Friday, March 6, 2015

Weekly Comics for 1408.20


Weekly Comic for 1408.20

"If you want to concentrate, if you want to write in your own mind, write with a typewriter. You see the words hit the paper. There’s no distractions.” - Paul Schweitzer, Typewriter Repairman

The capital letters on the name "Typewriter Repairman" are not necessary.

A problem (one of many) with my recent blog work is that often these entries are developed haphazardly over a long period of time (in the case of this one, more than thirty days), and so it's easy for me to lose focus. Also, I am not sure that a review (and not even a very in depth review) of comics from six months ago interests anyone who may click over to this environment.

And yet, in addition to writing about comics that I have quite forgotten about reading, I want to share some thoughts on typewriters hence the lead quote, which came to me long after I started this entry, hence the comments on development over a long period of time. Inserting can be achieved so easily with the computer, which also makes me think about typewriters because insertion was not easy with words typed to the page in ink. Cut and paste were quite literal back then in the typewriter era. I know many of you know this, even those who lived through it, and yet, I feel we need to remind ourselves of how far we have evolved in just a few decades.

Thoughts about typewriters also seem in line with the Supreme Blue Rose comic, which is somewhat futuristic but in a washed out and retro-themed way. The color washes (yes, I used that word on purpose) are breath-taking. And yet, the whole comic has a bombed-out, post-war feel. The landscapes are desolate and lonely. The character styles are retro of the Art Deco period updated with space-faring chic. It's all very intriguing. More on this topic farther down in the comics section. Read on.

So, continuing something I mentioned in the last post. It's the 1970s, some time either during my seventh grade year or my eighth grade year (I am not sure), so that would place it around 1974-1976, I decided I wanted to be a publisher. Learning that the school would let me use the mimeograph machine for a "school project," I decided that I wanted to create a magazine, which I would publish and sell. I managed to gather several people who would write articles in whatever frequency we could manage (monthly?); we were not sure. It would focus on hobbies, so we had articles ranging from stamp collecting to wood work to electronics.

Given my increased seriousness, my parents bought a typewriter for the family to use. This was a manual typewriter, but a nice Smith-Corona. In this part of the 1970s, electric typewriters were still very expensive. I coveted the IBM Selectric at my father's office and used  it when we visited, especially when visiting after hours, as it was likely in use during business hours. The IBM Selectric allowed for different typefaces with switchable balls that contained the type. My sturdy old, manual Smith-Corona, and even my upgrade to the electric version my senior year of high school, when, as I prepared for college, my parents could also see that I was serious about writing, both of these could only produce regular typeface from keys on levers that struck the page one at a time. The Selectric's balls of type -- which IBM called a "golf ball sized typing element" -- could be switched out for italics or other type effects. Oh Heaven!! These simple utilities are available today with a hot-key (ctrl-i for instance) directly from the key board. But then, in the 1970s, and even for most of the 1980s, such a feature was special and expensive. By 1987-88, I had my own PC in my home office/ bed room. My phone has at least ten times the CPU speed, memory, and storage of that original machine. My current desktop, on which I am writing this, has even more computing power in total. My first two machines didn't even have hard drives.

I love the Internet. In reminiscing about early type-writer work, I found this old advertisement for the IBM Selectric online.


And of course there was also a commercial on YOU TUBE. We live in a world of magical access to information.

IBM Selectric Typewriters (1960s) - Classic TV Commercial

Speaking of typing machines, because obviously I have typing machines on the brain, I discovered this article (linked) recently about a man who still repairs the machines as well as refurbishes them for re-sale.

PAUL SCHWEITZER REPAIRS TYPEWRITERS - FROM BOING BOING 

But as you can see in the photo, Paul Schweitzer also owns a computer.

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And yet, I digress, distracted by the evolution of my own ability to type words.

I was reminiscing about said ability because I remember spending one whole weekend writing a very lengthy (30 typed and single spaced pages before I finished) review of new comic books with keen insights by yours truly.

I am amused that 40-some years later, I am still doing the same thing, the same writing, though my machine for producing the writing has evolved.

And so on to this subject of comics books from August 2014 as I sit writing this entry in February of 2015.... OOPs, I started in February. It's now March.

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SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS 
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SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
RE: SPOILERS: I don't have to explain that you read at your own risk, right?
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CBR FOR AUGUST 13 2014

IGN FOR AUGUST 13 2014

WEEKLY COMICS LIST

Double whammy of Warren Ellis books this week with both Trees and the beautifully rendered though somewhat inscrutable Supreme Blue Rose #2, which I chose for the banner art atop the entry for this week.

As much as I love the Warren Ellis books, they often take a back seat to other comics that are either easier to read or more eagerly anticipated. Often I want to give myself time to thoroughly digest Ellis' comics. Often I reread the previous issues before delving into the new stuff, that is, if I can find the previous issues. I had to perform this reread function for both Ellis books from this week. I will return to this issue presently, but first the ordering.

The Wicked + the Divine #3 earns top ranks again, like in its debut week, after the second issue was bumped from the top slot by Original Sin # 6 (of 8), Savage Hulk #002, Teen Titans #1, and Robin Rises Omega #1 in comics for July 16th, 2014. Notice how Teen Titans has fallen. That book is dreadful.

I have written about many of these comics before, and I am sure I will again, so I will restrict my comments to the two Warren Ellis comics before I post this very late entry.

The art for Supreme Blue Rose is gorgeous.

I had not heard of Tula Lotay until Warren Ellis started messaging about her in preparation for their work on Supreme Blue Rose published by Image.

However, as much as I like Ellis' writing and find Lotay's art gorgeous, Supreme Blue Rose is a bit inscrutable to me simply because I had not read any of the previous Supreme comics. Ellis wastes no narrative on explanations. So, the stories lack resonance, and yet they are enjoyable as a stand alone project with much back story left unexplained.

Trees is easier to grasp, though I find I have to review each comic's past issues when the new issue arrives because I have forgotten details and Ellis is not one for recap.

The art of Supreme Blue Rose has greater impact but both are worthy of a look, especially in the soon to come trade volumes (Trees actually came out while I was still completing this entry with Supreme Blue Rose soon to follow).

Check out these gorgeous pages...

And think about typewriters.

Until next time.


SUPREME BLUE ROSE #2 - PAGES






RANKED COMICS from AUGUST 20, 2014 

The Wicked + the Divine #3
The Fade Out #1 ---------------- decided to read in trade (which just arrived in the comic store months later in February)
Daredevil #7
Mighty Avengers #013
Infinity Man and the Forever People #3
Batman and Robin #34
Nova: Original Sin #20
New Avengers #023
Stray Bullets: Killers #6
Supreme Blue Rose #2
Trees #4
Ms. Marvel #007
Sensation Comics: Wonder Woman #1
Teen Titans #2

BACK LOG
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 10 #6
Fables #143
Secret Avengers #007
The New 52: Futures End #16
Batman Eternal #20

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COVER GALLERY
















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- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1503.06 - 14:36

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Weekly Comics for 1408.13

Weekly Comics for 1408.13

I have always liked the Hulk.

My father liked the Hulk, too. Maybe it was the science fiction flavors of some of those early 1960s sagas. Or maybe it was just the new take on the Jekyll-Hyde split personality of the good gamma irradiated doctor, all that good pathos, the suffering. David Bruce Banner finds himself doomed to a solitary and nomadic existence, never able to have a normal life whereas the Hulk seems a simpleton but is actually complex. Is he a good guy or a bad guy? What does he want? And how many ways are there to position him against adversaries in which he ends up being a force for good.

The Incredible Hulk was one of our favorite comics to read in those bed times of my long ago youth along with Fantastic Four and Batman. The Hulk had so much to teach us about the internal conflict of mankind, the desire to be left alone, the need for peace and serenity, something denied the Hulk as trouble and battles would always find him. After all, in those early days, it was a style guide requirement that each comic feature at least one battle.

But there are so many iterations of Bruce Banner-Hulk now as well as other Hulks (though Hulk, now Doc Green, is eliminating the other gamma powered beings in the current story line) the question of loving the Hulk causes consideration of a fractal. Which Hulk?

The Hulk has been re-imagined many times. He is in the middle of that re-imagining now as "Doc Green," in which he has Banner's intelligence and the Hulk's strength, but has supposedly eliminated Banner. Doc Green is also more cunning and ruthless that previous smart Hulks. Though this new version of the Hulk keeps the character fresh, there's a loss to the pathos for the eternal wandering monster, the misunderstood creature, who continually finds himself helping a world that hates and fears him.

That's all for now in the front matter. My blog output has slowed. I need to pick it up.

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SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS 
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SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
RE: SPOILERS: I don't have to explain that you read at your own risk, right?
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CBR FOR AUGUST 13 2014

IGN FOR AUGUST 13 2014

WEEKLY COMICS LIST

So, given the comments above, I am Hulk fan, which reminds me of the classic Marvel maniacs T-shirts sold via in-house ads in the comics of my youth, such as this one to the left.

I wondered if the old style T-shirts are still for sale somewhere. I do not own a T-shirt for the Hulk, and I would like some of these others, too, like Captain Marvel, the Thing, and Thor. I wanted these shirts when I was a kid, especially the Fantastic Four T-shirt, but I never owned any of them.

Look at those prices!! $1.60? $3.15? Those were "expensive" shirts. Remember that comics are 12 cents at this time. This ad is from a comic in 1969. I was seven years old.

Hulk may have been feared and hated by those in the world of the comics, but he was much loved by those READING the comics. He is still loved today, though maybe less so in his current incarnation.

There are images posted of those old T-shirts, but I have yet to find anyone selling them.

Ah... but this ad brings back memories. I spent a lot of time staring at it. I can still be sucked in by it.

All this Hulk content made me buy a Hulk drinking glass, though the item will not appear in my lists for many weeks as it is 1501.30 as I type this, and I just fetched comics from 1501.28 today, Friday.

As I cobble together thoughts on comics, just to be busy doing some writing of words rather than C code, I am reminded that I had this bright idea to write about comic books many years ago as a young boy, about seventh grade, when I first was given a typewriter. But this is a story for another time.

Back to the HULK. I am disappointed to see that this week's issue of the Hulk received such median reviews from the comic book "Bloggonistirati" (I just made up that word).

Here's a guy who gave it a 10/10 at COMIC BOOKED BUT other reviews, much lower, like this one at Newsarama, evened out the average to 7.6 for Hulk #005.

For me the book gets extra points for Mark Bagley's art, which I have always loved despite his angular figures reminiscent of Cubism.

Despite my comments earlier, this new iteration of the Hulk is very fun. The great thing about comics is that new iterations do not OVERWRITE the old ones. The original Hulk (the grey more villain like one) and the main green behemoth best known for the late 1960s and 1970s work, especially my favorite the Rampaging Hulk magazine with its dynamic SF story line, still exist and may be as close as a digital download away if not a trip to the local comic book shop.

Hey, when I was a kid, there were no comic book shops in Kalamazoo let alone prevalently nationwide.


Despite my comments about the Hulk, the ongoing destruction of the Fantastic Four takes top spot this week, and the penultimate Original Sin takes the third slot, mostly on the strength of Mike Deodato's art and the characters involved, namely Doctor Strange and The Black Panther, two of my favorites.

Now looking at this list, I am puzzled as to why the excellent Batman comic, that I have written of frequently hereabouts, feel so low. But I promised I would not feature every cover nor write long diatribes about all comics in this week or this week in general. But I do think that if I did not re-order these comics as I read them, I surely would re-order them now.

Other comics of excellence like Sex Criminals and The Walking Dead, I have discussed before and will again. So that's all for now.

I will add that the revenge of the Black Cat featured in Amazing Spider-Man: Original Sin #5 was just as good as the Superior Spider-Man issue in which his Doc Ock possessed self punches her out and has her arrested.

If nothing else, each of the big two companies is working hard to keep the stories and characters in these franchises fresh and dynamic.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm ... second use of "dynamic" today. Time to stop.

RANKED COMICS from AUGUST 13, 2014 

Fantastic Four #8
Hulk #005
Original Sin #7 of 8
The Walking Dead #130
Sex Criminals #7
Amazing Spider-Man: Original Sin #5
All New X-men #030
Justice League United #4
Starlight #5
Batman #34
Batgirl #34
Red Sonja #11
Captain America #023
Spider-Man 2099 #002
Avengers World #011
Captain Marvel #006

BACK LOG

The New 52: Futures End #15
Batman Eternal #19
Superman/ Wonder Woman: Doomed #11
World's Finest: Huntress and Power Girl #26

SPECIAL PURCHASE

Locus #643 Vol. 73 No. 2

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COVER GALLERY











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- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1502.01 - 15:47

Friday, January 9, 2015

Weekly Comics for 1408.06


Weekly Comics for 1408.06

Writing has been happening, and by writing, I mean, FICTION writing. Fulfilling a promise I made about a year ago, I have been devoted to daily fiction writing in the hopes of completing something that can be shared in this big online world. Though I have many projects (read: novels) in the works, I have been mainly devoted to two during this burst of creative activity: a comic book parody and an epic of what I hope will be a series that blends cyberpunk and sword-and-sorcery. The latter is more of a thing I am noodling around and making decisions about the overall shape of the thing (which I have to commit to recorded form, IE. write down). It's the parody, which is called POP!, that I have been making actual words per day progress on.

So, that's a happy thing for me. Happy progress that may stall or even cease unless I am disciplined as work and school ramps up to full throttle in the next two weeks. However, I am hoping to secure at least fifteen minutes a day to make forward progress on at least POP! as forward progress on this story is relatively easy. Writing is all about momentum. If I can keep work and school and life from bleeding into everything and blotting out the mental time and the wherewithal to write even a paragraph a day, then I will be more successful than I was last semester. My greatest problem is compartmentalizing. I have trouble feeling relaxed about writing with eight other things hanging over my head. And yet, I also would like to be writing about March comics this March. I am not optimistic enough to think that I can catch up much faster than that, though, maybe...

In other news, I finished another books, Visitors by Orson Scott Card, which I may review at some point, though a brief note is posted to Good Reads. I am catching up on missed Welcome to Night Vale podcasts and then on to Feet of Clay, the 19th Discworld book by Terry Pratchett. I am still slogging through Accelerando by Charles Stross, which is slow going but is interesting nonetheless. I liked the first third best, so far. This middle third is killing me. And today is David Bowie's birthday, so I posted this video, which I will include here as this blog takes its name from a Bowie song from Heroes.

David Bowie - Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)



But I am not listening to that now, actually, I am listening to this:

Stephan Mathieu and David Sylvian - The Farther Away I Am (Minus 30 Degrees) - Wandermüde (2012)



Because I am random like that...

On to comics.

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SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS 
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SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS 
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
RE: SPOILERS: I don't have to explain that you read at your own risk, right?
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Here's the links I have been using lately for refreshers, as I am now writing about August 2014 comics in January of 2015, so I need something to consult as the actual comics are not easy to find. After one tries to set aside comics for each week for a few weeks, eventually there's too many weeks. Right now, I am staring down the pipe of being just a mere 22 weeks behind. Though I have been catching up, that is still a lot of weeks.

IGN FOR 1408.06

CBR FOR 1408.06

In addition to the IGN pages and the much more all inclusive CBR, I found a cool new site for reviews from Glasgow, Scotland.

BIG GLASGOW COMICS PAGE - LAZARUS 10 REVIEW



But it's not Lazarus taking the top slot this week, it's Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #004 followed by Kick Ass 3 #8.

I was surprised by the lack of regard for Kick Ass 3 #8. First of all, IGN was the sole reviewer and gave it a 6.9 out of 10. But I am surprised that the comic did not receive more reviews, at least not collected by CBR. So maybe it's CBR's bias against Kick Ass 3 #8. I enjoyed the Kick Ass series quite a bit. I liked the concept of the boy who decides to be a costumed hero. The Big Daddy and Hit Girl characters were fun and inventive. Perhaps my criteria for high ranking differs from that of others. I like a comic if the art is exceptionally good (in this case, as I have made clear on these pages, I LOVE John Romita, Jr), if the story is engaging and entertaining, and especially if I expect the comic to be a fast and compelling read. Kick Ass 3 #8 has all of those things.

The IGN reviewer seemed to have preconceived notions that maybe were unjustly applied to Kick Ass, which purports to be about "real world" super-heroes but clearly is not because there's no such thing. Not that I would argue that this comic deserves a 10/10, but I think the reviewer is extra harsh. My thumbs up in the comic book store also raised some eyebrows. Come on people. Kick Ass was     F - U - N!! Yeah, with capitals. I am sad to see the series end as I was enjoying it quite a lot. As you can see it takes second ranking over Lazarus,  Moon Knight, and Alex + Ada, all books that I have
given a top ranking to before or lauded ardently on these pages.

Even more fun is this little Easter egg I found on line:

KICK ASS STORY THEORY.

Definitely worth checking out if you ever read Kick Ass, saw the movies, or may wish to read Kick Ass.

But as fun as I think Kick Ass is, it cannot beat out the sheer joy of what comics have always meant to me from childhood on: the joy of a real superhero story told right, which we find here in Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #004, especially since it features a Spider-Man vs. Spider-Man cover.

But that's not what it's about. Check this out.


The more frightening portrayal of the Green Goblin in the Ultimate series is a very good improvement over the Goblin of the regular Marvel universe.

So, in this issue, we have the return of "Peter Parker" and the Green Goblin. A huge battle ensues outside the Parker home, the site of Peter's death, an event caused by this same, presumed dead, Green Goblin. Readers are still not sure at this juncture if the returned Spider-Man is actually the real, original Peter Parker, or a clone, someone alternate reality doppelganger, or a twin brother raised in secret that no one knew about.

Nevertheless, the action sequence is stunning. And I am happy to see at least one reviewer (link posted below) compare it to the lame end of the Superior Spider-Man saga that I railed about over HERE: COMICS FOR 1404.16. And while I am doing links, and all here's two more:

Comics for 1404.02

T-shirt #105 - Ultimate Spider-Man

If all that was not enough, there's a side plot following on Miles' confession to his girl friend. I wish this text showed up better in this next image. If you copy the image, you can expand it After Miles Morales confessed to his girl friend Katie Bishop that he is Spider-Man, she distraughtly confesses, through tears, to her sister what she has learned. Her sister cautions her that she can never tell her parents, apparently, because they work for HYDRA.

This the other great plot point of this issue.




Here's one of the better reviews from a special Spider-Man web site called Superior Spider Talk.

SUPERIOR SPIDER TALK REVIEW

Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #004 is one of the single best straight-up super hero books being published today, and it's certainly the best of the lot with young star characters.

Many of the remaining comics from this week are worth text time, but in the interests of catching up to the present, I am restricting myself to expanded comments about only two. I have written about many of the other excellent titles before, such as Moon Knight, Lazarus, Alex + Ada, Clone, Grayson, Black Widow, and Uber. These are titles I promote in the comic shop and when I am talking comics with people who like comics.

In my skimming of reviews, I found that many Internet writers feel as I do that Aquaman and the Others deserves attention. I love the way in which the Aquaman history and cat of characters has been expanded and now supports two titles, kind of like the old Batman and the Outsiders comic from the 1980s. This title often finds its way higher in the stack, where it would be if it had not been displaced by so many other excellent titles.


Even though this week's Moon Knight is the last issue in this run by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey, I do not feel the compunction to add to the fan love-in that are the reviews for this book. My snark is a reaction to the popular opinion as I tend to go the other way when faced with popular opinion. I love Ellis' work, and i have written before about this book, but I have felt some disappointment with it, too, which is why it has dropped to fourth in this week's ranks.

I wrote before of my enjoyment of the Original Sin: Hulk vs. Iron Man, and this final issue is a good conclusion to the mini-series, which drew me mainly because of Mark Bagley's art and kept me riveted with the secret role Tony Stark played in the gamma bomb explosion that created the Hulk.

Other comics that have received text time on this blog are due for full-size reviews such as Uber, Clone, Alex + Ada, and Lazarus. Even some of the last place books have moved up in future weeks and I can say I enjoyed them very much, such as Punisher, She-Hulk, and Green Lantern. But sadly, despite my love for the character, I continue to be very disappointed with Iron Fist: The Living Weapon, so much so that it has literally fallen to last place in this current week here in January of 2015.

For now, that's all. Here's the list and some of the cool covers.



WEEKLY COMICS LIST

Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #004
Kick Ass 3 #8
Lazarus #10
Moon Knight #006
Original Sin: Hulk vs. Iron Man #4
Alex + Ada #8
Black Widow #009
Aquaman and the Others #5
Green Arrow #34
Grayson #2
Clone #19
The New 52: Future's End #14
New Avengers #022
Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #005
Uber #16
Batman: Detective Comics #34
Punisher #009
She-Hulk #007
Green Lantern #34
Batman Eternal #18

BACK LOG

New Warriors #008
Earth 2 #26
Superman: Action Comics #34


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COVER GALLERY















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- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1501.09 - 8:12