|Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog Archive XXXIX
Painted Words of Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag
Saturday, July 19, 2003
Ok. Re-reading my reviews after putting them up, I feel I may have been unfairly harsh on Teen Titans. Three starfish is the lowest possible rating I'll give to something I enjoyed, but is usually reserved for books I'm neutral on. In this case it is low not because of the quality of the book, but because of other circumstances.
The first circumstance is that I'm just not interested in any of the characters in the book. I'm an Aquaman fan, and this version of the Titans won't have Aqualad in it. Nor do any of the other characters appeal to me. But, I can hear you say, you liked Young Justice! These are the same characters! Well, no... they aren't. Young Justice was very much Peter David and Todd Nauck, and nothing that any other artist or writer can do will ever equal the way those characters worked under that creative team.
And that's my second circumstance. DC cancelled a popular and successful series to make way for this book. A series I happened to like. A lot. I was prejudiced against this series before it even got to the printers because of that. And so, when I reviewed it, I held it up against Young Justice as a measure, and it fell short. Not nearly as far short as I thought it would, but enough so to remind me that I'm still not impressed that Young Justice was cancelled to make way for this series.
You would think that, with two strikes already against it going in, that this book didn't have a chance. But with Geoff Johns writing and Mike McKone on the art, it just couldn't be nearly as bad as I half hoped it would be. The premise doesn't excite me, the characters don't interest me, but the writing was pretty good and the art was very strong. So I'm a bit conflicted. I don't want to give the impression that it was a bad book, but I would like to emphasize that I would not have bought it for myself.
My loyalty to Peter David and Todd Nauck for them getting booted off a book that was perfectly good has led to me getting Fallen Angel and WildGuard. It really shouldn't keep me biased against Teen Titans. I won't get the book, but I suppose if my friend puts it on his pull list, I won't NOT read it...
Teen Titans #1: I had decided not to get this book, but my friend decided to toss it on his pull list, so I picked it up for him (along with KISS #11, which I flipped through but didn't read). This issue has good art, strong writing, and absolutely no reason to exist. The whole premise, bringing together the "kids" for training on the weekends strained my suspension of disbelief almost as much as Dick Grayson being willing to pull together a group of strangers into a new Outsiders group because he wasn't worried as much about strangers being killed. However, this worked as a comic book much better than Outsiders. In short, the execution was great, but I still think the book is a waste of time (and a poor replacement for Young Justice).
Amelia Rules #10: Heh, that is one funny-looking Nancy Reagan. And a decent story about two gals who misunderstood each other from the start. While this one isn't as great as the last two, which were more serious stories dealing with Amelia's family and relations, this was a solid issue.
Girl Genius #9: oooh, there's so much fun in this issue. I really wish this book would come out just a little more often. As far as the story has advanced, it's hard to believe we're only on issue 9. The back and forth in this issue was great, though there is a disturbing theme developing along the route of Agatha's future. Very interesting. As always, Phil's art has so many little touches that make the book worth re-reading.
Still to review: Aquaman, Arrowsmith, and Silken Ghost.
News from the con: CrossGen premieres comics on DVD, Jill Thompson premieres the Scary Godmother Animated Special, Comic Book Resources presents still more photos from the con, and here's the Eisner winners.
Smallville #3: I'm not that interested in the interviews or episode guides, though they make this a much nicer package. In this issue, there's also an excerpt from a new Smallville novel. The comic stories were very Lex oriented, one is part one of a continuing story, while the other is a flashback. Good stuff, overall. Certainly fun if you watch the show.
Truth #7: Right after I read this issue, this article appeared in the Seattle Times. A bit of that synchronicity thing. The art is a bit better in this one, mostly. The whole sequence of events still doesn't make much sense to me, even the way I've got it figured. Not a bad ending, I guess, but the series as a whole could have (and should have) been much better.
Batman Adventures #4: There was this first shorter story, in which we learn that even Ra's minions don't truly understand him, then the longer story, in which we learn that Ra's doesn't understand the Detective he so admires. This is a pretty good book all around.
Amazing Spider-Man #55/496: I have mentioned that I really like this title, right? Good interplay of characters, fun adventures... and Peter Parker is a school teacher, like my hubby. Except my hubby can't swing from webs and climb walls (at least, not that I know of). Anyway, this one is set in school, and after the city-crushing adventures of the last few issues, it's a relief to get down to the nitty-gritty again. And this is a good tale. And no, I don't want to play "thump".
Still to review: Amelia Rules, Aquaman, Arrowsmith, Girl Genius, Silken Ghost, and Teen Titans.
Friday, July 18, 2003
I'm kind of at a loss to explain how I feel about the Seattle Mariners chances at getting to the World Series this year. I mean, on the one hand, they are a good team and could go the distance. On the other hand, I've been a Mariners fan as long as there has been a Mariners team, and for some reason I just can't fathom the Mariners actually going to the World Series, must less winning it. It was hard enough to deal with them going to the playoffs that first time. And, if there ever was a year they should have gone all the way, it was 2001.
So when people ask me how I feel about the M's chances, I generally find myself saying, "Um, well, yeah, they are a good team, aren't they?" and trying not to make any predictions. It's always more about how they are playing in September than how they are playing right now, and I've only seen one year in which the team peaked in September. Unfortunately, they peaked in September, then crashed a bit in October...
So, do I think the Seattle Mariners will make it to the World Series? Well, I just don't know. Ask me at the end of September. Do I want them to go all the way? Heck yeah! Seattle could use some good news right now. A baseball championship may not translate into an instant end to the recession, but it would sure lift some badly flagging spirits around here.
HUH? If this is to be believed, and there's a bit of photographic evidence on the article, then I'm a wee bit more worried about the state of the union. A nerd reading a computer printout in public is now a national security threat? Link via This Modern World.
As long as I've gone political again, my readers ought to know about the Judicial Watch documents regarding Iraqi Oil Fields. Does it have any significance? That's for wiser heads than mine to figure out. Link also via This Modern World.
And there's been a military coup in Sao Tome. Here's a timeline of the country, and another viewpoint. Link via OxBlog.
An Iraq expert and former weapons inspector in Britian has been found dead. This guy was fighting allegations that he was the main source for a story about claims that a dossier on Iraq had been "sexed up". Under a lot of pressure, very depressed... police seem to be treating it as suicide.
And here's a reason to hate DirecTV. Apparently, for them, it's guilty until you can convince a judge you are innocent.
And, back to comics and the Comic-Con: Kurt Busiek on Astro City, Wildstorm News (including the next League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series), Crossgen announces Abadazad (a book with the feel of Wizard of Oz and Narnia, with maybe a touch of Harry Potter thrown in), and lastly, some more Wildstorm News.
My thanks to Rich, who sent me H-E-R-O #3 and #4 when I realized I wasn't going to find them at my shop. Here's my thoughts on those, and #5 and #6 which I did find at my shop.
H-E-R-O #3: After the first two issues, I was expecting... I don't know, a turnaround or something. But that wasn't what I got. I got the real events leading up to why this character wanted to commit suicide, and while it was close to what I'd expect, it was also very well done. The cliffhanger was rattling, because I wasn't sure exactly what that last move by the character would be...
H-E-R-O #4: The final issue of the storyarc, and one heckuva way to finish yourself off. If nothing else, Jerry has style. This first arc established something important about the H-E-R-O dial. It's not a blessing. Not necessarily a curse, either, but certainly not a blessing. Definitely a far cry from its Silver Age origins. I like it.
H-E-R-O #5: What would you do if you had superpowers? I don't know what I would do, but the guy in this story manages to make it the epitome of most superhero origin stories in reverse. What if you gave the man who has everything just a little something more? "Ouch", is what.
H-E-R-O #6: Repeat after me, kids. Peer pressure is BAD. And giving in to peer pressure and allowing your classmates to terrorize the school is also bad. But then, this was a funny story, too. So I guess it's not all bad. Humor and drama... yeah, I like this book. Aquaman is in good hands when Pfeifer takes over with issue #15.
Still to review: Amazing Spider-Man, Amelia Rules, Aquaman, Arrowsmith, Batman Adventures, Girl Genius, Silken Ghost, Smallville, Teen Titans, and Truth. Whew.
Speaking of the writer of H-E-R-O and soon Aquaman, Will Pfeifer's latest column is about movies to suit your mood.
Very frightening photo parade from San Diego, courtesy of Comic Book Resources.
The results for the 2003 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. Read them, if you dare! via Elayne Riggs.
I'm glad you like H.E.R.O., Laura. It's currently one of my favorites.
I'm REALLY thinking about picking up Teen Titans. I'm going to wait for your review to cast my decision... (no pressure.)
Posted Sat 19 Jul 03:29 PM by Frank Carrera (firstname.lastname@example.org - www.blurty.com/~fcarrera3)
Well, I guess my revised comments on Teen Titans were important after all...
Posted Sat 19 Jul 07:14 PM by Laura
Thursday, July 17, 2003
My first foray into sketches was a little embarrassing and a lot enlightening. I didn't have a sketchbook of any kind, I just asked a couple of artists at a very small show if they would do a sketch for me. I paid for both sketches, which were done on comic book backing boards. When I next decided to get sketches, I dug out an old sketchbook I had in college (that had some drawings I had done), and brought it along. The first artist to do a sketch for me was Dev Madan. He was really nice, and took a long time on the sketch to make sure he caught the aspect of Aquaman that he wanted to catch. He also seemed to be aware that other artists might use his sketch as a reference, something that happened frequently (I can't tell you how many times an artist had one hand on Dev's sketch so he or she could quickly flip between the sketch being worked on and Dev's sketch). The result was great, and has been seen by every single person who has done a sketch for me since.
by Dev Madan
19 Sep 1999
(permission to post given 11 July 2003 via e-mail)
This sketch was drawn at the Seattle Com-Card Convention #32 on September 19th, 1999. It was the third Aquaman sketch I ever got, and the first in my first sketchbook (it's now on the second page of that sketchbook). It was done in pencil first, then inked over with a pen. The shadows were filled in with felt tip. After the sketch was done, I asked Dev how much I owed him for it, and he seemed surprised. He said I owed him nothing... which surprised me at first. After filling out the entire sketchbook with free sketches, I'm not nearly as surprised anymore, but I am continually thankful.
To see all the sketches I have permission to post so far, check out my Sketchbook Page. If you have any contact information for any of the other artists I'm trying to contact, please e-mail me.
Here's the Periodic Table of Comic Books which shows many of the elements as seen in the pages of comics. Link via The Volokh Conspiracy.
Newsarama has a round-up of headlines from San Diego Comic-Con 2003.
Comic Book Resources has some pictures from Comic-Con up already. They will have continuing coverage, like every other comic book related site. Also, Augie De Blieck has filed his first con report.
Comics Continuum also has a round-up of stories from the Con, including news of two new Elseworlds projects. I guess the rumors of the demise of the Elseworlds line were just that... rumors.
I'm not sure why, but the issue of Aquaman that just came out was much better than the previous couple... except for the artwork. The art is really bad. But the story itself links back to another Black Manta tale, and it fits perfectly. Yeah, if Veitch had Sal for this issue, this would be one of the greater Aquaman stories told.
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Wil Wheaton reports on another attempt to make a Watchmen movie. This one sounds... interesting. Though I honestly cannot see Watchmen being translated to the movie screen. Watchmen is so much about comic books in so many different ways, I just can't imagine it working.
The Seattle Times had a big article yesterday on League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which concludes that the comic book is better than the movie, but whaddyagonnado? I do want to see the movie someday, but after that opening to the All-Star game ("Major League of Extraordinary Gentlemen") I think I can wait for it to show up on TV.
I guess most of my readers will be at the San Diego Comic-Con this weekend. Starting today, in fact, if I read the program correctly. I suppose those of us left behind can commiserate together. It's summertime and I wish I was out and about.
Peter David started a fun place names thread on his blog. Go take a look and read about some of the more interesting town names that really do exist.
Bill Sherman reports on Aquastuff in the latest EW. I also got about a dozen e-mail on the same subject, thanks to everyone who alerted me.
According to Salam Pax, Iraqis only want three things right now: Electricity, Water, and Security.
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
The American League won the All-Star game, and my husband now has a full-time teaching position for next year. Today is turning out to be pretty nice. And tomorrow is our ninth wedding anniversary. Wow. I've been married for nine years??!??posted by Tegan | 8:50 PM
The second Dean entry on Lessig's blog is a bit of a disappointment. It reads like a campaign speech. Yeah, good points made, but it sounds too pat. And there's that picture of Dean superimposed over Lessig! I don't know exactly what I'm looking for from Dean. Something from the heart, I suppose. But then, in order to successfully campaign for president, I'm sure you must put your heart in a box and hide it somewhere until the ordeal is over. The first reason to be suspicious of any presidential candidate is simply the fact that they are a presidential candidate. You have to be a different kind of soul to want that position in government.
Right then. I was going to write some more political garbage, but I haven't got the stomach for it at the moment. I'm sensing that we are at a balance point, and I don't know what way the world is going to shift or if it will just pass over the point as if nothing happened. In short, it's a time of waiting. Rather than spout off at nothing, like I do so well, I feel I should watch and listen instead. So, yeah, I'm following all the stories of the day, but I'll keep quiet until something inspires me to blather.
My husband has told me that when he gets a full-time teaching position, he plans on starting a blog to record his experiences. We just got some news today which may well mean he can start that blog as soon as we had hoped. Fingers crossed, everyone.
Tonight, in a short while, I'm going to start watching the MLB All-Star game. We have a tradition of myself, hubby-Eric, and my awesome little sister Lisa watching the game together, with all the traditional baseball foods. At the moment, I'm just waiting for Lisa and her guests to show. Hubby-Eric suggested I do a blog or two about my experiences as a volunteer during the All-Star Fanfest in 2001. I sort of meant to, but part of me doesn't want to go back there. That was an amazing and painful year in so many ways. So much happened. Perhaps if I can ever focus myself just on those few days, I'll try to write something about them beyond being accosted by the Philly Phanatic.
I've felt that same kind of "balance point" vibe for the past couple years... starting in the run up to the 2000 election, but intensifying right before 9/11. Things have felt... strange, haven't they?
Posted Thu 17 Jul 08:35 AM by Pete ( - http://www.charm.net/~pete/pete.cgi)
I guess we do live in interesting times, eh?
Posted Thu 17 Jul 09:37 AM by Laura
Preparing my comics order, I'm finding that I'm getting a bunch of books I didn't intend to get, and some that I normally wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. See, a friend of ours is ordering his books through us now, and so there's a couple of books that I was thinking about getting that now I am going to end up being able to read. It's very strange. It also has the potential to be very interesting, as I'll be buying books that I don't know I'll like, and reading a few of them. The reason my reviews tend to be positive is because I've gotten pretty good at weeding out stuff I wouldn't like for sure... so if I'm reading other books, my reviews might have a bit of a wider spectrum. Maybe.
I got more permissions to post sketches, and I'll be adding those as I soon as I can make decent scans. I'm still having difficulty finding contact information for a lot of the artists on my list, but that's only to be expected. Maybe I'll run into some of them at cons in the future, and I can ask there.
As long as I'm posting, this week's comic list is huge: Amelia Rules, Girl Genius, Batman Adventures, Smallville, Aquaman, H-E-R-O, Arrowsmith, Amazing Spider-Man, Truth, and Silken Ghost. And it looks like I'll be picking up Teen Titans for my friend, too.
Monday, July 14, 2003
One thought I haven't mentioned yet on here about sketches. I was reminded when Matt let me know he'd seen his sketch on the blog, and his response to it was "Ick" and guilt that he didn't do a better job. Looking at the sketch, I think it's one of the best I've ever seen. I love it.
But then, I'm looking at it with the eye of someone who collects sketches. I know that each and every one was drawn in a hectic "show" environment. The artists are working fast. These aren't their best work, only a "ghost" of what they could turn out given more time and less pressure. They aren't working at a proper drawing table, and there is noise and chaos and strange smells and it's not a good place to do drawings, and yet that's what these poor artists are doing. That the general quality of sketches is so high, despite that, constantly amazes me.
And so remember when I post these here: These are sketches: quick, simple, and for an audience of one. I'm delighted that the artists are allowing me to share them with you, also.
Will Pfeifer's column this week is on, um, "The Man Show".
The first blog entry by Howard Dean is up. It's... well... about halfway to what I was hoping to see from Dean. I'm not exactly enamoured of his campaign people putting up entries above and below his, although I can see the need, actually. Anyway, the entry itself is of interest to regular readers of Lessig's blog, as it's about media consolidation. It's not a bad entry. Nothing too special, but coming from a man who might someday sit in the White House, it is interesting.
A special note to anyone attending San Diego Comic-Con, if you notice anything about Aquaman, could you let me know about it? New writer info, promotional materials, whatever... Just drop me an e-mail when you get back? Thanks. And if you should run into Paul Norris, the creator of Aquaman, please tell him that Laura Gjovaag says "Hi!"
Matt Haley responded to my request within minutes of me sending it out, which I found very impressive. Matt is the victim of my naughty sense of humor. When I first asked him for a sketch, at that same Seattle convention where I was getting the first pages of my sketchbook filled out, he was pretty busy so he drew a "convention sketch" of Batman. It was on the sixth page of my sketchbook, right after Karl Kesel's Aquaman, and I held onto it as a reminder to myself that I wasn't always going to get an Aquaman drawing (I still have it, in fact). At San Diego 2000, I ran into Matt again. This time, there were 39 Aquaman drawings in the book, plus one Akiko, one Groo, one Hulk... and one Batman. I told him that there was something he just had to see, and then I made sure he flipped through the book from the back, so he saw mostly Aquaman until he got to his own Batman sketch. To his credit, he quickly made up for his swirly-eyed Batman with a fantastic Aquaman sketch, which you can see below:
by Matt Haley
22 Jul 2000
(permission to post given 13 July 2003 via e-mail)
This sketch was drawn at the San Diego Comicon on July 22nd, 2000. It is on page 45 of my first Aquaman sketchbook, and is the 42nd Aquaman sketch I got, the 40th of the sketchbook. One thing I still find amazing about my sketchbook is how distinct all the interpretations of Aquaman are. I have 71 Aquaman sketches from different artists as of this writing, and every one of them is remarkable in its own way. I cannot describe to you the simple and profound joy I get when I flip through my sketchbooks. It's like each artist has given me a piece of gold. I am deeply grateful to the artists. First for coming out to a convention, then for being willing to ply their craft in such an individual manner for such an obvious fangirl as me.
To see all the sketches I have permission to post so far, check out my Sketchbook Page. If you have any contact information for any of the other artists I'm trying to contact, please e-mail me.
Sunday, July 13, 2003
Doubt she'll see it, since I think I managed to scare off all my family members from reading my blog, but Happy Birthday Sis. May you have many more and many happy ones in the future.posted by Tegan | 7:42 PM
As promised, here's the first installment of my Aquaman Sketchbook. In addition to being posted here, I'll add each image to my new Sketchbook Page so you can see them all together, or by what ever organization I manage to kludge together. So, here's the first sketch, by Aaron Lopresti:
by Aaron Lopresti
19 Sep 1999
(permission to post given 10 July 2003 via e-mail)
This sketch was drawn at the Seattle Com-Card Convention #32 on September 19th, 1999. This was the second sketch I got at the con (and in my sketchbook), and only the fourth Aquaman sketch I'd ever gotten. I knew Aaron Lopresti's name thanks to his recent work on the Xena comic book. There were some good names at that particular con, and I ended up with eleven sketches, 10 of them Aquaman (and one of them the infamous Matt Haley Batman sketch, see my San Diego 2000 con report under "The Redemption of Matt Haley" for the full story).
If you liked The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Dark Horse is going to give you a little more of it, as they are publishing an quarterly anthology: Michael Chabon Presents The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist. That's right, Kavalier & Clay's fictional Golden Age fictional character is going to be made just a little less fictional this December.
I wrote a quick e-mail to Mark Evanier to ask where the Shrek comic book is, since he's the writer and I'm eager to read it. He didn't tell me if I could pass on the reason that it's late, so I won't. I'll just say that it isn't Mark Evanier's fault, and at this point it looks like it will be very late.
According to Weblogs By Average Daily Traffic listing at the Truth Laid Bear, I get about 37 visits a day. That's about 35 more than I would expect...
Baen Books is looking for a few good cover artists.