Wow. I Suck At Blogging - or - Stormtroopers and Scott Pilgrim.

It's been a week or so since my last post. My, how time flies. If you remember, I had posted herethat I was going to post on a few things soon. Those things, if you're playing along at home, were:

"Picked up a few weeks worth of comics. Expect reviews.

On a related note, Free Comic Book Day was Saturday. I will give you an unflinching look into the dark heart of the event.

New episode of Lost as well as the launch of the Alternate Reality Game - The Lost Experience.

Podcasts: are there any good ones?"

Of those four things, how many have I actually posted on? One! Yay! I suck at blogging! Anyway, so it's time to clean up shop, as I'll be out of the Big Red Robot offices for a bit and I don't want to leave any unfinished business behind. So, without further ado, let's chat, shall we?

First off, Free Comic Book Day. Okay, so those are word that, when said together evoke some magic that makes my heart go all thumpitythump. Free Comics?! I am so there that it is not even funny my good sir. It's like that feeling when someone says "free candy," or "free cake." It's like some amazing dream that you have as a kid that has come true some multitude of years later. For anybody that knows me, you know that I loves me some comics, but you also know that I am poor. Poor as dirt I am, so the idea of a day where I can get a number of comics for nothing is, to say the least, very appealing.

Last year, I picked up some really cool stuff, namely the Sharknife one-shot and the Project: Superior sort-of sampler. Interestingly enough, this is the one time of year when I see the shadow of any kind of indy, non-guys-in-capes-and-long-underwear-punching-each-other book. And I loves me some indy books. Don't get me wrong, I'm no Comics Journal-reading comics snob. I like the superbooks as much as the next comics nerd. I just like other stuff as well.

Anyway, so back on task. I showed up about ten, fifteen minutes before I had to get to work, as the snarky kid behind the counter knows my name now that I have a box there and I have to leave a cushion for if he gets talking about something, though today I arrived early because I figured there'd be a bit of a crowd and I wanted to make sure I got my stuff wit henough time to get to work on time. Anyway, so I'm pulling into the parking lot and there are streamers and balloons and...Stormtroopers? Now, the counter kid had mentioned the Star Wars Dress-Up Club would be there, but I figured (hoped?) by the afternoon, they'd be gone. I was wrong.

Now, I love Star Wars. And I love comics. But I have a real problem with the two of them together. They make no sense when placed together. I'm sure that a majority of comics fans are also sci-fi fans, I know I am, but for a comic book event, wouldn't it make more sense to be dressed as a comic book character rather than a haracter from a science fiction film? It's like me dressing up like an astronaut at a car show. They're both modes of transportation, but really, only tenuously related.

Anyway, so I make my way past these guys, trying not to make eye contact with them, and I get my books. The counter kid pulls a Free Scott Pilgrim out of my box because I was a bit wooried they'd under-order tham and I'd be stuck with no SP goodness.

Anyway, here's my roundup: (originally posted over at iFanboy)

Bongo Comics Free-For-All! - Dunno why. I was curious about the Bongo house style and loved Futurama and the Simpsons (back when it was funny...remember those days). Plus, it was free. Pretty dreadful stuff, actually. It was written, I assume, by the type of people who think they're quite clever and keep elbowing you in the ribs and winking after each punch line.

Future Shock - From Image. Snippets from upcoming issues of Fear Agent, G�dland (which is why I picked it up...That book totally owns me), Invincible (which I really need to get around to reading), Noble Causes (makes my head hurt), Savage Dragon (featuring a blatant rip-off of the Super-Skrull) and, uh, Witchblade (no inerest whatsoever). An interesting idea on paper, but the inclusion of only a few out-of-context pages left me confused and didn't whet my appetite at all.

X-Men/Runaways - Skottie Young's art bugs. I have no problem with "cartoony," or "kinetic," art (heck, I love Sharknife to little bitty bits) but to use it well, it has to be used in a proper context, and maybe it's just me, but the X-men just don't seem to fit that style of art. Also, the whole "they meet misunderstand each other and fight and then come to a truce," thing is REALLY played out, especially in Runaways. I dropped this title back at the beginning of teh second series and, well, this didn't make me want to come back, unfortunatley.

The Preposterous Voyages of Ironhide Tom! - Far and away the best thing to come out of FCBD-06. Joel Priddy's brillaint "Onion Jack" strip from the Superior Sampler stole the FCBD-05 show. After thoroughly enjoying that clever dissection of, and love note to, the superhero genre, I honestly would have paid good money for this, the unlikely tales of the child of a "scurvy sailor" and a, uh, typhoon, as he ammasees and loses fortunes and, basically, has a bunch of adventures that straddle the line between myth and ridiculousness. Pure gold.

Free Scott Pilgrim - I [heart] Scott Pilgrim. Seriously, this is one of the best little OGN series out there - a hybrid relationship comic/arcade game that reads a lot better than it sounds. It's a ton of fun. This was a funny little taste of his universe, but admittedly, it's a bit lightweight. Creator Brial Lee O'Malley's website, www.scottpilgrim.com, says vol. 3 is at the printers and should be in your LCS on May 24th, so that's good news. After devouring the first two volumes (vol. one: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life and vol. two: Scott Pilgrim Versus the World), I've been waiting (not so) patiently for this one: Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness. Smashing Pumpkins reference? I am so there. If you love Nintendo, love and/or rock&roll, check this out - stat.

Owly: Breakin' the Ice - Man, I so want to like Owly, but it's just a bit too cutesy for me. Still, for kids, it's a decent gateway comic ("get 'em while they're young...") and I admire his use of visuals rather than text to convey the story.

So there you go. Not a bad haul for free. Some genuinely good stuff in there, too. So, one down, two to go. Can I get a "what what?"


"HOORAY!" For Mommies!

It's Mother's Day, so to all the Momma's and Baby's Momma's out there, a big shout out. Word.

So I'm Out Of Shcool For the Time Being...

And I want to play videogames so badly I can taste it, so the 8-bit Nintendo's getting a bit of a workout. Mainly Dr. Mario, but I also kicked it old-school with a bit of Super Mario Brothers as well. It's amazing that I can sit down and still, all these years later, remember where every hidden power-up and extra life are in that stinking game. I either need to get some new games off of Ebay (Metroid is sounding pretty good, or a Zelda game) or I need to find a cheap (free?) X-Box so I can "hook up the skills," (previous statement ™ & © Jefferson Brailsford Industries, Inc.) on some Knights of the Old Republic or X-Men Legends. What is it about videogames that beckons me so? I dunno but I'm gonna go hook up some Dr. Mario before church.

Scott Pilgrim Vol. 3 Hits On the 24th!

Just checking the Scott Pilgrim site for news on the latest volume and, wonder of wonders, it'll be in shops next Wednesday, the 24th. This is wonderful. I also found this promotional wallpaper, which is a work of genius:


This Photo Is Priceless

Flipping through my latest issue of Entertainment Weekly (aaah, how I love thee) and saw this picture:

How genius is that? It's DangerMouse (he produced the last Gorillaz album, was one half of the Dangerdoom album and mashed up the Beatles' White Album and Jay-Z's Black Album to make - what else - the Grey Album) and Cee-Lo of, apparently, Goodie Mobb (sorry, I am just not all that into to R&B/Hip-hop). Together they're Gnarles Barkley and this (and others, not quite as brilliant as this one, though) is one of their publicity shots. And it is gold.

I have no idea if the album is any good - though the first single "Crazy," is apparently #1 all over the place - but this picture alone piques my curiosity.

Just thought I'd share.


A Month of Comic Books

We went through a patch where funds were tight and the few books I was getting were coming out here and there, so I waited a few weeks to pick up my books. I dropped Legion of Super-Heroes - which is now called Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes thanks to DC's One Year Later event - not because it's a terrible book or anything, but more because it's just "consistently pretty good," and honestly, you've got to do bette rthan "consistently pretty good" to get my money. I'll consider picking up the trades sometime, but for now, dropped.

We'll go in order of how much I enjoyed them, from least to most. First up,

Peter David's X-Factor #6. I went in this last week and told the counter jockey at my local comic shop that I wanted to drop Legion and X-Factor, but ended up picking this up on Free Comic Book Day after a few days of self-doubt. I've been a Peter David fan since his original run with Larry Strohman (Do you remember how much that guy ruled?) on X-Factor back in the day, as well as his Wolverine "Blood Hungry," story with Sam Kieth (remember how much THAT guy ruled?) that ran in Marvel Comics Presents. He's funny, quick and knows how to plot a story. Lately he's been put on doomed books (Captain Marvel, anyone) that, despite his best efforts, disappear. I worry about this book sometimes, which is why I will continue to pick it up, despite the fact that it's in a similar situation as Legion in terms of being solid, but not knocking my socks off. This issue focuses on Layla Miller, the enigmatic character spun out of Marvel's 2005 "House of M," mega-crossover. Layla "knows stuff," a catchphrase that says nothing and is getting a bit tiresome. in this issue, David explains Layla's abilities a little better. It seems a little like Peggy's abilitiy in Card's Alvin Maker books - Layla can see how things maight urn out and can affect them through small actions. She's a walking Butterfly Effect. And that's pretty cool. David has a way of taking powers and characters that seem kind of lame (Multiple Man, I'm looking at you) and making them interesting and cool (Multiple Man, I'm looking at you). My only complaint is that the story is progressing a bit sluggishly, but we are getting some good character moments, so it's a fair trade. For the time being, I'm sticking with this book, despite the fact that we've lost Sook (initially, a major selling-point for me) completely on art. Calero's decent, if a bit stiff, but he still maintains the noir-ish look befitting a detective story. Also, the cover isn't doing it for me but it's nowhere near as ugly as the last issue's.

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #4 of 5. As insanely ludicrous as the last three issues have been. Love is in the air: Guy and Edie's reunion is halted because...well, Mr. Sensetive is a lot less agressive now that he's dead, which Edie finds annoying, especially for eternity; Dead Girl and Doctor Strange continue to flirt; and the Phantom RIder gives Guy some advice on how to get your horse to love you again. Oh, and the Pitiful One and the Ancient one may have killed Doctor Strange. A fun little miniseries and a great cover by the ever-amazing Allreds.

Godland #10. What to say about this series? It's still rocking after ten issues and I'm still surprised at how a) dense it is, and b) how fun it is. Adam Archer gets tortured by Freidrich Nickelhead and Eghad, a giant cosmic pyramid erupts from Mount Everest, Adam's sister Neela's shady space launch is a success, but has knocked out all power in North America, Stella tries to take the space pyramid on in a fighter jet but is sucked in and Maxim manages to break Adam free of Freidrich's bonds. This is what cosmic comics are all about. Pure pop goodness.

Iron Man: the Inevitable #5 of 6. Man, this book is cool. Tony deals with the fallout from last issue, is confronted by Doc Samson and may have been led into Spymaster's trap. Great story, great character moments and great art. I've always had an affinity for the character, but have never been enticed into buying the book, despite Ellis' run in the main title (though I wa sinterested, I was scared off by the "super-decompression" mode Ellis has been into lately). I'm glad I've picked this series up, though I wish Casey and Irving were the doing more than just a mini, though my wallet breathes a silent sigh of relief.

Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. #4. Pretty much like every other issue of the series: stuff blows up, some jokes are funny, some fall flat, the art is amazing and this is big dumb fun. By now you like it or you don't. Personally, I'm in the former camp. Nextwave is, essentially, a Saturday Morning Cartoon. On drugs. I mean, how can you not love a comic book where the characters utter llines like: "Ever since I found out these guys are half-broccoli, I've wanted to know if they'd burn."? Also, did I mention that stuff blows up?

Planetary #25. Well, it's wrapping up. This is one of the books that got me back into the comic book game. This, Morrison on New X-Men and Milligan and Allred's X-Force, so I'm committed to the end. This issue comtaind the Four's "origin" story, as they tapped into the Bleed and struck a bargain with a planet of superpeople to have the earth ready for them to take over in fifty years. Hence them having to neutralize Elijah in his search to unearth the stuf fthey'r eholding back from humanity. My personal, "Heckyess!" moment occured when Nick Fury analog John Stone pulled the flesh of his hand off to reveal the Devil's Claw, a red metal hand that he chopped of of some bad guy years ago. Pulp touches like that are what cemented my love for this book and, in a way speak to the meta-textual story Ellis is telling here. The birth of thr Fantastic Four in the early 60's effectively stopped forward momentum in comics, making them the template and the foundation. Sure, some Golden Age characters exist, in fact, most fof them make up DC's roster of icons, bu tthey've all cowtowed to the Marvel style in some way in order to stay "relevant." If I'm reading him right, Ellis is recommending that in order to save comics, we need to look back even further, to their pulp roots and the variety of genres explored therein and that a blind allegiance to superhero comics may spell the end for the medium.

Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein #4 of 4. Kicked. It just kicked. I've loved this mega-series and am waiting like a sonuva for the wrap up in Seven Soldiers #1. Frankenstein now works for S.H.A.DE., kills Neb-U-Loh and travels a billion years in the future to Summer's End to track down the Sheeda Queen. We learn that the Sheeda are future beings who pillage their own past to survive, an idea that has been banging around the barbelith boards for a looong time now ad kind of speaks to the meta text as well, as comics are guilty of the same past-pillaging as the Sheeda. It will be interesting to see how this all wraps up, but really, Morrison owns me. I'll love it even if it takes me months to figure out why.

Anyway, that's all for now. Next up: I [heart] Lost.


Coming Attractions

So I'm going to be playing catch-up the next week or so, but here's a look at what I'll be posting on:

Picked up a few weeks worth of comics. Expect reviews.

On a related note, Free Comic Book Day was Saturday. I will give you an unflinching look into the dark heart of the event.

New episode of Lost as well as the launch of the Alternate Reality Game - The Lost Experience.

Podcasts: are there any good ones?

Anyway, this is where I'll be heading the next week or so, so check back and expect to be enthralled! Or at least have something to do when you;re supposed to be working!

The Wall of Sound Is Built

I started postin gonn my other blog, the Wall of Sound, where I am beginning the herculean task of reviewing my CD collection. The link will be over on the sidebar, so check it out when you get a chance and please please please post a comment. That is all.

My Week of Relaxation Is Over...& Movie Roundup

This last week has been fun. The semester is finally over and I did pretty well. Had a nice visit with my folks last weekend and have been taking it easy this last week.

We went to the Hogle Zoo and did some shopping in Salt Lake (Candace already covered it over here), I worked quite a bit and rested a lot. I'm still trying to shake the feeling that there's some project I should be working on (there isn't), but other than that, I've had a great week.

We've been getting slowly addicted to CleanFlix, a service where they edit the sex and language out of films so they're "safe," or family viewing. Basically, it's an easy way for us to see all of the R-rated movies we've been wanting to see without breaking our streak or seeing/hearing something we don't want or need to hear/see. Personally, I think it's brilliant. So far we've seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (just phenomenal, seriously, I'm in love with this movie) and Garden State (mmmm, I really wanted to love it to bits, but it just doesn't sustain itself through its duration, kind of fizzles out somewhere in the last act).

I was worried it'd be really hokey, like the time I saw the edited version of Pulp Fiction on channel 21 or 33 back in the day. Does anybody else remember how hilarious that was? Anyway, with Eternal Sunshine, it was hard to tell if the edits were going to be awkward because, well the edits are awkward in the film, so Garden State was the litmus test, and it seemed to work alright. Nothing stood out or took you out of the experience, so, yeah, I'm hooked. The short list for upcoming movies (I seriously have been compiling a list in my head of R-rated movies I'd like to see if I ever decided to "go back" to watching them - knowing full well that that probably was never going to happen) looks like: the Squid and the Whale, I [heart] Huckabees, Broken Flowers (I'm a sucker for Bill Murray and Jim Jarmusch, what can I say?), Match Point (I'm a sucker for Woody as well), and I kind of want to see Amelie and Donnie Darko, though I'm not sure if they stock the latter - we'll see.

As long as we're talking movies, I guess I'll do a Netflix Roundup. Starting with the least to most recent, we have:

The Work of Director Spike Jonze - Pretty cool stuff. This music video collection hits all the, uh, "hits,": Chris Walken's mind-blowing dancing in Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice," and the hilarity of "Praise You," the still genius but over-played "Sabotage," Bjork's show-stopping and celebratory "It's Oh So Quiet," Weezer's "Buddy Holly," and "Undone (the Sweater Song)," (the latter of which I still think is a dumb video, but it's well-known), and the Breeder's "Cannonball." There are some clunkers here, as well: the Bad Boy rap videos, the Beastie Boys' "Sure Shot," the aforementioned Weezer video; all of which are so bland that they could have been directed by anybody. Daft Punk's "Da Funk" is an interesting idea that just falls flat, as is Dinosaur Jr.'s "Feel the Pain." This video was more interesting fo me for the videos I hadn't seen or forgotten I'd seen, namely the Pharcyde's "Drop," the Chemical Borthers "Elektrobank," and the positively genius "What's Up Fatlip?" from the Pharcyde's Fatlip. When he's on, Jonze is electric, reminding you that music videos can be more than commercials, more than style experiments or cheap camera tricks - they can be miniature works of art that compliment and elevate the accompanying score. This should be required viewing for anyone interested in working in the usually soulless abyss of music videos. I'd give it an A-.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington - Didn't watch it because the disc was skipped pretty badly, and it was pan-and-scan, and it was a terrible reproduction. For a film regarded as a "classic," on the cover, this is a poor product to be putting out.

Guided by Voices: Watch Me Jumpstart - Not as interesting as I'd like it to be, this documentary was shot sometime in the mid-90's, featuring the "classic lineup" of the band. Had this been 1998 and had I not just read Jim Greer's Hunting Accidents, which covers a lot of the same ground as this documentary and then some, I might have been a bit more impressed. Still, the mythology of the band is presented: Bob Pollard used to teach elementary school, he writes songs like other people replace skin cells, he records said songs in his basement with his buddies, he's a bit of an egotistical jerk and he likes beer. The live performances are decent, especially the more recent one from Poland I think. The music videos included are, well, terrible (notable exception being the "Glad Girls," video which is the bee's knees, and a kicking song to boot) and the doc itself suffers from art-student-itis, with faux-arty interludes that overstay their welcome. Not the definitive story of the band, but a decent primer. Grade: B-

Sliding Doors - Oh my goodness, a romantic drama set in Hypertime! (Non-comic-book nerds beware, but an expllaination can be found here.) A decent little movie, but nothing to get all worked up about. Paltrow is good and the Scottish guy who plays her love interest is great as well.

Just Friends - In which nobody acts like a normal human being, let alone exudes qualities or personalities that are remotely likeable, but is entertaining even though it falls apart if you look at it sideways. There's some part of me that wants to like Ryan Reynolds, but I don't know if I can get past the smarm! He is smarm made flesh. In this role, it works, though, as I mentioned earlier, he's supposed to be the sympathetic character but is, in actuality, a jerk. Grade: C+

Star Wars: Clone Wars: Vol. 1 - Bryan got me Vol. 2 for Christmas, but I waited to watch them both together. Vol. 1 is the better of the two, mainly because the five-minute episodes allow for fightin' and fightin' only. Seriously, if I want drama and exposition or story, any of that crap, I'll rent some girly movie like Braveheart. For a Star Wars cartoon, I wants me some fightin', and both volumes deliver plenty of that, though the first volume delivered it in greater quantities. Grade (for both): B+

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - A fun little film. Liked the casting, especially Sam Rockwell as Zaphod and Martin Freeman (from the UK version of the Office) as Arthur. The motion pieces that pop up from time-to-time are cool as are the muppets from teh Henson workshop. Clever, witty and ridiculous, just like the source material. Grade: B+

In the Mood for Love - I already gushed about this film here, but it's an A+ all the way.

Good Night, and Good Luck - Another great movie. Well-shot, -scripted, -acted and -paced. Well done. Grade: A

Super Furry Animals: Rings Around the World - Wow, this was a disappointment. The idea is to take the excellent SFA album and pair it with interesting visuals. Well, it was a great idea, but a terrible execution. An overwhelming majority of the pieces are either poorly-made or have nothing to do with the song. The only pieces that really were worth watching were the "Juxtapozed With U," piece and Pete Fowler's (crappily animated) piece for the track that escapes me just now. I'd like to say I enjoyed it, but in the end, it was a letdown. Grade: C-

The Apartment - Wow. This blew me away. Smart, sad and beautiful, this is Billy wilder at the top of his game. The cinematography is excellent, the writing snappy and the acting spotless. Grade: A

The Legend of Zorro - I saw the first Zorro movie on TV a while back, having blown it off as a stupid popcorn movie (which it is, it's just a smart stupid popcorn movie) and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Plus, I will admit that I kind of think that Antonio Banderas is cool. The sequel continues in the same vein as the original, as it is still dumb fun, but it's a little too all-ages and stretches its plausability a bit too thin. A little less dumb and a little more fun and it would have been killer, but still, not that horrible. Grade: B.