Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog Archive LV
The November Reign of Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Sketchbook - Karl Kesel

Karl Kesel was the fourth artist I approached on that giddy day when I first tried getting sketches. I was still a bit wobbly, but definitely was feeling heartened by the amazingly positive response from the first three guys (Dev Madan, Aaron Lopresti, and Mark Brill). I cannot say that this one turned out to be my favorite of the day, simply because trying to pick a favorite from that day would be incredibly difficult. But it is a great sketch, and one I love coming back to visit.

by Karl Kesel
19 September 1999
(permission to post given 14 September 2003 in person)
Mercury Studios

One more for the fish count. I think that gets me up to ten. This fish is getting a look from Aquaman, which it doesn't seem to notice. I love it! And isn't it a cool fish, too? I seem to recall that at the time of this sketch, Superboy was Kesel's big book, and he was I think returning to it or had just returned. I remember getting a Superboy book signed by Kesel, but I'm not entirely sure which one.

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. Click for a random Aquaman sketch.

by Tegan at 7:56 PM Seattle time

Random Thoughts

I'm absolutely unimpressed with the new Nickel designs for 2004. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they are changing them, but I just don't particularly like the designs. I guess the boat isn't so bad, but the clasped hands design just looks... crowded. I'm for the return of the buffalo nickel... I like those.

Speaking of coins, I still haven't got a Missouri or Arkansas state quarter from circulation for my collection. I have Maine now, which I think is the best design so far. And I have only one wish for the Washington state quarter. One only. I know it won't happen, but still... My one wish is that the Washington state quarter does NOT have an apple on it. My ideal Washington state quarter would have evergreen trees and mountains, and maybe water, but NO APPLES. However, I'm betting we're going to end up with an ugly crowded design that tries to incorporate all the aspects of the state, including apples... ug.

Also speaking of coins, here is a small activity that you can do if you are feeling slightly depressed. It's called "Feeding the Karma-Beast". See, we all know that finding a penny is good luck, right? And there have been many advice columns written about people who find pennies when they are thinking of lost loved ones. Where do all those pennies come from? Well, I know that in some places I've been, they come from me. It's just a matter of taking a few bright pennies and, if you are feeling depressed, just drop them where people are likely to find them. It's amazing how much more cheerful you feel if you feed just a couple of pennies to the karma-beast in the hopes that someone who needs a lift will find them. Drop enough pennies over a lifetime, and you are guaranteed to have a positive effect on somebody, someday.

Elayne and Robin Riggs' wonderful cat Amy had an adventure which resulted in lots of comic books all over the place. Luckily, neither cat nor comics were harmed. And yes, that is a Doctor Who comic book that Amy is standing next to in the bottom picture.

Speaking of Doctor Who, the 40th anniversary is this November 23rd. Yup, 40 years since it first appeared on TV screens. Dr Demento is apparently devoting some air time to celebrating 40 years of unabashed geekiness, and some people have apparently tried designing a Google logo for the day (though who knows if Google would be interested in showing it). I'll probably have some sort of lame "happy anniversary" post that day. Just to warn you.

The Guardian does an interview with Paul Levitz. If you'll recall, Paul was kind enough to personally answer my query about the possibility of me putting out a special Aquaman collection. via Mark Evanier

Johnny B is predicting a Seahawks win again. He has thus far predicted that the Seahawks would win every game. Considering JB's understanding and knowledge of football, I consider the fact that the Seahawks lost two of those games to be a fault on the side of the Seahawks, not in JB's predictions. And, to tell the truth, what I saw of both those loses was enough to convince me that the Seahawks should have won, but didn't pull together.

You know those animated gifs of dancing superheroes and stuff? I've seen a Spider-Man one... I want an Aquaman one. Nice Aquaman dancing... maybe even morphing into the modern Aquaman and back again. I don't think I have the artistic skills required to make one, but it would be fun to try. Let's see, you start out with the classic Aquaman, then have his hair grow long, then he grows a beard, then suddenly he'd have a harpoon, then his shirt would get torn off revealing the harness, then the harpoon would morph into a golden hand, then he'd lose the harness, cut his hair, and the hand would turn blue, then he'd gain back the golden scalemail shirt, then his hands would get green gloves again as he goes back to the classic, and ... this isn't going to happen, is it? That's one long dance.

Riverbend is posting recipes from Ramadhan at a new blog. So far all we've got is a recipe for Lentil Soup, but I think I want to give it a try. I need to make up a shopping list for it... let's see... lentils... oooh, gotta try the meatballs, too.

Another blogger comes out with a confession of depression. Deeper and worse in most ways than mine. I've always heard good things about Tacitus, now I know why. via Calpundit

Response to my one try at fiction was rather lukewarm, so I'll keep fiction off the blog from here on out. I'm also mildly disturbed that an entry that was very difficult to write and came from the bottom of my heart got less response than one tossed off in an idle moment that happened to be about the comic book flap of the moment, but I guess that's the nature of blogging at work. And nobody responded to my question about whether people like getting Aquaman sketches each Saturday night, but I'll keep posting them anyway, especially as I've just gotten a handful more permissions that will take me through to next year at my current rate of posting. Why am I posting these minor complaints? Hey nobody reads to the bottom of a post like this anyway, so I might as well vent a little.

by Tegan at 3:14 PM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 5 November 2003 - Part IV

Akiko #51: I love the cover. The inside was pretty standard Akiko fare. "The Beebles" was very amusing, with nice tributes to the originals. "Beeba's 'Bot" needed more book storage. And "Akiko at the Age of Eighty" was bittersweet in a lot of ways. I was kind of hoping for a longer story, and maybe we'll get another one soon. I hope. 3 1/2 starfish

Empire #4: Brutal. This is not for the weak of heart. And all the various plots are pulling together now, into what should be a final resolution. Very brutal. And that's not my idea of shopping, either. Ick. 3 1/2 starfish

Assembly #1: Shon lives with her sister Elaine, because her parents died in the service, along with just about every other family member. That's the set-up, and you would expect the rest of the issue to follow Shon... but it breaks away into a mecha fight that is a little gruesome (good thing this isn't in color) due to it happening in the middle of a populated city with no time for evacuation. It's got me curious, though, so I'm waiting to see what the next issue brings. 3 1/2 starfish

Still to review: Usagi Yojimbo, Justice League Adventures, and Supreme Power.

by Tegan at 12:29 PM Seattle time

Friday, November 07, 2003

Alert For Oz Collectors

Hey, it's Eric Shanower's work, how can I not blog about it? Just got an e-mail from Eric himself about the lunchbox, since my Eric wants a couple of them and wanted to make sure this was a legit product. Yup, and so we are putting them on our order. And if you know any kids that love the Wizard of Oz books, this is a PERFECT gift.

Order code from Previews is "NOV03 3532" and the price is $16.99, which is not bad for a lunchbox with Eric Shanower artwork on it. I'd call it a must-have for Oz fans, and any collector is going to want one to show off and one to use... like, oh, hubby-Eric for example. It'll be out sometime early next year... if we're really lucky (and I doubt it) we might even get them in time for hubby-Eric's birthday.

And, yeah, I'm pushing it, recommending that people buy it. I happen to like Eric Shanower, and hope that this little piece of property will help him pay his bills and take worries off his mind so he can draw more Age of Bronze.

by Tegan at 9:31 PM Seattle time

Random Thoughts

Olsen Ross is attempting to get mentioned by me again. What can I say? It works.

I mentioned Common Grounds in my Flipping Through Previews post, and when my hubby went through Previews, he also said it sounds interesting. Now there's no reason not to give it a try, as Alan David Doane reports. Ok, maybe I'll spring for it. Maybe. I was already leaning towards trying it, and a money-back guarantee makes me all that much more inclined to try it.

Dirk pointed out that my permalinks aren't working. Well, my permalinks never work, because I archive stuff manually rather than trust my writings to the whims of blogger. However, he was right that there was a problem with the links on the main page, too. So I've fixed that bit. If you really want to link to the permanent post, you have to go into my archive, find the post, and then link from there. It's a pain, yeah, but I never actually expected anyone to want to read anything on my blog.

Eve Tushnet is much more brutal with her books than I am. Sometimes I forget that I was raised in a house with rare books around, and was taught from a very young age to be good to books, to the point that most people cannot tell that I've read a book by looking at it. It seems to me that one look at any of Eve's books and you'd know she'd been reading. I just can't quite imagine that level of damage out of normal reading... which might be part of the reason I don't think of comic book singles as "floppies".

Pink Elephants are terrifying. And I think that Willie Wonka should have been at 5 or 6, not all the way down at 19. The original 100 scariest post is here. Yes, the flying monkeys are on the list.

Doc Shazam wonders why cats enjoy taking showers. I don't know why, but all through my teen years, the cat would join anyone in the shower if she could.

I'm looking forward to seeing dramatic pictures of the upcoming lunar eclipse.

by Tegan at 9:52 AM Seattle time

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Rapid Reviews - 5 November 2003 - Part III

JLA-Z #2: There's not a lot to say about this one. It's just a pin-up book, after all. However, I now know that I must someday get myself an Aquaman sketch by Michael Avon Oeming, whose work I already like a lot in Powers, because he does a classic Aquaman in the JLA (Year One) pin-up and it is one of the BEST Aquaman drawings I've seen in a long time. I mean, it's just COOL. I can't put my finger on why I like it so much, but I really, really like it. It makes me wonder what an Aquaman story with art by Oeming would look like. I would really like to see that. Um, I'll stop gushing now. But that single Aquaman takes this book up to four starfish from the average three and a half. 4 starfish

Powers #35: The only thing that Christian Walker wants... is to not be who he is. Now we know how the dampening effect was first invented, and we have a possible way for Walker to become what we were originally introduced to. Reading this issue made me want to go back and re-read the entire series, but alone it wasn't really that satisfying. 3 1/2 starfish

Crossovers #9: I mistakenly thought this was not a new issue, and almost didn't get it today. But I'm glad I was corrected. It's a good 'un. Afrodite thinks she's corrected all the discordian upsets, but methinks she's missed a few. And we continue to learn more and more about the family, some of which is just plain weird. My main complaint with this issue is that trying to cover every storyline, and there's a lot more than just four now, led to this one being remarkably disjointed. 3 1/2 starfish

It's a crying shame that this is the last issue of this book. I hope it comes back soon, even if in another form. I've got Crossovers #10, Crossovers #11, and Crossovers #12 still on my shipping list, by the way. Issue ten was supposed to introduce a new family member, and issue eleven had another Norman Rockwell inspired cover. I'm really disappointed. CrossGen has a lot to answer for, darnit!

Still to review: Akiko, Usagi Yojimbo, Empire, Justice League Adventures, Supreme Power, and Assembly.

by Tegan at 9:34 PM Seattle time

Are Comic Book Singles Out-Dated?

Ah, that disenchanted feeling with comics. It's all John Jakala's fault that I'm actually writing about this. You see, John posts a couple of pictures of Pike Place Market's Golden Age Collectables, and actually calls it a "comic shop". Sorry, guy, but that place is a tourist trap. I've only been in there a few times, and the comics side of things was overawed by the general sense of being in a theme shop for science fiction fans. And while that place might depress you, if you go to a real comic book shop, like my own Corner Comics, the pace is slower, the aisles are wider, and the people are generally friendly.

Anyway, as long as I'm on the subject, I guess I should address the rest of the issue. First there's a sense of dissatisfaction with "floppies" or "singles". I've only been collecting comics for a bit over a decade, maybe a dozen years at the most. And while I enjoy getting trades, I still prefer single issues. Why? I have no idea. I do know that I have to budget carefully to be able to buy comics at all, and there are severe limits to what I can get. Maybe that helps, always wanting more? I was going to wait for the trade of 1602, but eventually gave in and bought the singles after all. Why? I don't know. I like the feel of a comic book. I like the ability to sit down and read the whole thing in one sitting, and yet have more story to go. I like being able to pull together a stack of comics and read them one at a time, instead of one book with the whole story. Collections are fine, but I prefer singles.

The other comment is in regards to Previews mag. Ok, I'm totally not with the critics here. I love Previews. Yeah, there's a lot of garbage to wade through, but that makes finding the charming bits all the better. The last three issues of Previews I've done my own little Previews review, and I enjoy it. It takes hours to go through the whole book, but I still like it. You find new books, books you'd like to try out, books you wish you had the money for, and lots of other stuff. I happen to have a spreadsheet that contains my orders, and I keep track of what I order every month along with what I've received. It's picky little bookkeeping, but I enjoy it. I can literally give you every single month's order I've done back to June 1998. Yeah, I keep the records. I find it fun. The fact that I pre-order 99% of what I buy at the comic shop, and pre-pay, makes me different from many folks I'm sure.

Anyway. I guess I just thought I'd post an anti-view to the negative stuff racing around the comics blogosphere. I still like singles, and I don't intend to stop buying them as long as they are still offered. Every time I make a move towards "just getting the collection", I end up recanting and buying the singles. And I like comics. I think the variety and quality is better than ever in the decade or so I've been collecting. When I can pick up four different books like Akiko, Empire, Usagi Yojimbo, and Arrowsmith in a single week, things just aren't that bad.

by Tegan at 5:31 PM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 5 November 2003 - Part II

Smallville: Relic [3-06]: Ignoring plot holes, this was one of the best episodes yet. Jor-El, on earth. Lana's great aunt, who looks just like her. And Clark taking on authority. When you get right down to it, this one was just fun. And Lana's quote: "You must have come from somewhere. It's not like you fell out of the sky." Yeah, I liked it. 4 starfish

Superman: Birthright #5: I like the comment Clark makes to his mom about the nickname Lois gives him. I also like the way he gets into the newspaper with his "research". The art still really bothers me. It's just not my style. Not bad, just not my cuppa. 3 1/2 starfish

Arrowsmith #4: Wow. Wowwowwow. The artwork is, as usual, amazing. The growth of Fletcher is terrifying and wonderful. I like that he's still a good man at heart despite what he's seen, and I'm suffering from the anticipation of what will happen to him next. Yeah, I'm hooked. 4 starfish

Still to review: Powers, Crossovers, Akiko, Usagi Yojimbo, Empire, Justice League Adventures, Supreme Power, Assembly, and JLA-Z.

by Tegan at 4:21 PM Seattle time

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

The Green River Killer

I suppose I'd better get this entry done with.

By now, most of you have heard the news about the Green River Killer, now identified as one Gary Leon Ridgway.

When I was ten years old, the first known victims of the Green River Killer were found not far from where I lived. The Green River (known as the Duwamish River nearer its mouth) flows into the Puget Sound in Elliott Bay. Going upriver, it flows through Tukwila, up past Renton near the site of the old Longacres Race Track, then into Kent where it flows under the Valley Freeway, then it meanders into the fringes of Auburn and then farther away from my old haunts. I grew up on the outskirts of Renton on the other side from Tukwila. But, believe me, I knew about the killings. Every person my age knew about them.

Twenty years. By my teens, I thought that the killings would never be solved. We heard theories, that it was more than one person. I went to piano lessons in Kent and whenever we passed over the Green River on the Valley Freeway I would remember the victims and wonder if we would ever know who had killed them. For twenty years every time I saw the words "Green River" on a sign I felt a tiny spark of fear and a larger wave of sadness. Twenty years.

This is a lot harder to write than I thought it would be.

The fact that the victims were mostly prostitutes did not matter. They were young girls. I was a young girl. They lived near where I lived. Visited the same restaurants. Watched the same TV. And died at the hands of some unknown madman.

And nobody could find this guy. If it even was a guy. There were crackpot theories about it being a woman or a group of women. I heard them all. I lived in the shadow of the killer for eight years before I left home for college. Even then it didn't go away. It was a painful mystery that haunted all of us. Some more than others, I know, but it was there. It didn't go away. There was no resolution and no chance of resolution. It seemed that we would never learn who had murdered those children.

So forgive me if I don't talk much about this guy they've found. Some small part of me cannot believe it's over. Part of me thinks they couldn't have gotten the right guy. There is a bogeyman still out there, despite the news coverage and the confessions and the uproar. The words "Green River Killer" will always resonate very deeply with me, and not in a good way. And even if they were to kill Ridgway today it wouldn't change a thing.

He's confessed to 48 murders. But there were a more than that, and maybe more we don't know about. There may be another killer out there still. Maybe Ridgway hasn't admitted to every murdered he committed. He did say there were so many they blended together. In some ways, it doesn't matter. He already destroyed so much. In some ways it's terribly important to know for sure.

So forgive me. I can't talk about this issue without re-living years of fear. He took away a small part of my innocence and joy. I never met the man (for all I know, though it is possible) but I am his victim nonetheless. He victimized every girl in Seattle for twenty years. Seeing his face, hearing his plea, it doesn't move me. I'm numb to it. If you were to give me a baseball bat and put me in the same room as him, I would swing away without moral qualms and with little emotion. I don't hate him, and I don't think I really fear him, but it all seems unreal.

If I feel anything, it is deep sadness. So many lives cut short. So many chances lost. It can't be over yet. It couldn't have been one man. So unreal.

So unreal.

by Tegan at 7:05 PM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 5 November 2003 - Part I

Justice League: A Better World: Shades of Squadron Supreme! I love "Elseworld" type stories, and this one fit the bill. The costume designs were very nice. I was chilled by the "new" Arkham Asylum, particularly Poison Ivy. I also wasn't expecting Doomsday. The whole movement of the story worked for me as well, from the Batman/Batman show to the final resolution. Very nice. 4 starfish

JSA: All Stars #7: I really like the new Mr Terrific. And I was hoping this issue would shed some more light on the character. Instead, I'm left scratching my head and wondering what the heck that was supposed to be about. Ok, yeah, I saw more of his powers in action. Yeah, I learned a little bit about his back-story that I don't think I knew. But that revelation was supposed to put him at peace? Huh? I'm afraid I really don't get it. The back-up story was good. What do you do if you are the brother of the world's most perfect man? This one gets a higher rating on the strength of the back-up story, as the first story disappointed me. 3 1/2 starfish

Formerly Known as the Justice League #5: Captain Atom is leaking. Lovely. The thing to remember about this book, the most important thing of all, is that every character is exaggerated. All of them. Even guest appearances. If you can get that, then you can enjoy the book. That said, it was particularly difficult for me to buy into Mary Marvel's simpering (why didn't she stay with Captain Atom if she was so concerned?). Beyond that, it seemed like business as usual. Light and funny with a dash of chocolate cookies. 3 1/2 starfish

Still to review: Powers, Crossovers, Akiko, Usagi Yojimbo, Empire, Arrowsmith, Superman: Birthright, Justice League Adventures, Supreme Power, Assembly, and JLA-Z.

by Tegan at 2:48 PM Seattle time

Election Results

No, no heart attack. If anything, I'm feeling much more light-hearted than I have in months. Here's the Snohomish County Election Results for the day after the election, in particular the races I was interested in:

  Registered Voters - 32,892
  Precincts Counted - 72 - 100.00%
  Ballots Counted - 11,055 - 33.61% - That's a one-third turnout without all the absentees counted

  Carol Jason - 6,942 - 66.61%
  Mark W. Johnson - 3,438 - 32.99%
  Write-In - 42 - 0.40%
Total - 10,422 - 100.00%

  Cary Peterson - 3,069 - 29.62%
  Vicki Gates - 6,200 - 59.83%
  Lisa Ann Griffith - 1,054 - 10.17%
  Write-In - 40 - 0.39%
Total - 10,363 - 100.00%

  A. Michael Kundu - 6,254 - 60.24%
  Erik M. Olson - 4,083 - 39.33%
  Write-In - 45 - 0.43%
Total - 10,382 - 100.00%

Jason, Gates, and Kundu were the three who we have pinned our hopes on for the moment. As you can see, all three are winning handily at this point. Absentee ballots normally do not change the results unless the races are really close, and these aren't terribly close. There are three more reporting days (Friday, then Thursday after, then November 18th), and the results are due to be ratified on November 19th. The new board will be seated on the first scheduled school board meeting after the ratification, which should be December 1st. At that point, the long hard slog to fix the problems in the district begins.

In other local races, the Bothell City Council has apparently been wiped out completely, which wasn't a surprise. After reading up on the issues, the main issue seemed to be that the current council is ineffective, so we might as well try some new blood. Several other folks around town that I talked to got the same impression, and it looks like that was the rule of the day. Voter turnout across the state was fairly low, in the 40% range. Even for an off-year, that's pretty pathetic. I'm curious what the final turnout in the MSD race will be, once all the absentees are counted.

Oh well. At least I voted, and the race I watched most closely seems to be going in the right direction.

by Tegan at 10:08 AM Seattle time

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Mostly Random Thoughts (and First Returns from the Election)

Will Pfeifer's Weekly Reviews, all collected into one page for your reading pleasure.

I don't really feel like tackling the two biggest stories in the comics blogosphere right now, especially since Sean Collins does such a good job of it. Basically, I think Sean is completely right on the Black Lightning flap, with the addendum that I thought the Green Arrow story was tastefully done. As for the "comic pimp" bit, well, I don't have any problem with the guy. He's just another side of fandom. More power to him, but that doesn't mean I worship him. I don't even understand why it's a problem. He never claimed to be speaking for every comic book fan, did he?

The Friends of Lulu have turned their main page into a blog, thus making it easy to see what's up in the world of women in comics. via Elayne Riggs

Fanboy Rampage directs us to an article about Malinky Robot, and notes that the book is dissed by a poster in the thread simply because the poster recognized the literary reference of the title. Very strange.

Olsen Ross has turned into Aquaman.

Amazing. Get Fuzzy has received death threats for implying that Pittsburgh stinks. I admit, when I read the strip in question, I didn't get the implication (if they'd been talking about Tacoma Washington, I would have gotten it). But, c'mon, death threats? The word "stinks" doesn't even appear!

WAHOO!!! Edgar isn't retiring yet! One more year of chances to see my favorite ever baseball player in action! Oh yeah, and four M's got Gold Gloves. Good team... right up until the end of the season.

Another bit in the "good news" department: Virus kills 2/3 of cancer in tests, without harming healthy cells. This article includes a link to a couple of pictures of a visible neck tumor that was "cured" with the virus. If this is true, if this works as well as it seems to, this could well be the biggest news of the year. Found at Slashdot.

I just found out (I could have found out sooner if I'd checked) that my home county (King County, Washington) is using the flawed Diebold voting machines. Because I vote by absentee, I didn't know they'd switched over from the punchcards system that was in use the last time I set foot in a polling place. Time to write a letter to the folks in charge of elections, I think. King County has had some serious election problems recently, including two cases where absentee ballots were messed up (once they were sent out late, once they were sent to the wrong places). Luckily, I haven't been affected by those problems, yet. But knowing that my county is using a poorly designed system that doesn't provide a hardcopy back-up upsets me. Gads, I can't believe they would do this. King County Elections Website. Stupid stupid stupid.

Speaking of elections, the first set of results are in, and the non-incumbents are leading in all three races (60%!) with about 20% of the votes counted. Fingers, toes, and eyes are crossed. Hoping that the trend continues. I may update this entry later with more on this. If I don't have a heart attack from the waiting first.

by Tegan at 8:30 PM Seattle time

One Year Ago Today...

A year ago today I wrote about the importance of voting. Namely: "If you don't vote, you are leaving your fate in other people's hands... including MINE."

I also mentioned sugar-coated bees. If you recall, it was a contraption that put powdered sugar on bees so that parasites that were killing the hives would drop off, while leaving the bees unharmed (if a wee bit sweeter). I haven't seen any updates on that story.

It's very very cold today, but sunny, here in the Seattle area. Apparently, places south of us got a dusting of snow, but we were spared.

by Tegan at 2:04 PM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 29 October 2003 - Part III

Smallville: Perry [3-05]: Well, that's a new side of Perry White for us. And the timing on the sunspots was pretty nice, as while the show was airing a gigantic magnetic storm from the sun was happening... almost like the writers forecast the sun's weather or something. Isn't coincidence great? Otherwise, a pretty standard episode. More fun related to this episode can be found at The Smallville Ledger, which is a must read website whenever new episodes of Smallville air. In particular, always check the Classifieds for comic book in-jokes. 3 1/2 starfish

Amelia Rules: Superheroes #1: "Oemal!" Hmm, doesn't turn me into a superhero. Fun to see Reggie's fantasy with his dream girlfriend... I was less impressed with Rhonda's dream sequence, if only because it was so dark that it was hard on my eyes. As usual with this book, the zinger is on the last page (and I'm glad I didn't suss it out from Previews beforehand). Another good 'un. 4 starfish

Age of Bronze #18: Shanower's vision constantly amazes me, and the set-up here is magnificent. Achilles against Agamemnon. The fleet irritated by the constant wind. the lies and counter-lies, the messages sent and received. If you haven't started reading this, you are really missing out. The only problem with this book is that it's not a weekly. 4 starfish

Books due out the first week in November that I intend to review: Arrowsmith, Superman: Birthright, Formerly Known as the Justice League, JSA: All Stars, Powers, Crossovers, Akiko, Usagi Yojimbo, Empire, JLA-Z, Justice League Adventures, Assembly and Supreme Power.

by Tegan at 9:54 AM Seattle time

Monday, November 03, 2003

School Board Meeting

So I attended the Marysville School Board meeting tonight. It is probably still going on as I write. I left early because of the long drive home and also the fact that my BS-detector was pinging so much whenever a school board member spoke that I could barely stand to be in the same room as them. The meeting was standing-room only, and after the school reports by various students, the public got a chance to speak. The board explained that they weren't answering any questions, but would listen to comments.

The first speaker was apparently the husband of a teacher. He had a prepared statement that was simply awesome. It summed up the entire situation, from the board turning over the power to the superintendent then going into hiding to the superintendent turning over the power to the PR woman and going into hiding to the fact that the PR person was caught lying on camera. At the end, he asked for the resignation of the entire board and the superintendent so the district can heal. During his entire speech, the superintendent was studiously ignoring him. If she had been a student, and the speaker her teacher, she would have gotten reprimanded for not paying attention. As it was, she ignored every speaker but one. Only one speaker was there to support the board, and she was a board member's wife, and the superintendent listened to her.

After the public speaking, two board members made comments, both of them anti-union. The board president accused the teacher's union of planning the strike simply to get their choices for board members elected. People actually laughed out loud at her when she said it. The other board member read from an article about education from our current secretary of education that was incredibly ignorant and one-sided (for instance, it talked about how "the left" was doing this and that to destroy education, then said that partisan politics shouldn't have a place in education... thus invalidating the initial statements). All-in-all, a very poor showing for the school board. I still don't know how the election will turn out tomorrow, but I cannot believe that anyone who has actually seen this board in action would vote for them.

More tomorrow night, as the election returns start coming in...

by Tegan at 7:21 PM Seattle time

Holy Unexpected Praise, Batman!

Wizard magazine has a two-page feature on Aquaman. And, no, it isn't insulting or degrading. It's actually positive. That's right, Wizard is praising Aquaman. In fact, the subtitle of the article is "Fishing for the surprise smash of '04? Here's 7 reasons why 'Aquaman' will reel you in hook, line and sinker"

The article is about Will Pfeifer taking over the book, and while he disses my hero's old stories to some degree, he also has the right idea on where to go with Aquaman (including avoiding the backstory and supporting cast for awhile). I confess I've taken a wait-and-see attitude towards the future of Aquaman, but getting this kind of praise can only help.

by Tegan at 3:20 PM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 29 October 2003 - Part II

Justice League: Hearts and Minds: A Green Lantern tale! With a developing romance between a couple of Justice Leaguers? No Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman in this one, but we get to see Kilowog, so it's all fine. 4 starfish

Green Lantern #170: This one is the "ok, everyone who isn't sure what's happening, here's the scoop" issue. And it's pretty weak. The method of catching people up isn't that bad, but the art is jarring. Not bad for a jumping on point, but for anything else... I'll pass. 3 starfish

JLA #89: Hrm. It ended too quickly. And here I thought Plas was going to finish the story off, and instead it's ... someone else. Sort of. I guess I'm not disappointed in the story, but it wasn't deeply satisfying. 3 1/2 starfish

Still to review: Amelia Rules and Age of Bronze.

by Tegan at 8:23 AM Seattle time

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Rapid Reviews - 29 October 2003 - Part I

Ruse #24: This is not a spectacular issue, though it isn't bad. What makes this issue cool is the cover. I've posted it below with what I presume is the inspiration for the cover, "Gossip" by Norman Rockwell. Now, I'm a big Rockwell fan, and I would have enjoyed the cover regardless, but the story follows the cover perfectly, and that is what really makes this one. In addition, they remembered to let the detectives do some detective work in this issue, so overall this is above the norm for this book. It's a shame, with the improvements over the last two issues, that this book has been canceled. 4 starfish

Way of the Rat #18: As long as I'm looking at Crossgen, I might as well review one of the few non-canceled CG books. Johnson's art is wonderful, and the story is strong. The witticism of Po Po is fun to read ("Your level of moronic behavior demands a witness"). And Boon may be an idiot, but he's a great hero in the traditional sense. Yes, despite everything piled against it, I still like this book. 4 starfish

Still to review: Green Lantern, JLA, Age of Bronze, and Amelia Rules.

by Tegan at 6:21 PM Seattle time

Update on the Marysville Teachers Strike

First off, the district violated the court order by refusing to pay the teachers the full amount they were owed, under the terms of the court order, for their work in October. To add insult to injury, some of the board members indicated that the teachers were only paid in October at all "out of the goodness of their hearts", despite the fact that the district was required BY LAW to pay the teachers. I can't decide if the board members are in fact complete idiots, or if they are intentionally trying to mislead the public. I suspect the latter, but it's hard to tell sometimes.

In any case, the union is filing a motion because the district broke the law. The Seattle Times reported on it: "We expected the School Board to comply with her order," said Hanson. "We complied and went to school, as the judge ordered. We expected the board to do the same. I think they're more interested in punishing teachers."

On another note, in addition to the surprise cancellation of the Heritage program, the district also canceled the 9th grade Hi-Cap (gifted) program because the teacher who was scheduled to teach the program retired during the strike rather than deal with the district's garbage. The French program at Cedarcrest was also canceled, and students who showed up for French discovered they were in drama class instead. The principal at Cedarcrest also banned Halloween. No costumes, no treats, and no mention of the holiday was allowed.

Then there are the charges against the person that the district hired to take over their finances. In short, the guy is a fraud. No school district with an ounce of sense would have hired this guy. And I might as well mention the efforts of the school board that cost the district millions of dollars in state funding. No wonder the district is in bad financial shape. They are wasting all their money on resume-padding projects, instead of trying to make the district a better place for kids to learn in.

A former Marysville superintendent, Dean Farley, wrote a letter to the editors of several local newspapers. The Herald, being an anti-teacher rag, refuses to print it. They claim they can't verify the information, even though they printed an anti-teacher guest editorial that was full of lies. And I thought editorials are supposed to be opinion, anyway, so why are they so determined to verify it when they've never bothered to verify before? As I said, a rag. Not even worthy of being toilet paper. The one paper that actually could get the truth out refuses to try.

I'm also still being harassed by a couple of anti-teacher loudmouths. I'm keeping copies of everything they send to me. They might get a surprise visit from an officer if they keep it up. I hope it doesn't come to that.

T-minus 2 days to the election. I'll report on it as the numbers come in. Remember, Washington is a state that allows absentee ballots, so if the races are close, the results may not be known for almost three weeks. If even one incumbent wins, the chances of Eric staying in this district to watch it deteriorate even further are very slim.

I'll leave you with some thoughts from Dean Farley: "I frequently hear from patrons that the school should be run more like a business, and I fully agree. However, look around you and observe the more successful corporations. They treat their employees with dignity and respect. They hire people based on ability, not on friendships or blind loyalty. They develop incentive plans that include promotion from within. They pay people a fair wage and they are not top-heavy with administrators... I have remained silent for 10 years, but I am thoroughly disgusted with what has happened to this once fine school district."

by Tegan at 2:34 PM Seattle time

Random Thoughts

I apologize for my current smiley fixation. I'm sure they will go away eventually. Maybe.

Do people like getting an Aquaman sketch every Saturday night to enjoy on Sunday morning?

I was very happy to hear the patter of rainfall on the roof this morning, as the news reports were talking about "Snow, and not in the mountains". We cannot afford to have snow up here after that 50-days of no school.

Johnny B has some thoughts on how to link other bloggers as well as thoughts on Matt Brady's little rant on why he doesn't blog. Brady seems to think we are all blogging for the acclaim or something. Sorry, I'm blogging because I need to write, and this is a good way to get something down every day. If no one read it, I'd still blog.

More team comix members: Kevin Melrose, Rick Geerling, and Ron Phillips. Time will tell if I add them to my blogroll.

For the record, I can't stand candy corn either.

Justice League rif on Sluggy Freelance. No, no Aquaman. It's based on the cartoon.

Neilalien has a roundup of recent Doctor Strange appearances. I am looking forward to seeing his opinion of Strange in 1602.

If the first image of American Comics vs Manga didn't impress you, here's a couple more comparisons.

Elayne Riggs links to a great summary of today's political landscape, at least from any single person's point of view.

Neil Gaiman links to an article that asks if Jesus had a wife. Well, of course he had a wife. And, yeah, it was probably Mary Magdalene. The guy was 30 when he ended his carpentry career and started preaching, he probably lived a very normal, if remarkably holy, life up to that point. And people in that day and age got married. Even carpenters. Especially carpenters. The other bits of the article, about the Da Vinci Code and the secret society... I don't know or care about. But I always figured growing up that it was only natural for Jesus to have married. Seemed like common sense, really, once you remember that he was also a man.

CNN has finally reported on the voting machine problems. They summarize the one issue that bothers me the most in a single paragraph: "Recounts: Without a separate receipt, election officials can't conduct a reliable recount but can only return to the computer's tally." If the machine doesn't have a paper trail that can be put in a locked box and gone back to for a recount, then it isn't worth the circuits it's printed on.

by Tegan at 12:55 PM Seattle time