Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog Archive XLIV
Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag's Unfair and Unbalanced Archive

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Sketchbook - Brandon Graham

Universe So Big might be the coolest little comic book that you've never heard of. It was one of those rare books that I bought solely on the strength of the solicitation, and I enjoyed it immensely. Well, the first two issues, at least, as that was all that came out. While it probably helped that the creator has Seattle connections, it was the distinctive and unique style that drew me in, a style that came through in Brandon's Aquaman sketch.

AQUAMAN: Saving the World from the Ocean Up
by Brandon Graham
20 Jul 2001
(permission to post given 5 Aug 2003 via comments)

This is one of only three sketches I got at San Diego Comic-Con 2001, my second, and so far last, visit to the Comic-Con International. I wasn't in a very sketch-getting mood at that con, mostly because my hubby was tagging along, and I wanted to enjoy the con with him, not stand in front of artists asking for sketches the entire time. When I ran across Brandon in a publisher's booth showing his portfolio, I begged a sketch from him. I was delighted with the result, and I'm delighted to share it with you. Now I just want to see the rest of Universe So Big.

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.

posted by Tegan | 8:31 PM |

Buncha Random Thought-like Thingys

Looks like a lot of people are finding my blog thanks to my throwaway comment on Ozzy Osborne's awful rendition of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" at a recent Cubs game. Folks, it was horrible. He didn't know the words. He mumbled the song. It was awful. And the night it happened, I swear that every news and sports report I stumbled across showed it. I couldn't avoid it.

I confess. I've been playing blogshares. Staying up all night while hurting meant that I needed to find something to do. I started playing B$ and suddenly started showing up on the Best Players of the Month list. I'm probably still on it somewhere. Very odd.

Boobies! That's right, Boobies! What, don't you like Boobies?

Ah, how about the lifestyle of a news story according to the world of blogging. This one is pretty amusing. via The Volokh Conspiracy

Johnny Bacardi weighs in on the CrossGen fiasco.

Legomancer covers comics, particularly mature readers comic books like Powers. He has pretty much the same opinion of the Powers letter column that I have.

I've been mentioning Wildguard for some time here on my blog... so I might as well mention the nice interview on Pulse with Todd Nauck about the book. The first issue is due out on September 10th. That's already shaping up to be a good week for comics for me.

Hubby-Eric has updated his blog with some information about the new program that his new school has, including what they are using the Gates Foundation grant for. I found it interesting.

We had an exterminator come to see if he could find the cause of the many house flies that we thought might be coming from some sort of deceased creature in the attic. He found nothing in the attic, and nothing in the crawl space, although I understand he couldn't reach every part of the crawl space. So the mystery of the flies remains unsolved.

Jim Henley has an interesting article on the fundamental anti-Christianity of antisemitism. Basically, if you claim to be Christian, yet blame "the Jews" for the pre-ordained death of Christ, you aren't really paying much attention to your own religion. I agree. Antisemitism is stupid.

Here's an interesting site. A guy traveling around Iraq taking pictures and making observations. One picture you won't see is a picture of him: "But here I am a Hobo. I like to travel more then I like to write this newsletter or blog. If I was famous, or people could see me and recognize me, they would think maybe I am special. I am just me. Nothing special. Just a guy enjoying life as I wish. If a person could recognize me I would be famous." via BuzzMachine

An Iranian's view of what's been happening in Alabama. Go, Read. also via BuzzMachine

Next up: Sketchbook picture.

posted by Tegan | 2:21 PM |

Rapid Reviews - 20 August 2003 - Part III

Outsiders #3: Not a bad dynamic of characters. Joker, Luthor, and a bunch of kid heroes. But I still feel like I'm reading something that was forced together for the sake of creating a new book. 3 starfish

Arrowsmith #2: This book gets better. And better. The artwork is superb. The writing is fantastic. And I love the alternate universe that we're being shown, as well as the terrifying hints as to what is really happening in the War. This is a great book. 4 starfish

Warning: After the recent problems with CrossGen, you may want to take any of my reviews of CrossGen books with a grain of salt, as I may be filtering my perceptions through mud-colored glasses.

Way of the Rat #16: The action kicks up a bit, which is a nice change. We also get to see at least one instance of the ghost haunting the city being more dangerous than we thought they might be. I'm beginning to think that Zhumar is a city even more cursed than Aquaman's Atlantis. 3 1/2 starfish

That's this week's reviews. Due up next week are Superman: Red Son, Empire, Green Lantern, JLA, and Amazing Spider-Man.

posted by Tegan | 12:40 AM |

Friday, August 22, 2003

More on CrossGen vs Freelancers

I somehow missed this morning's Journalista, which once again tackles CrossGen's problems. And true to Dirk's attitude, no punches are pulled. I've disagreed with Deppey on a few things in the past, but he's absolutely correct on this one.

There are also some other good links in today's Journalista, including one to an article on copyright that discusses the ill-fated "Air Pirates" comic, which was a particularly nasty parody of Disney and Mickey Mouse.

posted by Tegan | 10:56 PM |

Fair and Balanced

Yah! It's a Fair and Balanced day for free speech! Reuters, Associated Press via Yahoo, CNN, and Fox News. Some quotes from U.S. District Judge Denny Chin: "There are hard cases and there are easy cases. This is an easy case. This case is wholly without merit, both factually and legally." and "Parody is a form of artistic expression protected by the First Amendment. The keystone to parody is imitation. Mr. Franken is clearly mocking Fox." and "There is no intent by Franken to palm himself off as a Fox commentator." However, the case is not settled yet. The judge simply refused to grant an injunction that could have stopped sale of the book, but he did not end the case. So I plan on staying Fair and Balanced a wee bit longer, until we know this thing is dead. You see, the Fox spokescritter was heard to say after the hearing: "We don't care if it's Al Franken or Al Lewis or Weird Al Yankovic. We're here to protect our trademark and our talent." And that argues that they will continue to fight.

Here's some animated political cartoons at Mark Fiore's Website. If you have the time, go to the main page and just move your cursor around. It's kinda fun to watch the donkey and elephant beating each other up. Don't forget to move around on the links at the top, too. Oh yeah, you gotta have flash installed for this to work. via Mark Evanier

For another bit of fun flash animation, go to and move your cursor over the Kermit icon in the corner.

Here's an interesting article about how people perceive their leaders, and how people would vote for those leaders. via Franklin's Findings

posted by Tegan | 5:40 PM |

Late Nigh--- Morning Thoughts

There is something moving around in the back yard, making lots of noise. I keep hearing it, going over and turning on the back light, and not seeing anything. Then as soon as I sit down again, it starts making noise again.

Ever want to read a Jack Chick tract while snarky 'bots make rude comments? Here's your chance! By the way, if that's how D&D games are supposed to be, I've clearly been going to the wrong games for years. via Pop Culture Gadabout

Sean Collins has an excellent essay on manga on his blog. I certainly agree with many of his points. Definitely worth reading if you are a comic book fan. And, best wishes to Sean's wife, too (I doubt he'll read this, but it's a good thing to say).

Our local regular comic convention finally has a website. Yah! This is the con where I started getting sketches, and I plan on attending and asking some folks that are there for permission to post their sketches.

Quadruplets. No fertility drugs involved. Wanna read more about them? Here's the latest Seattle Times update on this poor family blessed with unexpected extra kids.

Wil Wheaton discusses his encounter with a bear after rambling on for a long time on various subjects. I've met a bear, and I'd rather not meet one again in any kind of similar circumstances.

10,000 dead in France. Yeah, read that again. Ten THOUSAND. From a heat wave. In a supposedly civilized country. How can this happen?

posted by Tegan | 1:17 AM |

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Rapid Reviews - 20 August 2003 - Part II

Birds of Prey #58: I'm reminded that I almost dropped this book, but held on to see what Simone would do with it. I'm not regretting that decision. Despite the addition of Huntress, this book has definitely taken a turn for the better. 3 1/2 starfish

JLA: Scary Monsters #6: A cop out ending? Or a revelation about J'onn's people coupled with the birth of a new superhero? It's not like the series wasn't telegraphing that Kishana was going to be something special, but I guess I was just hoping that she wouldn't turn into (spoilers) . (end spoilers) I'm just not as impressed as I wanted to be. 3 starfish

Still to review: Outsiders, Arrowsmith, and Way of the Rat.

posted by Tegan | 6:00 PM |

Ouch and CrossGen

The sunburn has flared up again, and the pain is so intense that I couldn't sleep. So up I stay, blogging away...

I followed this gender genie link from Johnny Bacardi's blog, and pasted my "angry memory of the day" bit from Friday the 14th's first blog entry, and the gender genie told me that I'm male. My husband won't be happy to hear that.

Peter David and friends go on a little riff about profanity in comic books, and in general use.

Now there's a couple of threads on Comicon about the CrossGen problem. Here's where CrossGen insults the freelancers, and here's where the freelancers respond. CrossGen is just losing more and more mojo with me. Especially after Alessi basically calls the freelancers blackmailers. Gee, since when is letting people know that a company doesn't pay its freelancers as a warning to other freelancers been blackmail? Oh yeah, since the charge was leveled against Alessi's company. Dip. Pay your bills and keep your word and you wouldn't get this kind of complaint. Duh.

I guess the biggest shocker about this whole CrossGen thing is how Alessi set himself up for the fall. Since the start, he's made such a big deal about how different his company was going to be. How honest. How they were going to ship on time, darnit! They were going to be good to their employees! And for four long years it worked. The reputation Alessi worked so hard to build up held strong, even with rumors floating around in the comics world, and a group of hardcore CrossGen skeptics constantly predicting their downfall. The average reader, like me, still liked them. But this! Hearing about this has changed my mind about them. I can't not like the books... the ones I read I tend to enjoy. But I no longer think of them as the "good" company that doesn't cheat its employees. And that factor alone had me willing to try out new CrossGen books, and stick with some books during times they seemed to falter. They no longer have the magical shield of reputation.

I always thought of Alessi as a good person trying to do something great for the comic book world. I didn't know if he'd succeed, and sometimes, I confess, I didn't care. It seemed enough that he was making the effort. But his attack on Robin Riggs for daring to warn his fellow artists of CrossGen's deceptive business practices (and I think not sending a contract while constantly promising one is on the way, telling an artist his work isn't good, then publishing it anyway without paying him is pretty darn deceptive) has removed Alessi from my list of people I can respect.

Gah... I got a little carried away there. Managed to forget I was hurting for a moment. Ah well, more later...

Update: Sunburn report: As we approach 3 am, my sense of reality is distorting enough that I think I can actually decribe the pain in my shoulders in terms that make sense. When I read this after I've had some sleep, though, I may be wrong. I still have five areas that are seriously burned. My right shoulder, my left shoulder, my left upper arm, my upper chest, and my left shoulderblade. The worst two by far are my left arm and shoulder. My left shoulderblade itches and burns. It feels like someone is lightly rubbing fine-grained sandpaper over it, every once in awhile the person bears down a little and I get a sharp pain. I never knew that air could be so painful. My right shoulder is much better off. The only time I feel pain there is when anything touches it. I have to be careful not to turn my head to the left, because when my ponytail hits it, it hurts. It's like hot wires being dragged across the shoulder. My upper chest is much the same as my right shoulder, but it's also slightly itchy, so I'm tricked into touching the areas and every touch hurts as though I've just stabbed myself. I can't help but look down to make sure I'm not bleeding. Then there is the left arm and shoulder. They feel like someone has taken a two by four and pounded on me for awhile, then drove several nails into the painful spots, then pounded on me with the board again. It's been two weeks, folks. I thought sunburns went away fairly quickly.

posted by Tegan | 2:11 AM |

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Rapid Reviews - 20 August 2003 - Part I

Cinnamon El Ciclo #1: I read this one first because I wasn't sure what to expect. In fact, I'm not sure why I ordered it, I just had a little mental nudge that said, "you'll like it" and I listened. Well, no matter where the intuition came from, it was right, I did like it. Nice art, and the story moves along well. There's a lot said that isn't told outright, the old "show not tell" in action. Yeah, this is a keeper. 4 starfish

Batman Adventures #5: I wasn't sure, when this series began, how much I'd enjoy a Batman Adventures with an ongoing plotline, as I feel that's one of the major weaknesses of the current regular Batman books: too much continuity. However, this has been handled well from the start, and the stories are strong enough, and stand alone well enough, to make up for any problem I might have with self-referential books. The backup story is also very interesting, and makes me wonder, yet again, how Cobblepot became Mayor... 4 starfish

Good start to this week's reading. Still to review: Birds of Prey, JLA Scary Monsters, Outsiders, Arrowsmith, and Way of the Rat.

posted by Tegan | 11:06 PM |

More Random Thoughts

Ah yes, the ever popular "Eaten by Monsters" internet error... via Elayne Riggs

Journalista has more on CrossGen, and I have to agree with him. CrossGen is certainly coming across as slimy in this one, implying that the folks who are complaining weren't good artists. I don't know how CrossGen thinks they are in the right here, as they didn't even bother to send Robin Riggs a contract. If they simply hadn't paid him, that's one thing. But how much does it cost for them to send him a contract after promising several times to do so?!?? Not paying is certainly bad enough, but at least understandable if the company is having financial problems. Not sending a contract is nearly unforgivable.

Am I the only person in the world who didn't get tons of that virus? Even my hubby got bunches of it in his mailbox, but I didn't see more than one or two in mine. Maybe I should sulk...

There's a new Baghdad Blog: Baghdad Burning by Riverbend, Salam's friend.

posted by Tegan | 9:23 AM |

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Random Bits of Internet Flotsam

Despite his self-professed boredom with CrossGen, Dirk Deppey has posted a link to a message board discussion about Robin Riggs' CrossGen problems, that includes Robin and other CrossGen freelancers. I hope this situation is resolved soon, as it's hard to enjoy CrossGen books knowing how they treated Robin.

ICv2 reports that retailers can vote on the date of next year's Free Comic Book Day at the Diamond website.

If I see that clip of Ozzy Osborne attempting to sing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" at a Cubs game again, I might throw something at the TV.

Doc Shazam has advice for angry bosses: don't shoot your employees in the head with a nail gun. Ouch. She's promised to post the x-rays later.

ASCII Movies? Yup. You need to see them to believe them. via Glenn Given

Wahoo! Someone found a source for some of the funny quotes about Franken in the FNC suit. via Atrios

Hubby-Eric just got his MMR update yesterday, which is why this article in the Observer was of interest to me.

Yet another internet virus is on the loose. Keep an eye out for it. I think I got this one yesterday, but didn't open the attachment for obvious reasons.

Salam Pax has some strong words about the latest attack in Baghdad. This has thrown him in to another depression. Between G being beaten by American troops and bombs going off, I'm afraid I don't blame him.

posted by Tegan | 12:01 PM |

Monday, August 18, 2003

Various Bits

Latest National Geographic (it has Zebras on the cover) has a haunting article that you should read. It's about slavery. Modern slavery. According to the contents page: "There are more slaves today then were seized from Africa in four centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade." And don't think that it's happening only in third-world countries: "According to Kevin Bales, there are between 100,000 and 150,000 slaves in the U.S. today." Read it, and maybe wonder how people can do this to one another.

On to less painful things. The same issue of National Geographic reports that New York is phasing out subway tokens, and they'll be gone by the end of the year. Ack! I won't be able to get any for my coin collection, as there is no chance of me visiting New York before then. Oh well.

Also in that issue of National Geographic is a great article on living underwater, complete with photos of two divers operating on fish on an underwater operating table. It was right out of an Aquaman comic, let me tell you...

For a time I was showing as a "Flippery Fish" on The Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem. Very appropriate.

Mark Evanier continues to go deeper into his own little delusional world on his blog. I think I'll stop commenting on it, but go visit to see for yourself. It is really quite cool.

More good follow-up on the Blackouts in New York at Amy Langfield's New York Notebook

posted by Tegan | 2:32 PM |

Rapid Reviews - 13 August 2003 - Part V

Batman Archives Vol 1: Lots and Lots of little stories. I LOVE Golden Age reprints. They are quite nicely bite-sized and fun. And it's always interesting to see Batman using guns. All told, this is a great archive, and I wish we could see more Golden Age characters reprinted (like, oh, Aquaman). 4 starfish

Miranda #2: Despite the length of time since the last issue, this was pretty easy to get back into. Miranda is the empress of the universe, but she didn't know that until she was brought forward in time to become the empress... and there's a whole lot of political intrigue that she has got to learn in record time. The artwork is mostly good, but there is a fight sequence that got very confusing. There's also a bit of a problem with word balloon placement that disrupts the flow of the story. All-in-all, though, it's a good issue. 3 1/2 starfish

Miranda #3: After learning of her immediate fate, Miranda flees... Again, strong storytelling artwork. This issue is stronger on flow, and gives us more tastes of the overall story-arc. Another good issue. I'm mildly disturbed at the "Issue four available at the end of July" proclamation on the back cover, though. Wonder when we'll get it? 3 1/2 starfish

Aquaman Chronicles #10: I usually am not inclined to review this publication, as I'm usually a contributor. Circumstances made it impossible for me to contribute to this issue, though, so I can safely comment on it. Let's see... great cover by Joe Rubinstein of Aquaman and Orion, which sets the tone for the stuff inside. There's a simply incredible article about Don Newton by Barry Keller, who runs the Art of Don Newton website. Then we get into the New Gods information, including speculation on Orion's long feud with Aquaman. Richard Duncan reports on his submission to DC Comics: A crossover with Aquaman and Orion. There's a lot more, too. This is a huge issue of what I'm finding to be one of the most professional fanzines I've ever seen. Check it out.

posted by Tegan | 2:13 AM |

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Happy Day!

A shout out to my nephew Jordan. Happy Birthday!

posted by Tegan | 3:16 PM |

Random Thoughts

I was mentioned on Mediaocracy because I described my sunburn as Fair and Balanced. Cool. Oh yeah, and the official word on when to end the "Fair and Balanced" stuff: When FNC ends their silly suit. Ok. I'll stay F'n'B for the duration.

For another look at Fair and Balanced day, check out this site. It had to happen eventually. via Mark Evanier

Cagle has some Blackout political cartoons up already. Well worth checking out.

Another Harry Potter drawing from Marta: Department of Mysteries III. Wow, the shadows of the Death Eaters on the floor in front of Neville and Harry are particularly effective. By the way, if you haven't read Order of the Phoenix, this picture will make absolutely no sense to you. As usual, Marta's Livejournal has the latest drawings she's done, and the almost-complete archive is at artdungeon.

Ever wondered why Google is so fast? Wonder no more. And, if you need help with your math homework, Google can help. via OxBlog

The Baghdad Bulletin has been updated. Check it out.

Update: G's photoblog has been updated by Salam, and Salam also promises a full report of the attack on G by American soldiers: "I have now the whole incident on tape, he talked and talked and talked. I can be ruthless sometimes. will be on his and this blog in the next couple of days."

posted by Tegan | 1:11 PM |

Sketchbook - Phil Jimenez

Phil Jimenez was the writer and artist on the wonderful "Tempest" mini-series, that changed Aqualad from a sidekick into one of the most powerful mages in the DC Universe. In addition to the amazing artwork, Jimenez showed an understanding and appreciation of Aquaman's friend that managed to single-handedly erase years of jokes and turn him into a character that expressed the deep pain of losing a loved one. You see, Aqualad's girlfriend, Tula, died in the Crisis. She has come back (don't they all?) but in this series Tula is put completely to rest... and Tempest gets a new costume based on one that Neal Pozner designed for Aquaman. This is important, because if you read the letters pages at the end of the final issue you learn why, and it links with the deep pain and the loved one thing.

"I can't keep waiting for you to come back to me, because you're not going to. I've got to go live the rest of my life and that means letting you go. You see, for so long I was afraid that if I let go, I'd somehow forget you... and that you'd think I didn't love you anymore -- that I was rejecting everything we'd ever shared. But I know now I could never forget you. You were my first love... and you'll always be a part of me." - Tempest (Tempest #4 Feb 1997)

by Phil Jimenez
20 Jul 2000
(permission to post given 5 Aug 2003 via e-mail)

My last sketch of the first day of San Diego 2000. I was exhausted, and wanted to fall over somewhere, but I also wanted to meet Mike Carlin, and had been told he be at the DC Booth "later", so here I was, later, looking for him. As I entered the DC Booth, I heard someone say "Phil Jimenez", and got into a line (at that point, it was just automatic). Phil was gracious and wonderful, and his sketch of Aquaman is downright gorgeous. That night of the con was one of the more unbelievable nights of my life, as I ended up going to dinner with legendary Aquaman artist Nick Cardy. Getting a sketch from Phil Jimenez was one of those amazing highs that were common that day.

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.

This is the current list of artists I want to reach: Art Adams, Sergio Aragones, Michael Bair, Julie Baroch, Donna Barr, Greg Bettam, Al Bigley, Mark Brill, Frank Brunner, Rick Burchet, Jim Calafiore, Brett Cantrell, Nick Cardy, Sean Chen, Joyce Chin, Matt Clark, Oliver Coipel, Amanda Conner, Mark Crilly, Randy Emberlin, Rod Espinosa, Phil Foglio, Ramona Fradon, Dave Garcia, Rick Geary, Michael T Gilbert, David Goyer, Roberta Gregory, Peter Gross, Stefano Guadiano, Pia Guerra, David Hahn, Rick Hoberg, William Hodge, Jamal Igle, Jeff Johnson, Lindsey Johnson, John Kalisz, Michael Wm Kaluta, Karl Kesel, Leonard Kirk, Andy Lanning, Nicola Leonard, Jeff Matsuda, John McCrea, Mike McKone, Linda Medley, Brian Meredith, Jeff Moy, Philip Moy, Todd Nauck, Mark Oakley, Jim Palmiotti, Jeff Parker, Shane Pettit, Steve Ratch, Duncan Rouleau, Stephen Sadowsky, Stan Sakai, Scott Sava, Marie Severin, Walter Simonson, James Dean Smith, Brian Snoddy, Kathleen Webb, Rich Werner, Jason White, J H Williams, and Cheyenne Wright.

Update: Just a thought. I don't want anybody to go hunting on-line and through the phone books looking for contact information you don't already have. I only want you to contact me with information if you happen to have their address handy. I'm busy googling all these artists myself, but some (like Karl Kesel for instance) are really hard to contact. Some (like Mark Brill) have multiple e-mail addresses, all of which bounced. Once I've made contact, good or bad, the artist will come off the list. Tonight, as I browsed the web, I found three possible e-mails for three of the artists on the list and have sent them notes. I have another artist's permission at the moment, and I'm preparing his sketch too. But this is a long-term, no rush project. I don't want anyone to stress out trying to help me, or worse, to harrass some poor artist on my list. Thanks.

posted by Tegan | 12:10 AM |