliably told, that’s going to the dogs, the real mischief, the real punk rock rebellion, is a snarling, ‘fuck you’ positivity and optimism. Violent optimism in the face of all evidence to the contrary is the Alpha form of outrage these days. It really freaks people out."

I love this notion. Go read the entire interview series, it's really good.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Grant Morrison on religion

This entire 10-part series on All Star Superman has been must-reading, and reminds me why, despite not being all that crazy about Final Crisis or Batman R.I.P., I totally get why a lot of people are into it. Morrison is one of the more thoughtful, unusual writers in comics today, and seeing his thoughts on one of his masterpieces like All Star Superman has been great.

But seeing his take on religion, bravely put out there to an audience (Newsarama) that's not always the most sophisticated in its response, made me happy, especially when his views on organized religion seem to hew pretty close to my own.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

And Another Reason to Hate That Austin is in Texas

23% of Texans believe Obama is a muslim. As comedy/political site 23/6 puts it, "The remaining 77% probably live in Austin."

I love living in Austin. And I love a lot of things about Texas, including the climate, the wide variety of good Tex-Mex and (God help me) the Texas accent and cowboy aesthetic, which I just find kinda charming and imitable.

But most of the culture of Texas makes me want to shake my head, because there is a lot of "racist hick" in that culture.

23%. Jesus. You dumb bastards.

Another Reason I Love Austin

We have women like Helen Philpot living here.

82 years old, and blogging hysterically mean things about McCain-Palin, but there's this great undercurrent of sweetness to her. I hope I'm half this articulate, and even a quarter this funny, when I'm her age.

The Positive Side of Things

I've written a lot of negative things on this blog, talking about politics. I am, without a doubt, one of those "angry liberals." I'm flat out disgusted by a lot of what I see in politics, and almost everything I see from the Republican party. I don't extend courtesy and respect to the George Bushes, Dick Cheneys, Bill O'Reillys, Rush Limbaughs of the world. I'm not sure I'd even tap the brakes if I saw them crossing the street in front of me. ;)

I was always going to vote against John McCain, or whoever else the Republicans ran. I voted against George W Bush in 2000 and 2004, despite not having any particular affection for the candidates I voted for.

I'm not voting against John McCain this year. I'm voting *for* Barack Obama. For the first time in a long time, there's a candidate I believe in. I'm as cynical as they come, in a lot of ways, but I believe what Obama and his campaign have to say. Do I think they're going to accomplish everything they're setting out to do? Of course not. Part of me finds it impossible to believe that we're ever going to see our healthcare system fixed... too many people are making too much money off of it. Part of me knows that corporate interests have their roots so deep into the infrastructure of this country that no matter what party is in power, there's always going to be a sharp divide between the haves and the have-nots. But I believe that we might move just a bit closer to having a middle class again, a middle class that isn't just barely hanging on by its fingernails to avoid being dumped into that lower middle class, struggling to survive situation that so many others live with every day. I believe that an Obama administration is actually going to work towards energy independence and environmental responsibility, instead of hinting that they're not even sure global warming is man-made.

I believe in Barack Obama. I've been inspired not just by his speeches, but by his policies. Tonight I watched the Obama campaign's half hour special, and it reminded me that for all of the anger, and fear, and worry that this political season has stirred up in me, for all the snark and sarcasm and derision I've aimed (and will continue to aim) at McCain and Palin and their campaign team and their surrogates, that's not why I'm in this. I'm in this because of hope, and optimism. I actually believe things might get better under a President Obama. I'm not voting for the lesser of two evils. For the first time in my life, I'm voting for the person I want to be voting for.

This, among so many other reasons, is why I'm voting for Barack Obama:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Obama's "Closing Argument"

Damn. Whatever else folks say about him, you've got to admit the man can give a hell of a speech. And I think the closing line of the speech is very telling, and very appropriate. "Let's get to work!"

I'm ready for this guy to be our President. And at this point, although everybody on the left is pretty much scared of admitting it after the shocking upsets of 2000 and 2004 and plenty of attempted voter suppression clearly at work, I think he's going to be.

And if you want to watch the whole thing, like I did, here it is:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

And Now, A Public Service Announcement from Katy Lander

About brushing your teeth:

One Retailer's Perspective on Final Crisis #7

So the solicits for DC are up, and Final Crisis #7 is being done by Doug Mahnke instead of JG Jones. This has apparently caused some kind of uproar, and there's a very self-effacing mea culpa from Jones at CBR.

Jones shows a lot of class in apologizing, although I doubt that's going to assuage the anger of fans who see yet another big tentpole project running late and delivering something other than what was promised at the outset (7 issues of Morrison and Jones on DC's big event). It's also not terribly helpful in terms of the lateness affecting sales, and how that affects retailers.

However... Jones should totally be let off the hook on this one. And you know why?

Because it's not his fault. Hands up, anyone who actually believed that JG Jones would complete this project on the monthly schedule DC promised, based on past performance? OK, everyone who works at DC editorial can put your hands down. Anybody else?

To put it in a less snarky way, this is the fault of an over-enthusiastic or delusional or (more likely) cynical marketing and editorial team, who either fooled themselves into thinking that a Morrison/Jones project involving tons of cross-editorial continuity wouldn't require any kind of extra time to work on, or who realized it would be late, but figured that the industry had grown so accustomed to it that they wouldn't do anything but gripe on message boards and buy it anyway.

If anyone deserves finger-pointing here, it's DC editorial and marketing. But hey, they gave retailers FOC to knock down orders if this actually does affect fan enthusiasm and sales, so I've got no particular gripe. And my interest in the DC Universe as a fan has been an increasingly casual, mostly rubber-necking at a car wreck kind of thing since Identity Crisis, so as a fan, I've got no real issues either.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

An Important Reminder

Nobody gives a fuck what Stephen Baldwin thinks

I'd say I'm going to boycott his movies and TV from now on, but, with the exception of Usual Suspects, I've already been doing that by accident. I mean, the man's credits that include both Bio-Dome *and* The Flinstones in Viva Rock Vegas.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Weekly Comics to Come - October 22, 2008

Captain America #43 (After over three years, this book starts a new storyline! And I'm anxious to see it, as I thought the last uber-epic was pretty good)
Criminal 2 #6 (Concluding the Frank Kafka story, which has been a favorite so far)
Gi Joe A New Beginning #0 (Really great. My full review is up on Comic Pants)
Northlanders Vol 1 Sven The Returned TP (Reads very well in trade, in fact much better than in single issues)
Warhammer 40k Fire & Honor #2 (First issue was good, just like all the Boom! GW comics)

Dmz #35 (I think I'm a couple issues behind on this... might just start reading in trade)
Family Dynamic #3 (Bummed to see this one go so quick, because it's so much fun)
Final Crisis #4 (Done with Secret Invasion as of #3, but I'm still curious about Final Crisis)
Invincible #54 (On one of its down cycles with me, but still interesting enough to read)
Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #4 (Fun superhero comics for all-ages by Paul Tobin)
Thunderbolts #125 (Gage wraps up his run, a nice transition between Ellis and Diggle)
Tiny Titans #9 (Fun all-ages Titans in elementary school, as always)
X-Men Legacy #217 (Been digging this, but a crossover with Wolverine Origins may kill my interest)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What Kind Of Day It Has Been

Today is the worst day I can remember in a while. Just really, really shitty and frustrating. And it's my blog, so I'm going to vent.

A little backstory: Our air conditioning at the store, which went out in August, was out for about a month while we tried to negotiate with the management company to get it fixed/replaced. Two different companies told us we needed to replace us, but the management company wanted bids, and they wound up going with a local company that decided to only replace the compressor. So instead of spending $8000, they spent $1500... and I had to pay a $1000 deductible. Which sucked. And we went a super-hot month in Texas with no A/C.

Cut to two weeks ago Friday, and Dave notices that the A/C isn't working. We think maybe we're just being paranoid, but it's definitely warm in the store. Finally, after putting in a call to the management company, we turn it off and back on and it starts working. OK, maybe just a quirk, but I get the number of the A/C repair guys so I can set up our new quarterly maintenance schedule with them anyway. But with everything else I've got going, including setting up for our comic book trivia event at the end of the month, it gets put off.

So cut to last Friday, and the air goes out again, around 3 in the afternoon. This time it doesn't come back. Fortunately, since we were through the bids and everything back in August, I'm able to get ahold of the management company and get something set up with their A/C company... for Monday.

One hot, annoying weekend later, the guys show up on Monday afternoon, find that there are burned-out connectors (no doubt one of the many problems that caused the other guys to suggest we replace the unit rather than just repair the compressor). They fix those, and then find that said connectors have burned out the new compressor. They've put a rush on it, hopefully it'll be in on Tuesday. Which I take to mean that it's probably going to be Wednesday at least.

Background over. Today is Wednesday, new comics day. I get up at 8 AM, as usual, and go to get the comics. No sweat there, the books are ready, they're all in the boxes (a few minor damages, but we let that go). However, it did decide, after months of no rain, to rain yesterday, and so the store, without A/C, is not only hot but humid, and so some of the comics are crinkly, and the general feel in the store is hot and gross.

We are much relieved when the air conditioning guys show up around 1 PM. They don't come in and say anything, they just go up on the roof and start working. That's fine, as long as they get the job done. Then I get a call from my night employee, who is sick. He can't come in, and everybody else is working day shift. I'm the owner, so now I'm working 8 AM - 11 PM. Rough, but hey, at least I'll have A/C.

Or not, as it again begins raining while I'm out picking up our games order. As I unpack the game order and realize that I accidentally doubled a couple of games, resulting in a quarter's supply of a game turning into an eternal-we'll probably never sell this many supply, we notice that the A/C guys are gone. Maybe they just didn't come in to tell us it was fixed? Nope. Flick the air on, nothing happens. They just left. Didn't come in to tell us what happened. Did they leave because they couldn't work in the rain? Did they find they needed some other parts? Are they playing a giant prank? We have no fucking idea, because they didn't bother to come in and tell us. Calls to the company go unanswered, mildly irritated voicemails are left.

Then our Diamond reorder shows up. This is our weekly restock of graphic novels and single issues we've sold out of. On occasion, they mis-pull one or two books, and we're out a book for an extra week or so. On this particular occasion, though the tracking numbers show two boxes, the boxes are marked (of three) and there are 69 items missing. It seems pretty clear that one of our boxes is either sitting at the Diamond warehouse or shipped out to another store. I call in to my Diamond rep, but it's close to 6 in New York, so I'm pretty sure I won't be hearing anything back until tomorrow at the earliest.

So... here I am. A/C doesn't work, we're missing inventory (and resulting sales), we're overstocked on some games we'll probably never sell, and I'm working a 15-hour day on four hours of sleep.

On a relative scale, it's all fairly minor... but it sure felt like a shitstorm of mega proportions to the folks who were here today.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Weekly Comics to Come - October 8th & October 15th

Missed last week. Whoops. Man, October's been kinda stinky for new comics so far. There are a few gems, but it's much lighter than it has been.

Dynamo 5 #17 (Still loving Jay Faerber and Mahmud Asrar's superhero team book, maybe my favorite indie superhero book of the moment)
Guardians Of Galaxy #6 (Read the first six pages as a tease, and it's still great)
RASL #3 (Yay! There must be a blue moon, because there's a new issue of RASL!)
Star Wars Clone Wars #2 (First issue of this was as good as the new TV show is totally fucking abysmal)
Welcome To Hoxford #3 (Deranged, bloody, horrific, funny, awesome. Ben Templesmith, you are my favorite ex-pat Aussie. Sorry, Paul Hogan)

Atomic Robo Dogs Of War #3 (More World War II Atomic Robo... what's not to love?)
Booster Gold #13 (I don't remember who's writing it or what it's about, but honestly... this is one of the only DCU books I'm still reading)
Conan The Cimmerian #4 (Less Grandpa Conan, more decapitations please)
Ex Machina Tp Vol 07 Ex Cathedra (I've forgotten what's going on in this book, it's been so long... but I've heard this is a very good story)
Fables #77 (Last issue was not bad, curious to see where they go after the big #75 shake-up)
Uncanny X-Men #503 (X-Men actually fun to read again... I didn't think it was possible)

Bprd The Warning #4 (Guy Davis continues to blow my mind with his art... and the over-arcing story is good too)
Corps #0 (Surprisingly fun, solid art... better than Devil's Due's GI Joe stuff, for the most part)
Hellboy Library Ed Vol 2 Chained Coffin & Other Stories HC (Gigantic treat stuffed full of Stewart colors and Mignola art and Hellboy punching stuff)
Street Fighter Tribute TP (I'm only a moderate Street Fighter fan, but... whoa. This book was amazing for an art-book lover like me)
Warhammer Crown Of Destruction #1 (Skaven vs. Empire! Warpstone technology! Impending bloodshed and chaos! Boom! Warhammer comics continue to be a joy)

Ferryman #1 (Not crazy about the art, and the concept is tired, but Andreyko's moment-to-moment writing is strong)
Man Who Loved Breasts (Quirky and bizarre, but also kinda fun)
Marvel Zombies 3 #1 (There's no way this should have been as good as it was. But there you have it... long past expiration date as a concept, but the creative team makes it work)
Walking Dead #53 (Some new characters, some twists and turns, this book still very much has its hooks in me. Kirkman's best book, bar none)
Labor Days Vol 1 TP (Haven't had a chance to read yet, but this Oni GN has beautiful looking art)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Something I Noticed...

Obama's speech on economic policy is a specific plan, with details on how he would help small business owners, secure current jobs and create new ones.

McCain's speech on economic policy includes the borderline delusional "We've got them right where we want them" (even if the election did turn in McCain's favor here in the last three weeks, you can't tell me this is *ever* where they wanted to be, and trying to spin it as if this was all the plan looks crazy) and a lot of the same type of thing he offered up in the debate. "I've got a plan for that." He's got a plan to get Bin Laden. It's simple, he says. He knows how to do it. He's got a plan for the economy. The full speech text is in this link, the "we've got them right where we want them" bit is in the video below.

What never comes up is, what is that plan? Why is that? Is he afraid that it's sooo good that Obama will abandon his plan and steal MCain's? Or is it, as is more likely, that he *doesn't* have a plan? Or is the plan really $5000 tax credit to insurance companies for health insurance, government spending freeze and the ever-popular, ever-vague "low taxes for everybody!"

Now, in fairness, the McCain campaign is now claiming that they will release an economic plan tomorrow. This is much like what they said a couple days ago, though, so you'll forgive me for being skeptical.

Newsarama Interview Up

I did an interview with Kieron Gillen, of Phonogram and Warhammer: Crown of Destruction, about writing the latter, and it's up now.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Texas Security Theater

I don't know how many folks who read my blog also read my wife's, but her rant on the new driver's license rules in Texas is something I whole-heartedly agree with.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I Feel A Bit Dirty, But...

I'd totally watch a "Paris Hilton's West Wing" on MTV now.

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

Monday, October 06, 2008

Tom Spurgeon for Emperor

I'm kind of surprised, I expected to go over to the story everybody is linking to (Spurgeon's If I Were The Emperor of Comics: Two Dozen Things I'd Decree To Make Comics Better) and find some things to quibble with, or maybe even get outright annoyed with.

Instead I say, if we're voting for Emperor of Comics this year, Tom Spurgeon gets my vote.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Clone Wars Second Episode

Yeah, I think I'm done.

They were working some kind of "horror in space" thing with Plo Koon and the clones in a fading life pod, and things out there trying to get at them. When the other dead life pod turned up, it could have been a cool moment as well. But then what's hunting them? Frickin' joke droids again! Sucking any of the tension out of the situation.

In addition, the big thematic story is Plo Koon telling the clones that they're not expendable and someone is coming for them, but neither Ah Soka or Anakin ever express even a word of concern for the clones. They're always talking about Master Plo Koon and how important it is to rescue him.

Also... boring space fights, boring starship chase, misuse of characters made cool in previous cartoon and comic book appearances.

This is Lucas brand Star Wars... and that's really the last thing I want at this point.

Fake liveblogging The Clone Wars

Kinda like what I did with Heroes here. When I'm watching a show and it inspires me to snark at it more than enjoy it, that's a good sign I won't be watching it for long.

The Clone Wars inspired snark about a minute in. As with Heroes Season Three, I watched the first episode and started writing down increasingly sarcastic observations. I was going to Twitter them, but didn't want to spoil anyone who was going to watch the show. So here they are, if you're interested.

Every time I see the goofy droids, I cringe. Every time they talk, I cringe even more.

Aussie accented Clone Troopers - not so cool

Yoda - always cool. Smart enough to know he's headed for another trap, confident enough to not give a damn.

This animation blows. Asaj Ventress looks pretty much like a shitty Rock Band character.

Is this a Doctor Seuss planet? What's up with the purple spiky foliage?

I mean, it's good that Paul Hogan is getting some voice-over work, but... jeez, the Clone Troopers sound goofy.

Do you think the clones assigned to Yoda ever want to say "Jesus, can you just learn proper grammar and sentence structure already? How old are you, and you haven't mastered fucking English?"

Oh God, more droid schtick. Nasally voice, totally ineffective... they're a personification of every bad storytelling and humor instinct George Lucas has. Seriously, worse than Jar Jar.

You know how to suck any dramatic tension out of a fight? Make the opponents completely and totally ineffective. Does *anyone* think the comedy 'bots pose a threat to anyone?

Ah, there we go... Super Battle Droids. They're cooler, mostly because they don't talk.

Can't help but think how much cooler Yoda and the clones were in the Tartakovsky series.

Never mind. They talk. But they don't joke. So Super Battle Droids still slightly better than joke 'bots.

Damn it, they joke too. Just as badly.

In Tartakovsky's cartoons, Yoda uses the force to slam droid ships together and force them back off the planet. In the new cartoon, he lifts one battle droid and uses it to shoot all the others. That lack of scale, lack of imagination and love of slapstick says everything about why these new Clone Wars cartoons *suck* compared to the earlier ones.

And in this scene, Yoda teaches the clones... how to love.

Jedi faces off brigade of tanks and droids... better use of scale.

Admittedly, Yoda's action sequence here is pretty cool.

Count Dooku looks like something out of Rankin-Bass.

Yoda punks out Ventress. OK, I like that.

Wow, they set up a base on a random planet! How epic! How exciting! It's just like when they blew up the Death Star, or Han got taken by a bounty hunter! Christ. The stakes aren't even as exciting as Ewoks beating up Stormtroopers.

Overall: Bleh. I'll give it a couple more episodes, but I think my initial plan to avoid was probably the right one. Glad I didn't pay to see the first three episodes in the theater.

Coloring Theory

Heidi M. posts about the re-coloring of Moebius pages. Then a bunch of colorists show up to talk about it, and coloring theory in general. It's *awesome* if you have any interest at all in the art of coloring comics. I follow colorists more than many, and I still learned more from reading this thread than in 10 years of clumsily trying to talk about what I liked in reviews.

Must reading.

How To Scare the Crap Out of Randy

Army Combat Unit to deploy within the U.S.

What. The. Fuck.

Posse Comitatus, anyone? We don't *do* this shit here. You don't put over 4,000 members of your military, who are *trained* to *kill people*, into a domestic law enforcement role. The DOD can say all they want that they're a response unit for hurricane relief, but... what are they going to do? Shoot at the hurricane? This isn't a civil engineer brigade, this is a combat-trained and tested brigade that has seen action in Iraq.

Seriously, this is one of those "We should have known we were in for a totalitarian regime when they started up with the domestic combat units" kind of things.

Can anyone remember the last time our government did something that didn't scare you or piss you off, or both?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

How Much Do I Love Rebecca Traister Right Now?

Don't pity Sarah Palin

Traister is dead on. Palin is not some innocent babe in the woods taken in by Republican operators.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Blog Update for September 2008

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

There were a couple really slow weeks for comics in September, but a couple really busy ones, and that sort of balanced out into plenty of books that could have made my Top 20. Of course, the number of books I'm super-excited about seems to be down, but there are plenty of solidly enjoyable books, and it may just be that I'm in jaded mode. At any rate, there were 5 DC (including Johnny DC, Wildstorm and Vertigo) books that almost made the cut and 5 Marvel (all pretty much Marvel universe, except for The Stand), and Atomic Robo Dogs of War was just on the outskirts as well. In terms of what did make the top 20, it was 4 DC (one in-continuity, one all-ages, one Wildstorm licensed and one All-Star Superman), 8 Marvel (2 X-Books, 2 DnA space books, 3 Brubaker books, and shockingly, 3 with direct tie-ins to Secret Invasion), 4 Dark Horse, 2 Image and 2 Boom Studios. Honestly, if I had to have only one publisher right now, I think I'd pick Dark Horse... they also cleaned up in my graphic novel list, and they've got a great diversity of product (webcomics, licensed Conan and Star Wars, creator-owned gems like Usagi and Hellboy, etc.) and an enormously talented stable of creators. I decided to add in a "Top 5 of the month" based on my Top 5 lists over on Comic Pants, we'll see if that lasts.

I borrowed the second Song of Ice & Fire novel from a friend, but haven't had time to read it yet... October, perhaps. Instead, I read 9 Star Wars graphic novels this month, as well as a variety of other stuff as it came out. I also played an enormous amount of Rock Band 2.

My TV schedule is filling back up, although I think an increased interest in politics and, of course, the writer's strike, has killed some of my once-fanatical love for the medium. Certainly there's nothing new this season I'm really looking forward to (although I'll check out Christian Slater's "My Own Worst Enemy," which is getting good buzz). However, I won't deny being delighted to have some of my old favorites back. How I Met Your Mother came back with a really strong opener and a solid second episode with the best use of Regis Philbin ever. Chuck has a good opener that many have called great. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is probably the best laugh-out-loud show on TV... at the very least, it's tied with The Office and 30 Rock. The Shield... well, I've loved it for so long, I'm mostly sad to see it kind of limping along in its final season, but I have to stick it out and hope for a great finale, even if the series right now is kind of... meh. And Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has really turned around for me, turning into one of my must-watch shows. It's not perfect (John Connor and his girlfriend are annoying as hell, for instance), but it's pretty good. And The Wire? Well, I'm mid-way through season four and I can't decide if I'm sad it took me so long to get onboard this awesome show or happy because it means there's no waiting, and I can just watch all five seasons straight through as time allows.

In RSS feeds, it's the end of an era as X-Axis switches over to blog format and so I've started reading Paul O'Brien's blog "If Destroyed, Still True." I've also started reading The Stranger blog on politics, mostly for Dan Savage's take on things.

I really need to figure out how to link podcasts, but in the meantime I've gone ahead and also added a list of Podcasts I'm currently listening to to the ever-growing (and probably rarely-read) sidebar of the site. In addition to the stuff previously mentioned, I added the real life story podcast The Moth (which is awesome, especially when guys involved with New York mobsters or cops are talking), The Rachel Maddow show (yep, I love her as much as every other liberal does these days) and NPR's Planet Money (it's a really good podcast on economic issues for the layman).

Also, I was kind of amused to see, looking at my tags, that my blog is becoming increasingly a place for me to rant, a lot of the time about politics. Weekly comics posts are still at the top, with 91, but there are 80 rant tags and 75 politics, and I'll be surprised if politics doesn't hit the top tag before the elections.

After the elections, I'll either be calmer or numb, depending on who wins, so it should go back to either more comics posting or increasingly depressed and angry rants about the slow death of America.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Weekly Comics to Come - October 1st, 2008

Authority #3 (Abnett & Lanning's post-apocalyptic take on the team has gotten me interested in them again, for the first time in a long while)
Blue Beetle Vol 4 Endgame TP (Rogers' finale on this book is amazing)
Manhunter #35 (Andreyko and Gaydos are doing great stuff on this book, and they're hitting my personal fanboy buttons (Blue Beetle! Suicide Squad! Birds of Prey!) too)
Spirit Vol 2 HC (The last Spirit I'll be enjoying for a while, as Cooke's run concludes)
Top Ten Season Two #1 (I'm skeptical without Moore, but I like Cannon and I like Ha and I love these characters)

City Of Dust #1 (Interesting looking futuristic story from Radical and Steve Niles)
Civil War House Of M #2 (First issue was a little slow, but House Of M Avengers was great, so I'm still reading)
Dc Universe Decisions #2 (First issue... kinda meh. But I'm still curious)
Invincible #53 (Getting bored with it, but hoping it'll pick back up again)
Marvel Apes #3 (Still surprisingly fun, a good guilty pleasure book)
Monsterpocalypse #1 (Fun concept, licensed comic which is worrying, but giant monster fighting should make for some cool comics)
Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Vol 1 (Never played the game, but I'm kinda curious about the manga)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Aaaaannnd Another Reason to Love Sarah Silverman (As If We Needed One)

The Great Schlep from The Great Schlep on Vimeo.

Another Reason to Love Dan Savage

Btw, how can you tell when Randy is supposed to be writing and is putting it off? The blog posts get even more frequent.

Sarah Palin's interview style

You know, it hadn't clicked for me until a co-worker said it, but don't Sarah Palin's rambling non-answers like this:

and this:

Remind you of this?

You can take the beauty queen out of the pageant and make her governor, but you can't take the nonsensical pageant-level answers out of the beauty queen masquerading as a vice presidential candidate.

Or something to that effect.

Thoughts on Minx

So everyone has probably heard by now that Minx has been canceled.

To be honest, as a reader and as a retailer, this doesn't have much effect on me. Despite liking a lot of the talent on Minx, most of the books fell somewhat flat for me (then again, I'm a 37-year-old married guy, if the teen-girl-aimed Minx was fireworks for me, it would have been a bad sign for both me and the imprint). And despite having a big crowd of manga-buying girls and guys at my shop, the Minx books for the most part didn't sell at the store. We gave them a big push early on, thanks to the returnability, but after Plain Janes and Re-Gifters did pretty well, the others just kind of sank for us.

As a follower of the industry, though, it's definitely a sad thing. This was a positive attempt at outreach, and an imprint that earned a lot of blood, sweat and tears from a lot of folks I really respect in the industry. There is a small, selfish part of me that is glad to have talented editor Shelly Bond and any number of the cartoonists who were working on Minx projects working (hopefully) on projects at Vertigo that might be more aimed at me, but like I say, that's small and selfish. Would I rather have more Street Angel than more Plain Janes? Well, yes. Do I think it's in the best interest of Jim Rugg or the industry as a whole? No, probably not.

With any luck, a lot of what worked about Minx (the talent, the focus on a different audience) will be transitioned into work at Vertigo, and the spirit of the line will survive, even if the line itself doesn't.