Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog Archive LXII
Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Sketchbook - Leonard Kirk

This was one of only three sketches I got at San Diego 2001. I took my husband that year, and he got a bunch of cool sketches, but I was a bit more picky. I couldn't resist a sketch from Supergirl artist Kirk, though.

by Leonard Kirk
19 July 2001
(permission to post given 26 October 2003 via e-mail)

This is a young Aquaman, harkening back to the innocence of the Golden Age... notice he even has the gloves, something pretty rare for an Aquaman sketch. Most people forget he used to wear gloves that were right out of a dishwashing commercial. Depending on the artist (and the colorist), the gloves could look really cool and be a nice accent, or could be absolutely horrid. In this sketch, the gloves are there, but nicely understated.

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 6:00 PM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 17 December 2003 - Part II

Green Arrow #33: Very cool cover. The insides don't bear that much resemblance to the happy moment captured on the cover, but it's still a cool cover. There are a number of fun bits in this. Ollie's spite, the alien spore taking on Superman, and the appearance of a villian who isn't an Aquaman villain, despite him stealing the name. And I like the auction name of the on-line auction sniper who eventually wins. Odd in parts, but a pretty good tale. 4 starfish

Batman Adventures #9 What happened here? This is bottom-of-the-drawer filler stuff. It's not that bad a concept... Batman telling Robin of all the tight scrapes he got out of to distract the kid while he gets them out of a tight scrape, but there wasn't really any plot beyond that. And then there is Robin's language. Did he get caught in a timewarp to the 60s or something? The backup story isn't a lot better. A disappointment. 2 1/2 starfish

Cinnamon: El Ciclo #5: The final issue, and I must say I'm actually a little sad to see it go. It was a very solid story set in a world that I hope to never have any direct experience with, dealing with two desperate women both doing what they think is best. It's a classic team-up story, with a solid ending that drives the point home. The only weakness was the artwork, and that wasn't bad, it just took some getting used to. Yeah, I liked it a lot. 4 starfish

Superman: The Kansas Sighting #2: Trying to be deep. That's what this book is. Another attempt to be deep in a superhero universe. It just doesn't work. Think about it: Clark is an alien. This is a world where the unreal is quite real and touchable. If you are going to bring in a mystery, it's gotta be done better than this. A lot better. 2 1/2 starfish

Still to Review: December 24th's books, Shrek #3, Phantom #1, Birds of Prey #62, JLA #91, Amazing Spider-Man #61/502, El Cazador #4, and Flipping Through Previews.

by Tegan at 12:30 PM Seattle time

The Year of Comic Books in Review - Part Ten (October)

Almost done... Let's review the titles that are currently in contention for "Best Comic Book of 2003 according to Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog": Aquaman Archive Volume One, Aquaman #2, Usagi Yojimbo #63, Lone Wolf and Cub Volume 28, Sandwalk Adventures #5, Astro City: Local Heroes #1, Amelia Rules #9, Crossovers #3, Aquaman Secret Files 2003, PS238 #1, Crossovers #4, Superman: Red Son #1, Leave It To Chance (FCBD edition), PS238 #2, Usagi Yojimbo #67, Amazing Spider Man #55/496, Leave It To Chance: Shaman's Rain, Leave It To Chance: Trick or Threat & Other Stories, the forgotten, Amazing Spider-Man #56/497, PS238 #3 and Superman: Blood Of My Ancestors.

Whew Twenty-two. How on earth am I going to pick a best book from these?!

Well, this month is only going to add one more... and while I didn't actually review this book until November, I got it in October, and I don't want October to be completely devoid of books. I'm talking about More Fund Comics. A steal at twice the price, this book exceeded every anticipation I had of it. It's quite possibly the best anthology to come along in ages, and worth getting.

An honorable mention to the latest in the series of Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror comics, in particular, for Dan Brereton's wonderful riff on Lord of the Rings. Another honorable mention goes to Spider and the Mini Marvels ashcan 2003, which has given hubby-Eric and I countless moments of amusement...

The nominee for October is: More Fund Comics

by Tegan at 10:25 AM Seattle time

Friday, December 26, 2003

Random Thoughts

Thought Balloons kindly points out an article about Aquaman on the Pulse. Best line in the interview: THE PULSE: How much research are you doing into aquatic life and things along that nature for this series? PFEIFER: Well, I did see "Finding Nemo."

The Intermittent mentions that Persepolis has now "joined Maus as a book we're supposed to give people to show the scope of the medium." Like Dave, I also still haven't gotten a copy or read it, though it's been sitting on my wishlist. I suppose I can say it's one of the very few things I didn't get for Christmas this year.

Aqualad will make a return appearance to the Teen Titans animated show, according to Comics Continuum. We'll also get to see Speedy. Ok, I'll watch that episode.

The Modulator directs us to the top 10 Astronomy Images of 2003. I like number 4, the odd expanding star and its light echo (animated gif).

In Sequence describes the recent California earthquake as felt from a high-rise in Los Angeles.

Amy Langfield's father has an interesting post about America’s First President.

Kevin Drum calls using artificial Christmas trees "the dark side". I beg to differ. I've always preferred to not kill a tree if at all possible. Indeed, I remember one year I attempted to plant the Christmas tree after we undecorated it, not realizing there was no chance for the poor thing. I like my little two-foot fake tree with penguin ornaments on it and a LEGOey nativity (courtesy my sister-in-law Inger) under it.

by Tegan at 6:16 PM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 17 December 2003 - Part I

Outsiders #7: A Metamorpho story that goes exactly to formula. I could have read the first couple of pages and written the rest of the story exactly as it happened. It isn't bad, just predictable. 3 starfish

Plastic Man Lost Annual: I've come to the conclusion that I enjoy Jack Cole's Plastic Man, and not much else of his history. The first two stories were quite good... funny. But the later stories were just attempts to recapture the magic of the Golden Age. Even the Steve Skeates/Ramona Fradon story with talking hamsters didn't do much for me. 3 1/2 starfish

WildGuard #4: Ok, that was a surprise. The reality TV aspect is played down a little in this one. And the movement of the characters through the adventure is leading up to a bigger finish. Again, I felt like I got more bang for the buck with this book than with most others. I think Nauck has pacing down very well, and this series has been a lot of fun so far. 4 starfish

Way of the Rat #20: Ah, a good one. A plot thread is picked up from a previous issue, and a new plot thread is firmly introduced. And both of them seem to be quite promising. Just be careful what you wish for, eh? 4 starfish

Still to Review: Batman Adventures, Superman: The Kansas Sighting, Cinnamon, and Green Arrow.

by Tegan at 4:51 PM Seattle time

The Year of Comic Books in Review - Part Nine (September)

Two more for September, as an Elseworld that isn't an Elseworld makes my list, and another book makes its third appearance with its third issue.

Superman: Blood of my Ancestors was a classic Elseworlds tale with all the hallmarks of a good Elseworld... set in Krypton's past as actual events. Ok, looked at as a regular part of the Superman mythos, it's almost as silly as The Kents mini (in which Pa Kent's ancestor bears a striking resemblance to Clark), but as an Elseworld, the why I chose to read it, it's just fine.

The other high ranking book of the month is PS238. The issue introduced a boy who is completely normal. Which is really funny for this book. Check it out.

A special mention goes out to the Scary Godmother: Halloween Spooktakular DVD.

The nominees for September are: PS238 #3 and Superman: Blood Of My Ancestors.

by Tegan at 9:12 AM Seattle time

Thursday, December 25, 2003

The Year of Comic Books in Review - Part Eight (August)

Only two nominees from August for "Best Comic Book of 2003 according to Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog". One I got through the mail, after checking out Fintan Studios website because of an intriguing banner ad. The other one is the final bit of one of last month's choices.

The forgotten is the tale of a Chicago super-hero in a post-superhero world, living a forgotten life. It's actually a pretty amazing story, and even more amazing is how well it holds together with three different artists. It's a crime comic with some superpowers thrown in, and it's worth checking out.

The other nominee would be The Amazing Spider-Man, again. This is the second part of the story started last month, and one of my favorites in the series so far. Yeah, it has flaws, but there's a new message in this one that I like to see. Actions have consequences, even if you are the good guy.

So the nominees for August are: the forgotten and Amazing Spider-Man #56/497.

by Tegan at 9:41 AM Seattle time

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

The Year of Comic Books in Review - Part Seven (July)

Hey, we're halfway through! Let's review the titles that are currently in contention for "Best Comic Book of 2003 according to Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog": Aquaman Archive Volume One, Aquaman #2, Usagi Yojimbo #63, Lone Wolf and Cub Volume 28, Sandwalk Adventures #5, Astro City: Local Heroes #1, Amelia Rules #9, Crossovers #3, Aquaman Secret Files 2003, PS238 #1, Crossovers #4, Superman: Red Son #1, Leave It To Chance (FCBD edition), and PS238 #2. That's fourteen books.

The first nominee for July is Usagi Yojimbo. This was the middle issue of a three-issue storyarc, and it had everything such a middle issue could hope for. Jotaro showed off his skills, using a weapon he'd gotten in a previous story. Usagi did some swordwork, and giant monsters... when you've got giant monsters, it's gotta be good, right?

The next nominee is The Amazing Spider-Man. This is the Spider-Man I like, the one who handles his real life job with wit and compassion, then goes out and plays "thump" with the bad guys. This is the first part of a story, and a wonderful set-up. The problem is near impossible. As Spider-Man, Peter Parker captured the older brother of one of his students committing a crime. Now he wants to inspire the student to achieve her full potential, but also wants to help her family... which means helping the criminal brother. But Spider-Man puts the bad guys away, right? A great story, of the kind that I really prefer. With lots of teacher jokes, too.

I debated with myself for quite awhile about whether or not I should include the Leave It To Chance hardcover reprints in the nominee lists. But if I'm fair, they have to be added, as they both got 4 1/2 starfish and I got them in July.

So the nominees for July are: Usagi Yojimbo #67, Amazing Spider Man #55/496, Leave It To Chance: Shaman's Rain, and Leave It To Chance: Trick or Threat & Other Stories.

by Tegan at 8:46 AM Seattle time

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Rapid Reviews - 10 December 2003 - Part III

Leave It To Chance: Monster Madness: Shorter than the first two, and that's the only fault with this collection. This has two stories in it, one featuring movie monsters who come out of the screen to terrorize the city, and another featuring an unusual hockey player. Another good book, highly recommended. And somebody please tell me that there will be more of Chance... 4 1/2 starfish

Shrek #2: Took long enough for the second issue to finally arrive. And unless I'm mistaken, the third issue was never solicited. But for all the fuss about it actually getting to the stores, it's a good book. The wonderful illogic logic of the movie is played out on the printed page quite nicely. It's fun, and worth a look. 3 1/2 starfish

1602 Part Five: This one was almost worth the cover price for that great recap at the beginning alone. Yeah, it's all text but the Andy Kubert self-portrait with Gaiman at the bottom just made me roll on the floor with the giggles. Anyway, this continues to hold together well, and moves along even faster than expected. We get to see even more characters who've been altered, and more of the Fantastic Four. I hope the payoff is good. 4 starfish

Still to Review: Outsiders, Plastic Man Lost Annual, Wildguard, Way of the Rat, Batman Adventures, Superman: The Kansas Sighting, Cinnamon, and Green Arrow.

by Tegan at 6:11 PM Seattle time

The Year of Comic Books in Review - Part Six (June)

Another light month for Best Books. Only one makes the list of contenders again.

And, of course, that one book is PS238. I do believe that every issue of this series so far has been at the top of my list. In short, I love it.

For honorable mentions, I'm going to point out JLA: Welcome to the Working Week, which has art by the new regular Aquaman artist, and a couple of very funny Aquaman bits.

And the nominee for June is: PS238 #2

by Tegan at 8:08 AM Seattle time

Monday, December 22, 2003

Rapid Reviews - 10 December 2003 - Part II

H-E-R-O #11: A nice stand-alone story featuring the H-E-R-O device early on in DCU history. This one brought to mind the Powers story-arc with Neaderthals, only not as crude. The more I read of H-E-R-O, the more I hope Pfeifer stays on Aquaman awhile. 4 starfish

Superman/Batman Generations III #12: Finally, it's over. Whew. And what a horrible cop-out of an ending, too! This would have made a decent 4 issue mini-series. It might even have been ok expanded to 6 issues. But 12 issues was far too many, and the pay off was utterly worthless. 2 starfish

Fallen Angel #6: I'm still not sure what to make of this book. Every time I'm thinking I "get" it, the book veers off in another direction. It's meant to, but it makes it very hard for me to tell whether I'm reading the book because I like it or just because I'm really curious as to where it's headed next. 3 1/2 starfish (just as a side note, Peter David just announced on his blog that Fallen Angel #1-6 will be collected)

Thor #68/570 to 72/574: I read these all in a swoop since my buddy is buying them with my help and they were stored in my house long enough for me to get curious. Not a bad storyline at all! Again, I like Elseworlds and what-ifs, and this is a "What if Thor ruled the world?" While there are a lot of characters in the Thor pantheon, this doesn't get confusing because each character that needs introduction gets one, and the actual active cast is kept fairly small. What drew me in was the cover to 71/573 which has Thor on a throne, eyes downcast and in shadow... with only one hand. Seemed like there was a story there, and I had to check it out. I was surprised to find a what if, but I'm enjoying it a lot. 4 starfish

Still to Review: Leave it to Chance, Shrek, and 1602. And from Dec 17th: Outsiders, Plastic Man Lost Annual, Wildguard, Way of the Rat, Batman Adventures, Superman: The Kansas Sighting, Cinnamon, and Green Arrow.

by Tegan at 3:20 PM Seattle time

The Year of Comic Books in Review - Part Five (May)

May was not a good month for comics. In fact, there's only one really high rated comic for May, and it was part of Free Comic Book Day, and was a reprint. I debated whether or not to include it, and finally decided to let it in. There is one nominee for May.

The book for May is the Free Comic Book Day edition of Leave It To Chance. An excellent story, one that led me to buy all three collections and hope that the last two un-reprinted issues will find their way into my hands someday. As a free comic, it had exactly the effect that it was intended to have. I wanted more, and ended up buying the lot.

As an honorable mention: my shop and the fact that I was able to get nearly all the free comics from it. I do plan on paying for the comics next year, or at least pitching in to help Paige pay for them, if she decides to do the promotion again.

So the nominee for May is: Leave It To Chance (FCBD edition)

by Tegan at 10:04 AM Seattle time

Sunday, December 21, 2003

'Out Upon Merry Christmas!'

You know, this year I'm totally oblivious to the Christmas Spirit. Usually about mid-December I start to feel that warm glow of happiness that means Christmas is coming! Yah! I get to give presents to family members and friends! and share warm moments with everyone! and everything is neat! and oh-I-wish-it-would-snow-just-a-little on Christmas morning! and all that crap. This year? Nothing. Not one bit. I can't even bring myself to complain about "A Christmas Carol" this year, because I somehow managed to completely avoid it.

Part of this is due to the extensive teacher strike in Marysville that resulted in us not having enough money to buy any presents. Nothing for any of the nieces and nephews. No gag gifts for any siblings. The refi is going to go through too late (assuming it even goes through) to do any good. The absolute best part of Christmas for me is the giving of gifts. I don't even care if I get anything, but it's so much fun to give, especially to children. It's hard to not be able to this year.

Along with that happening to us, the other events happening to friends of mine made things worse.

If I'd known what some folks would write about my friend when I shared her IRS problems with everyone via my blog I never would have written a word. It was bad enough, what she's gone through in the last ten months, without me making it worse by exposing her to the ridicule of ignorant misogynist jerks. See if I ever try to warn comic book retailers of a possible danger to them again. Yeah, I'm bitter. I was hoping someone had information and could help. I didn't expect the nastiness, though I guess it just shows once again that the comic book community has a long way to go before it grows up.

And she's not the only friend having trouble this season. Once burned, twice shy: I won't share any details of any other problems with the world via this blog, but there is always something horrible happening to someone I know.

And so... merry Christmas. Ho-Ho-Ho. I am completely devoid of joy this season. And here I hoped this year would be better than last. Fat chance. It would take a true miracle in the last week to make 2003 anything more than one of the worst years I've ever had.

by Tegan at 7:15 PM Seattle time

The Year of Comic Books in Review - Part Four (April)

So I'm finished with the first quarter of the year, and we've got a total of nine books on the best of 2003 list. To review, here are the contenders so far for "Best Comic Book of 2003 according to Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog": Aquaman Archive Volume One, Aquaman #2, Usagi Yojimbo #63, Lone Wolf and Cub Volume 28, Sandwalk Adventures #5, Astro City: Local Heroes #1, Amelia Rules #9, Crossovers #3, and Aquaman Secret Files 2003. Seems only natural to me that 1/3 would be Aquaman books, but then this is the blog of a major Aquaman fangirl, isn't it?

First contender for April would be PS238 #1. I described this book as being "like discovering a new Astro City or Akiko. Definitely the best book of the year so far." Hyperbole? I'm not sure. This was one of the big surprises for me, as it hit all the right notes.

Crossovers gets another nomination in as issue four was as good or better than issue three. The genres mixed, but the results were not entirely predicatable, which is what made the series so much fun.

The last nomination for April is Superman: Red Son. This was the obvious Elseworlds that hadn't yet been done, and I waited for many years to read it. The first issue did not disappoint.

For an honorable mention this month, I think JLA: Age of Wonder #1 fits. It was an Elseworlds that was about heroes besides Superman and Batman. Beautiful artwork and a solid story made it worth picking up. Oh, and let's mention Powers #30, too, as this was the issue in which everything changed.

So, the nominees for April are: PS238 #1, Crossovers #4, and Superman: Red Son #1.

by Tegan at 9:49 AM Seattle time