Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog Archive LVIII
Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag says "Happy Anniversary Doctor Who!"

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Sketchbook - Steve Hartley

The story of this sketch is told in my con report from the day I got it. I don't really have a lot to say about Steve, except that after I saw his Thor sketch in another notebook, I knew I had to try and get an Aquaman sketch from him. In addition to drawing simply fantastic superheroes, he also drew some wonderful caricatures that I saw, including one of a blond guy with a beard as the modern Aquaman with two harpoon hands instead of one. Someday, when I have money to burn (ha!) and create an all-commission Aquaman notebook, Steve Hartley will be one of the many artists I return to get another sketch from.

by Steve Hartley
14 September 2003
(permission to post given 14 September 2003 in person)

This was all in pencil, and done quickly. I like the fact that he didn't bother with the manica and galerus (shoulder harness), and I love the way he drew the hair drifting back, like a slight current is lifting it.

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 7:16 PM Seattle time

Flipping Through Previews...

Yes, it's that time again... time for "Things in Previews That Look Interesting But I Can't Afford To Get (with a list of things I am getting just for contrast)". I'm going to go with a slightly different tact this time, starting with the bulk of the book, and listing the "big four" at the end, since those are just so much "so what" to most people anyway. Please remember, I'm listing what looks interesting. My actual purchase list is going to be much smaller.

Covers: I like the Conan cover, but the other one (Authority?) doesn't do anything for me. Ok, moving on to the Splash Page (8-9), there's a bit on the Overstreet Guide updates that was an interesting read for the collector in me, although I don't let her play much. The Sportsclix look very interesting. I will have to get my hands on an Ichiro if at all possible. If not, I'll need to get at least one Mariner. I wonder if I could have them battle with my Heroclix? The article on Conan is strange... well, the fact that it starts out with a double "K" because of a typo is strange. Nothing else jumps out at me, so on to the bulk of the comics.

There's a nice ad for the Xeric Grant winners on page 194. Congrats to everyone.

First book that jumps out at me is Mango & Spit #1 (195) from Aardappel Comics. I think it's the title that made me look twice, because the artwork doesn't really do much for me (and there's a nice larger sample on the side of the page). Looks kind of cute.

Cerebus has only one issue left. Wow.

Next book to catch my eye is Last Minute #1 (196) by Aces & Eights Publications. It's an intriguing premise... owning a watch that stops time. Thing is, I swear I've seen that same premise several times over, including in a movie or two. There just isn't enough in the solicit to let me know if this take would be worth getting.

Amaze Ink/Slave Labor surprises me this month with a few books that get a second look. First one is The 13th of Never (201) which seems to concern a very unlucky fellow on the run through various planes of existence. The art sample looks strange and compelling. If there was more artwork to check out, this one would stand a chance of sneaking onto the list. Next up is Absent Friends #1 (202) which appears to be a collection of short stories. Again, I wish there was more images and more information. How do retailers choose with so little to work with? Ahem. Third book of interest is Evenfall Volume 1: Lay Me Down (203). This one looks a little depressing, with the main character slipping into fantasy worlds after her mother dies. Last up is Pirate Club #1 on the same page, which could well be another fun all-ages book. The sidebar on the previous page says this is a new regular series. Arrrrr!

Antarctic Press has a book that looks good to me. The incredible Rod Espinosa is the force behind The Alamo (204), which is about the famous last stand against the Mexican army. This one might just make it on the list. Next up is Assembly #4 (206), which is the final issue of the mini-series. I liked Assembly #1.

Arcana Studio is the publisher of Ant #1 (211) about an eight-year old girl who is picked on by her classmates and uses her journal to escape into a fictitious world where she is an adult superhero. It looks and sounds intriguing. And there are more samples of the interior artwork on the website, which is good promotion as far as I'm concerned. This one is an on-going bi-monthly series.

Astonish Books is next with a new offering in the form of Herobear and the Kid: Saving Time #1 (214). I've always wanted to try out Herobear, but I've never seen a good jumping on point when I had a little money to spare. This month there's a jumping on point, but no money. Oh well.

Another book with not enough samples to judge by (and no handy web link to help out) is Cloverleaf #1 (222) by Baboon Books. While the solicit makes the book sound funny, without a few samples of what to expect inside for artwork, I'm not about to take the risk.

Next up is Mercy Man #1 (230) from Champawat Pictures. A quick web search revealed that this is already a film project... and you can read the entire first issue on-line. Your mileage may vary.

I'm going to point out CBLDF's anthology More Fund Comics (232) which is being offered again. If you didn't get it the first time, I highly recommend getting it now. For $10 it's a steal.

I'm going to mention Drastik #1 (234) by Critical Element. I'm not sure why I'm mentioning it. It doesn't look like anything I'd be interested in, but it drew my eye, so I'm mentioning it. So there.

And... THUMP! We've run into CrossGen. From their shipping schedule on page 237, it looks like we'll be getting El Cazador #5, Way of the Rat #22, and Abadazad #3... if the publisher lasts that long. I really feel no need to read any of the solicits as I don't want to be disappointed like I was with Crossovers.

Next up is Dark Planet Productions (255). Again, a quick web search revealed a website. Both books look intriguing, and there are sample pages on the website. 2 to the Chest #1 is about a cop who gets shot then has a vision that appears to be of an average crime, but leads him to something completely different. Rogues #1 is a fantasy book that didn't look like much, to be honest.

Moving on to Devil's Due Publishing, The Hedge Knight Collected Edition (256) is being resolicited. I wanted to read them when they first came out, but couldn't afford them. Now I can't afford the collection. *sigh*

Next is 88MPH Studios Inc. (284), who are putting out two nostalgic properties with updates. I admit that I loved the original Tron, so Tron: Derezzed #1 is certainly tempting. I'm not sure the artwork does it for me, but it is interesting. The other is Ghostbusters: Legion #1. I liked the first Ghostbusters movie. I don't think I ever saw the second one, or any other spin-off (like the cartoon). Again, the artwork seems iffy to me. If I was more a fan of either property, I might try these out.

I haven't bought an Overstreet guide (290) in a couple of years now. I don't think I'll get one this time, either. It's not because I've found a substitute for the guide, it's just that I don't sell my comics much anymore. I mostly give them away. You don't want to know their value if you are giving them away.

The second Amelia Rules collection is listed in ibooks section (300). I would get this, because of the new story and the intro by Mark Crilley, but money's tight so it'll have to wait.

On the same page (300), I Box Publishing lists Thieves & Kings #44. That one will make it onto the list.

Ok, I admit I was a little startled to see Jewish Hero Corps #1 (308), but definitely intrigued. It's for real, and there's a nice page of reviews on the team website. The publisher is Judaica Press.

Moonstone Books has The Phantom #2 (310), which my friend will be wanting to order.

Titan Publishing is putting out Modesty Blaise Volume 1: The Gabriel Set-Up (324). I've heard lots and lots of things about Modesty Blaise, and wouldn't mind trying it. The solicit claims that this is the first volume, do they mean that this includes the first stories?

And that takes me out of the regular comics into the back of the book... Nothing of interest in the Magazines. The Books section has a little bit in Pop Culture that made me laugh: Feng Shaun (364). If you haven't seen Wallace & Gromit's "A Close Shave" you won't get it, but there is a certain friend I really wish I could get this book for.

I wouldn't mind a Bizarro T-Shirt (386) from Graphitti designs (I'd probably get the Navy Blue instead of the Eggplant though). I'm unsure what to make of the JLA: Monkey Business T-Shirt (387), but it looks cute. The "Where the Wild Things Are" T-shirts on page 394 appeal to me, too.

I notice that the inspirational Marvel posters are available through Diamond now (438). I'm still not sure what's inspirational about Magneto, but hey, whatever! At least they aren't ugly like the DC Heroes Bobbing Heads (441). I would like a Doctor Who Cookie Jar (441), but at $65 each, they just aren't worth it. Besides, I wouldn't want to eat a cookie that had been inside a dalek.

Over in the gaming section, the Sportsclix (464) are calling to me. I really would like to collect these, but it doesn't look likely. Oh, but to get a full set of Mariners...

Ok... hit the end of the book, so now it's time to bounce back and visit the big four publishers.

Dark Horse. Despite Conan's ugly haircut, the 25 center convinced me that I'd like to try the regular series. So Conan #1 (18) will likely make the list. The other DH book on the list will be Usagi Yojimbo #73 (33).

DC Comics. Who ever heard of Aquaman getting four preview pages in Diamond? But here they are, pages 76-79, with the Alan Freakin' Davis cover and three pages of interior artwork by Pat Gleason. The Gleason pages show Aquaman investigating a sunken San Diego, and are gruesome and effective. This is definitely a new look for Aquaman, and I'm looking forward to it.

I'm going to try to link the main listings here to the solicit on the DC page. Hope this works. In the Batman section, I see Batman Adventures #11 (99) and Birds of Prey #64 (100). Although the Superman arc set on Krypton looks interesting, we'll pass. We will be getting Superman: Birthright #7 (101) and Superman: Secret Identity #2 from the Superman section. From the regular DCU we'll be getting Aquaman #15, DC: The New Frontier #2, Fallen Angel #8 (103), Green Arrow #35, Green Lantern #174 (104), H-E-R-O #13, JSA #58, Hawkman #25 (105), JLA #93, Justice League Adventures #28, Outsiders #9 (106), and Plastic Man #3 (107). There's no Arrowsmith or Astro City this month, but we will be buying Y: The Last Man #19 (114) this month, if only because of the cover. Hopefully, the cover is related to the story inside, for Eric's sake. And that's it for DC.

Image Comics. Age of Bronze #19 (134) is tentatively due out the third week of February. Again, if you haven't checked this series out, please do. There are some sample pages of the first issue available. Also this month is WildGuard: Casting Call #6 (160), the final issue, in which we get to see who made the cut. Last Previews I mentioned the impossibility of getting a certain Top Cow book, but it made the list after all, so Common Grounds #2 (162) will be on this month's list. Rumor has it that Rising Stars will be finished now, as the disagreement that was preventing it from ending has been resolved. I hope to see some sign of that soon.

And so we get to the last little bit. Marvel Comics. Again I'll just look at the shipping list (174) for the titles we are interested in. Let's see... Supreme Power #7, 1602 #7, and Amazing Spider-Man #63/504.

And that, folks, it that. Hope you enjoyed this look at my "Things in Previews That Look Interesting But I Can't Afford To Get (with a list of things I am getting just for contrast)". Until next month...

by Tegan at 8:01 AM Seattle time

Friday, November 28, 2003

Guest Bloggin'

I'm guest blogging for Elayne Riggs while she's at the Mid-Ohio Con, so to get the full effect of my blogging over the weekend, you'll have to visit her blog as well as mine. Ha, twice the Laura at the same price! My first, introductory post is up now, and I'll be posting at least one post tomorrow and one Sunday. Unless I get ambitious. Elayne doesn't have a three-posts-a-day limit like I do...

by Tegan at 5:28 PM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 26 November 2003 - Part I

JLA #90: This reminds me of the infamous Superman issue of JLA, in which Lex takes the country to war without evidence while Superman watches in indecision. This issue had the same disjointed storytelling technique... except this time we were warned of what was coming. Even so, I found it irritating and ineffective. While the idea being explored was interesting enough, the snippets were lame and unsatisfying. In short, I didn't like it. 2 1/2 starfish

JLA-Z #3: None of the pin-ups jump out at me this month, so this just gets a standard rating of "I enjoyed it, but it was nothing special." 3 1/2 starfish

JLA/Avengers #3: I'm very interested in seeing other reviews of this issue, as I think this was the best one yet, and I liked the second issue where many reviewers didn't. One thing I really need for this issue is a way of telling who all these heroes are. I think I spotted the blue-suited Aquaman at one point, but I'm not sure it's not another hero with a similar costume. I want annotations for this one. Lots and lots of Aquaman in this one, too, and not much out of character (although he seemed even more Namorish than usual). Fascinating to see Aquaman with his manica and galerus and yet still with two hands. 4 1/2 starfish

Still to review: Batman Adventures, Empire, Amazing Spider-Man, Green Lantern, Superman: The Kansas Sighting, and Usagi Yojimbo.

by Tegan at 10:06 AM Seattle time

Thursday, November 27, 2003

What Am I Thankful For?

Whew. Lots to think about today. Lots to give thanks for. Here's today's thanks in no particular order:

  • I'm thankful for hubby-Eric. It's almost been ten years now (ten years July 16th). He's the best thing that ever happened to me.
  • I'm thankful for my large and boisterous family. While some people don't like their relatives, I seem to have gotten stuck with a pretty darn good bunch.
  • I'm thankful for my friends, those I've spent time with and those I've only met briefly at a con, or never at all. They are still my friends thanks to the wonder of the internet.
  • I'm thankful for the internet, e-mail, blogs, and message boards. Usenet is less impressive nowadays, but I guess I'm glad it's still around.
  • I'm thankful for free speech. I'm glad that the government is not allowed to shut me down just for stating an opinion.
  • I'm thankful for Aquaman being currently produced. I'm greedy for new stories. I'm also thankful that, out of approximately 475 Aquaman solo stories produced since 1941, I have all but 24 of them.
  • I'm thankful for retailers who wait until after Thanksgiving to start putting up Christmas stuff, instead of starting Christmas decorations before Hallowe'en. Along the same lines, I'm thankful for people who wait until the end of December (or even January) before starting to post "year in review" articles.
  • I'm thankful for people like Chris Tarbassian who send comic books to the troops overseas. I'm thankful for the troops, and anything to make their lives easier is a good thing.
  • I'm thankful for living in the United States. While we've had crummy leadership the last few years, it's still the best nation in the world to live in for sheer freedom. I hope it remains so.

For your reading pleasure: The Grinch who Moved Thanksgiving

by Tegan at 12:19 PM Seattle time

Wednesday, November 26, 2003


The introduction to "Words of Wonder: The Life and Times of Otto Binder" (by Bill Schelly) makes it absolutely clear that I've been mispronouncing "Binder" for all these years since I learned he was a writer of Aquaman stories back in the Golden Age. Yup, the intro is titled: "Binder, Rhymes with Tinder". D'oh!

by Tegan at 4:41 PM Seattle time

The Continuing Marysville Nightmare

Note: If you aren't interested in my whining about the Marysville School District, just go to the next entry.

As if extending the contract of the most hated superintendent ever hired in the district weren't bad enough...

As if a 49-day strike and all the consequences it brings weren't bad enough...

The Junior High (where hubby-Eric works) "had" to reschedule everyone. Every student, and every teacher. Four weeks into the actual school year, every student got a new schedule... handwritten instead of by computer like the first one. Why? NO ONE KNOWS.

First off, while the classes were unbalanced, they weren't impossible to fix. The intelligent, reasonable way to adjust things would be to find out which classes had too many students and work from there. Trashing the entire system and starting from scratch seems like a really stupid way to work. Heh, forget "seems like" and substitute "is".

Then there's this "no computers" aspect. What? All this rescheduling has to be done BY HAND? Several hundred students, all manually? What the heck does the district have computers for if they can't be used to fix this? The parents were told that the computers could only do "one schedule each year". I say "BULL" to that. There isn't a software program written that couldn't be tricked into rescheduling if it needed to be done. I bet, if you'd given me ten minutes with the program, I could have come up with three or four ways to redo schedules. The fact that they apparently didn't even make the effort is disgusting.

Especially since the results were so bad: I'm a Junior High teacher who has just downloaded his list of classes this morning. I expect many angry parents to converge on MJHS this afternoon. The whole reasoning behind changing schedules was to "even" out classes. I have over 100+ new students that I have never seen before. I have classes where I have 8 more students than I have desks (or even chairs). Conferences are next week. I can't wait to tell parents....Um..I don't even know your kid's name yet... I'm sorry. This is not going to be pretty.

The writer of that quote later wrote to say: I now have 12 kids per class (in at least 2 classes) more than I have actual chairs.

And then, finally:

Day 2 at MJHS and my classes are still seriously overcrowded.

Sticking 44 students in a small classroom with only 30 desks is the most asinine experience that I've ever had as a teacher.

To top it off, I have some "sweethearts" who are vandalizing my room because I have them sitting in areas where students are normally not allowed. They are stealing personal things from around my desk, because I have to have them sitting in it. I can't supervise this many students! If a fire marshal came in he would throw a fit, because if there were an emergency, some students would be "stuck" trying to get out of the nooks and crannies they've been shoved into. I have a couple of students trying to sit "two students to one desk", but it's not working.

I have told counselors about my overloaded problems yesterday morning. They can't fix it yet because they are still dealing with students who are still missing classes. I'll end up wasting this entire week of classes because I can't even have students do any writing because of the lack of desks.

This district is very close to losing another "valued" teacher. I haven't been this angry after a day of teaching...ever! I have over 100 NEW students and I have teacher conferences next week. This was the equivalent of starting a new semester....except that I had "0" preparation time, had no idea what classes I'd be teaching, had no way to copy a new syllabus (remember that MJHS teachers are limited to only 200 copies a month...while downtown has a $300,000 budget), and had no room to house all of my classes!


This is responsible? This is "together for the children"? I want to run the administration out of the district on a rail.

Hubby-Eric didn't get it as bad, because for some reason his classes actually got sorted out. But now he's got five different classrooms to teach in instead of two. He no longer has a room he can call his own by any definition. And the poor kids aren't getting anything close to the education they are supposed to be getting. Teaching them about dealing with lousy administration is NOT on the curriculum.

We had a Marysville parents meeting on Monday night. Lots of people working hard to try to fix the problems in the district through whatever efforts they could. People who care about the teachers, who want to make the district work again. It was inspiring. But when the teachers have hit an all-time low and feel like they are being stomped on by the administration, how can even the parents help? When they feel like they are being punished, and the students with them, how can anyone make things better? The school district is now a joke. A bad joke, and insulting joke. What on earth can anyone do to keep it intact?

by Tegan at 10:15 AM Seattle time

Tuesday, November 25, 2003


Just spent a couple of hours updating my Aquaman page. It needed it. Badly. I still need to write detailed reviews for a whole bunch of issues, but it seems less of a challenge now. Perhaps I really am getting over my depression.

Of course, just when you manage to recover somewhat, something else happens in your life. In our case, Frankenhouse strikes again, and the other toilet decided to back up and refuse to drain. More roots, not to mention a slightly settled pipe that allows standing water. Once again we got to see the neat live video feed of the inside of our pipes, and once again I got a touch of vertigo as the plumber pulled the line back rapidly. We now have a fan going in the bathroom to try to dry out the floor a bit before we move the towel shelf back in. *sigh* It's always something, isn't it?

by Tegan at 9:51 PM Seattle time

Random Thoughts

Mark Evanier has a heel spur. Having had the exact same problem, I sympathize with him. But this might mean that he'll blog even more than usual. Since "usual" is pretty prolific, I'm actually a little frightened of what he'll come up with next. His pointer to the "Godless Communism" comic, and its parent site is enough for me at the moment...

Via Scott McCloud, check out this picture of everything.

Bill Sherman has a bit about monster flicks and the scariest part of Rodan. Isn't it always the menace that you cannot see that is the most frightening?

And, hey, I can write Haiku too.

Abandon formats
Because of the latest trend
Argue endlessly

by Tegan at 11:41 AM Seattle time

Monday, November 24, 2003

Day Off

I've been focused on cleaning up the house and updating my Aquaman website today, and I'll be going to a meeting of parents in Marysville tonight, so my blogging today is naturally light. While Mondays are supposed to be my day off, they also tend to be the busiest day of my week in so many other ways.

by Tegan at 3:06 PM Seattle time

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Rapid Reviews - 19 November 2003 - Part V

WildGuard #3: I kept thinking that this was issue four. This is the first mini-series that I really feel like I'm getting more than I am. Maybe it's just the number of characters. Each one stands out, yet there are so many of them. As with last issue, the person I've been voting for turns out to be a little... less than I was hoping for. Heh. In a good way, I think. At least the voting it over now (I think). So the rest of the series is just sitting back and enjoying it. And I assure you that I'm enjoying it so far. 4 starfish

Smallville #5: Good interview with John Glover. You can practically hear him slipping into character. The Kal story, "Sojourn" was good... Clark with no morals, loose in Metropolis. Bad boy indeed. Whitney's last story was also good. Had he made it out, he would have recovered, but as it was he died a hero. Overall, not too bad if you aren't expecting too much. 3 1/2 starfish

Batman: Detective #27: Very very cool. Nice artwork, nice pacing, and wonderful in-jokes to tweak the "real" continuity. In particular I was amused by the famous "criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot" bit about him considering his possible costume, and what changed in this world. Heh. I was not expecting the final showdown, nor was I ever certain about a couple of characters. When the story finished, though, it all was wrapped up nicely. A very good Elseworld. 4 starfish

Next week: Usagi Yojimbo, Amazing Spider-Man, Batman Adventures, Superman: The Kansas Sighting, Empire, Green Lantern, JLA, JLA-Z, and JLA/Avengers.

by Tegan at 8:43 PM Seattle time

Still More On Comic Books

Ha. David Fiore has the last word on why comic book singles are cool. He manages to define one of the things I like most about getting a single book each month (as opposed to getting a couple of trades a year). I wish DC was willing to try larger monthly anthologies again, but after talking with some editors I realize they believe it's just too much of a risk. But, you know, when I go back collecting old Adventure Comics with Aquaman stories in them, I buy them for the Aquaman but I read everything else in them (and generally enjoy them) too. I'm not sure why it's impossible to envision people buying anthologies again.

Also, Ron Phillips is irritated with the new terms springing up for comic books. I can't say I blame him. I use the term "singles" only after establishing it by terming it "comic book singles" earlier in my rant. "Floppies" is both inaccurate (there are a great many comics that don't flop thanks to sturdier covers) and it still means "computer discs" to me. "Pamphlet" has been taken over by people who want to minimize comic books, and its use has gone mostly derogatory, so I wouldn't use it even if I did think it was accurate. And, while Ron has a point that "comic book" still means a single issue, when I'm actually arguing about this topic, I'll probably still use "singles" as my term, meaning a single issue of an ongoing comic book, as opposed to a collection or graphic novel.

by Tegan at 6:58 PM Seattle time

Doctor Who Day - 40 Years

Forty years ago today, when the BBC finally stopped its non-stop coverage of the assassination of Kennedy, a brand new show appeared on British TV sets for the first time ever. The name of the show was "Dr Who", and it was about a mysterious old man and his granddaughter who just happened to be time travelers.

I wasn't born until over eight years later. I have no recollection of the Kennedy Assassination simply because I wasn't around then. The first major news event in my life that I clearly remember is the eruption of Mt St Helens. But I like campy old TV shows, and I have seen most existing episodes of Doctor Who.

So while the rest of the blogosphere ponders who killed a president who died before I was born, I'm content to pull out the video of the first episode of Doctor Who, "An Unearthly Child", and watch and wonder all over again.

by Tegan at 10:52 AM Seattle time