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

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Sketchbook - Stefano Gaudiano

The story of this sketch is told in my con report from the day I got it. That was an odd convention. It was a case of going to a con after we'd already agreed that it was too expensive. We had a good time, and I got six sketches. Rick Hoberg and Stefano Gaudiano were sitting together, and promoting their Batman Family books. Both guys were gentlemen, and both did sketches. Like most artists, I watched Stefano work on my sketch, and when he'd finished the pencil work he held it up to me and asked if I thought it needed to be inked. Loaded question for me, as I enjoy artwork both ways. His pencils were heavy enough, though, I didn't want to lose any of the detail, so I said I thought it would be just fine the way it was. He agreed, and this is the result.

by Stefano Gaudiano
10 November 2002
(permission to post given 2 November 2003 via e-mail)

I like the way his signature follows the lines of the image. He also used his eraser effectively to improve Aquaman's hair. And I also got two new fish to add to the Aquafish museum.

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 7:49 PM Seattle time

A Post I Wrote Yesterday Afternoon

Here's a new experience for me. Writing a blog somewhere other than my house. I don't have an internet connection here, but I can save this for posting later. I'm in Ballard. The clouds are glowering, more of them rolling in... as I sit in the waiting room while my husband's car gets an oil change. It's strange, to be able to type and get computing done even though I'm not plugged into an outlet. It's a new experience in a lot of ways. I like it.

I hope to be able to blog on the road this summer, if hubby-Eric and I do decide to go on the summer trip together. That's not a certain thing at all, and I'm ready for it to not happen. In addition, I don't know how I'll be able to connect to the 'net when I'm away from home. I seem to recall that for San Diego 2000, Leah had her laptop, and we hooked up with Juno then used other software to use the connection. If we go on the trip, I'm going to have to figure out if I've got a modem (I think I do, but I don't have the connections for it), then from there figure out how to dial into a service. I wonder if Comcast has dial-in numbers for travelers?

I've discovered a couple more things about my laptop. I hate the built-in mouse, so I try to use a regular mouse with it. When I got to this waiting room, though, I didn't have anywhere to move the mouse on. I found that I could use the mouse just fine on the little space in front of the keypad as long as I didn't need to type as well. I suspect that if I fly and take the laptop, I will be using the built-in mouse.

I also discovered how to take screen grabs from DVDs I'm watching. This is helpful for hubby-Eric, who wants to eventually make a page about the "hanging man" in the Wizard of Oz, complete with screen grabs of the bird that people mistook for a man.

Ah, the car is done... time to leave. We want to get home before snow starts to fall tonight.

by Tegan at 11:14 AM Seattle time

Snowing Again

Well, we managed to avoid last night's predicted accumulation... but now it's coming down again.

I thought of another reason it's so hard to drive in Seattle in the snow. We don't salt our roads. Ever. They put dirt down. They put sand down. But never, ever, salt.

by Tegan at 11:00 AM Seattle time

Friday, January 02, 2004

Snow In Seattle

If I've said this once, I've said it a hundred times. There are two main reasons that Seattle shuts down when it snows. The first is that snow is rare enough that 90% of the drivers don't know how to deal with it. As my friend originally from Minnesota says, it's not driving in snow she's afraid of, it's driving in snow with Seattle drivers. The other reason is that Seattle has lots of hills. Everywhere. It's not that unusual within the city limits to have an elevation change of several hundred feet in a mile or so.

A couple of other reasons have occurred to me, too. Seattle public transportation is awful. People can't easily get out of their cars and onto a bus or train. And most places the average person needs to visit in a day aren't within walking distance. In New York you can hop on the subway and not be held up by a traffic jam caused by the guy in the SUV who thought he could stop on a steep hill covered in ice. In Seattle, the buses are caught in the jams like everybody else.

We also have an awful lot of elevated roadways. You know the kind, the ones that turn into ice cubes after a night like last night. Most of our major highways and arterials are elevated at some point along the way. That's what happens in a town with so many hills. That's why this morning when I checked the news I learned that three major roads were closed down, and the police were advising people to stay home until the sun had melted some of the ice.

And after a quick chat with a co-worker, it looks like I'm staying home today. The street in front of the store "is a sheet of ice" that is filled with so many idiots that my co-worker is tempted to "take a chair out and watch the show". Yeah, I think I'll stay home.

by Tegan at 10:00 AM 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 with last month's method, starting with the bulk of the book, and listing the "big four" at the end. Please remember, I'm listing what looks interesting. My actual purchase list is going to be much smaller.

First off is the Splash Page (8-9). First article is about the Hellboy tie-in wave about to start. With the movie coming out in April, expect to see much more Hellboy stuff in the next month. The neatest item though is the the 25 cent Hellboy comic. Yes, it's a reprint, yes, I've read that story twice now, but it's not a bad story at all, and I'll always support comics coming out for 25 cents. Also of interest is a small article about Cerebus ending. There's a larger article later in the mag. Also on the Splash page is the news that Supreme Power is being collected. The first collection will have the first six issues.

Skipping over the big four, and jumping into Wizard's section, I see that Wizard #150 is due out in March (180). I find the description of DC's upcoming series Identity Crisis a little unnerving. I'm kind of tired of big events hitting the DCU. I wouldn't look twice at most of the Wizard section, but Wizard Edge caught my eye. I'm not happy about it, either. There's an exclusive 8-page Powers story in Edge. Now, is 8 pages of Powers mixed with other Wizard stuff worth $4.99 to me?

The Cerebus farewell is on pages 194-195, and is a bit rambling, but worth reading for sure. It's hard to believe that the fellow who brought Cerebus to fans is really as humble as he seems to be in the essay, but I'm sure even he didn't really expect to make it all the way to issue 300.

AIT/Planet Lar is still putting out new issues of a now critically acclaimed series of one-shot issues about normal people dealing with superpowers. Demo #5 (202) is about a woman who is whatever people think she is. That could be a very interesting issue. I keep wanting to try this book, but it just hasn't made the list yet.

Another book that jumps out at me this month is Farewell, Georgia #1 (206) which is apparently from Amaze Ink/Slave Labor. It's a STAR, so I apparently missed it when it came out before. But then, I've noticed that I'm catching more books when I do this "Flipping Through Previews" exercise. Anyway, Farewell, Georgia appears to be a collection of folk legends and tall tales, which I'm always interested in.

Antarctic Press has a new book out called I Hunt Monsters #1 (207). The solicit is a different read, as you usually don't get first-person narrative from a fictional character in a comic book listing.

Mike Hall has written a guide to the world of small press with Make Your Own Comics Vol 1 TP (212). If I were only a decent artist with enough creative thoughts to make my own comic, I might consider getting this. As it is, I think I'll pass.

The cover to The Dreamland Chronicles #2 (216) jumped out at me. Incredible work for 3D graphic artwork. I'm actually quite curious about this book.

Avatar press is putting out a book called Nightjar #1 (217) that's based on something by Alan Moore, but isn't written by him. Without an art sample, I wouldn't touch the book. There is a website, though,, so maybe I'll check that out.

Blind Wolf Studios is putting out Patrick the Wolf Boy: Giant-Size Collection (223). I'm sorely tempted to get it just to see this series from the beginning. What little I've seen of Patrick has been funny.

Bloodfire Studios has the second issue of Kindergoth (224), the book that I found very disturbing because of the mature readers label. No, I didn't get it, but it's such a funny concept that it's worth mentioning again.

And suddenly I'm into CrossGen (239). Joy. Let's see... there's Archard's Agents: Deadly Dare despite the fact that Ruse has been cancelled. Not sure what to think of this, but we'll probably get it. El Cazador: Blackjack Tom #1 seems a little less likely. What do I want with another spin-off? Lastly for this month is Way of the Rat #23. The rat is still going strong, so we'll stay with it. Missing from this month's list is Abadazad and the regular El Cazador. Both should be back next month.

Moving on, Dork Storm Press is putting out PS238 #7 (270). I shouldn't have to explain why this one will make the list no matter what. I think I may have already made it abundantly clear that PS238 is one of the best books out right now.

88MPH Studios is putting out the second issues of Ghostbusters: Legion and Tron: Derezzed (284). Again, they look like neat concepts, but without a better idea of what the art looks like, they won't make the list.

Evolve Publishing has a book called Julia Cruz: Evolution Cop #1 (285) which involves time travel and DNA. Don't know if it's any good, but it did jump out at me. You couldn't pay me enough to go back to 1979, though.

Fantagraphics is putting out The Complete Peanuts Volume 1: 1950-1952 HC (285), and although I'm not fond of the cover, the contents are something that I wouldn't mind having in my collection at all. The books are apparently going to come out twice a year, and there will be 25 volumes. 352 pages for $28.95 doesn't seem like a bad deal when you are talking about something as classic as this. And if the solicit isn't enough information, pages 286-287 in Previews has a couple of articles about it. The sidebar is very difficult to read, though. Whoever did the design for the article has as poor color sense as whoever did the cover for the book. Ugly and brown. Yuck.

I've never been a big Felix the Cat fan, but the solicit for Felix's Totally Wacky News (289) is pretty cool. Putting tabloid reporters after fictional characters is a funny concept.

Penny Farthing Press has a mystery thriller coming out called Para #1 (315). I wish I had some more art samples... what I see isn't enough to judge whether or not I'll like it.

Renaissance Press has Amelia Rules!: Superheroes #3 (316). We'll certainly continue to get this book, which may be all ages but has both funny and serious moments.

Sirius Entertainment is putting out Akiko Volume 7: The Battle For Boach's Keep (318), which I just loaned to my little sister in individual issues. I'm kind of behind on the trades of Akiko.

Another book of interest to me is Stonehaven (320) from Stickman Graphics. There's a small sample of artwork on the next page, and it looks ok. The premise is of a world where fantasy creatures live alongside humans in a modern city, and a girl goes missing.

And so we move out of the comics section... on page 394 there's a very cool Green Lantern shirt that I would mind getting for my hubby. Not the flame logo one, the one right underneath it. Well, I thought it was cool.

I am going to try hard not to ever mention again the Care Bears Beanies (413). Nope. Not at all.

I've not seen many episodes of Buffy, but one I did see was "Hush", and because of that the bust on page 420 freaks me out quite adequately. Eeeeeuuuwwww.

I'm really glad that there's no Aquaman "Headstrong Heroes" (450). I hope they never put an Aquaman one out.

I have to admit that the "Magneto Desktop Helmet Magnet" (453) is pretty dang funny. I like the paperclips illustrating how it works.

I want the plush polyhedral dice on page 469. Particularly the icosahedron (20-sided).

Wizkids are putting out another DC Heroclix expansion (476). So not only will I be hunting for Mariners from Sportclix, I also have to keep an eye on this new expansion in case it includes any Aqua-character. I know that hubby already wants the Hal Jordan Green Lantern, who can be clearly seen in the promotional shots. I wouldn't mind the Kingdom Come figures, either. I hope they aren't uniques.

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

Let's start with Dark Horse. Now that I know who the characters are, I'm interested in B.P.R.D.: A Plague of Frogs (18), but I'm going to hold off on buying Hellboy related books for a bit. Well, except for Hellboy: The Corpse (20), which we'll be getting because it's only 25 cents.

I'm also very happy to see Castle Waiting: The Lucky Road (27) at Dark Horse. I already have the individual issues, but if I had enough money I would buy the trade for my sister. The news that Castle Waiting will return, with Dark Horse as a new home, is good news any day.

While I won't be getting Conan #2 (28) for myself, my buddy plans on buying it, and like Phantom I'll be reading his copy. Another book I don't really want to spend so much money on is The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist #2 (30), but it's not really overpriced for an 80-page book in today's market, so we'll probably get it. I kind of would like to see the first issue before we make the decision, though. We'll definitely be getting Usagi Yojimbo #74 (31).

On to the big one, DC Comics. At least, the big one for our order form. In the promotion section, the first thing that jumps out at me is the return of Swamp Thing (54-55). I'm slightly tempted, but will probably pass on it. I would like to pass on JLA, also, but since GL is in it, we'll continue to get it. Moving on, the It's A Bird... hardcover (64-67) looks intriguing, and more like something you would get from an indy publisher than from DC. I notice that it's a Vertigo book, despite being about Superman. Smallville (89) is trying to pull a crossover event, but since two of the three parts are in the comic and the other is on-line, it's not going to be noticed by anyone but us nerds.

Into the main DC listings, here's what will be on the list. Batman Adventures (92), Birds of Prey #65 (93), Superman: Birthright #8 (94), Superman: Secret Identity #3 (95), Smallville #7, Aquaman #16, DC: The New Frontier #3 (96), Fallen Angel #9, Green Arrow #36 (97), Green Lantern #175, H-E-R-O #14 (98), JLA #94, JLA #95, JSA #59, Justice League Adventures #29, Outsiders #10 (100), and Plastic Man #4. There's also a mini-maquette of Aquaman in the DC Direct section.

Moving on to Image Comics... Powers Vol 2 #1 (153) is the first thing on the list. Yeah, I'm sticking with this book. The only other Image book for the month will be Common Grounds #3 (162), which is already a critically acclaimed hit series according to Previews, despite the fact that the first issue hasn't shipped yet (to the best of my knowledge). I'm guessing that sales are good? I'm not surprised, as the concept is just wonderful.

And lastly... Marvel. The extra Marvel section didn't ship to our shop, so none of the Previews subscribers got it. Sure, charge us extra then don't bother to ship the thing! Diamond isn't too popular at my shop right now. Oh well. It's not like I personally care, since I've been just using the shipping list (174) to order, and I've got on-line resources if I really need to check on a writer or artist for a book. So here's what we'll be getting from Marvel: Supreme Power #8, Amazing Spider-Man #505, 1602 #8, and Amazing Spider-Man #506.

So that's it for this month's "Things in Previews That Look Interesting But I Can't Afford To Get (with a list of things I am getting just for contrast)". Comments? Questions? Do you want to point out a book I missed? Please feel free. I'll even answer if you really want me to.

by Tegan at 8:06 AM Seattle time

Thursday, January 01, 2004

New Year Firsts

First food of the new year: cheese, crackers, and sparkling apple cider. My traditional New Year's feast, eaten right after midnight. This year the crackers were Ritz (original), the cheese was Tillamook Smoked Cheddar, and the cider was the standard Martinelli's (no alcohol, neither hubby nor I drink).

First Book finished in the new year: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. My library hold notice arrived in my e-mail yesterday afternoon, and hubby and I raced down to the library just before closing to get it. Yes, I've finished it already, and I think I'm going to read it again. Rapid review to come later... but it's as good as everyone has been saying. Hmm, should I say it took me two years to finish, since I started last night and finished at about 1 am this morning?

First belly-laugh of the new year: hubby-Eric answering a question in French, then stating very matter-of-factly that one of his New Year's resolutions is to speak more French. While I burst out laughing he explained "I'm going to break them anyway, I might as well go for silly ones." This from the man who met both his resolutions last year.

First geeky conversation of the new year: Someone should write a book on the origins of Fandom... a new field of study called "Fanthropology" should be developed to determine why people become fans of things. What are the origins of Fandom? How long ago did people start forming fan clubs and indentifying themselves as "fans" of a particular thing? The discussion started when I followed Mark Evanier's link to Bill Schelly's Website (and I urge you to buy the Otto Binder book, too, I'm currently reading it).

First great e-mail of the new year: Robin Riggs sent me a scan of the Aquaman sketch that Alan Freakin' Davis drew for me (and that Robin inked). Whoa. Wow.

First on-line annoyance of the new year: Blogger is acting up, and I can't get to half the blogspot sites half the time... including my own. New year, same old problems.

by Tegan at 11:59 AM Seattle time

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Good Riddance, 2003

May 2004 be ten times better. Not that that's saying much.

by Tegan at 5:21 PM Seattle time

Best Comic Book of 2003 according to Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog

This was very nearly a tie. I wanted to give the award to the following book and also to PS238 as a series. But I eventually decided that PS238 would get a collective "Rookie of the Year" instead.

And so (drumroll please), the Best Comic Book of 2003 according to Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog is:

Amazing Spider Man #55/496: "Unintended Consequences"

This is an issue which shows the lead character in the best kind of light, as both a person with a career and a superhero with hard choices. Peter's relationship with Melissa, complete with "nerd" jokes, works well. We get to see more of the teachers in Peter's school, some of whom were authority figures for Peter before he became a teacher at the school. There's also the moment when Peter first realizes that his actions as Spider-Man have an effect on people. Including some of his students. Including Melissa. And we get to see a little bit of MJ, and we get to see Spidey in action playing "thump" with the bad guys. I think, honestly, that "thump" put it over the top. Re-reading this issue, I think this one would be a hard one for a new reader, but then it has so much in it that a reader like myself would have become intrigued and it would have caught me... uh... in its web.

Yeah, I know, I know. It's a Marvel book, and I'm a DC addict. But this one was just the best this year. Maybe next year I'll pick something more normal for me (like an Aquaman book).

by Tegan at 9:08 AM Seattle time

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

The Year of Comic Books in Review - Nominees

Let's review the titles that are in contention for "Best Comic Book of 2003 according to Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog": Amazing Spider Man #55/496, Amazing Spider-Man #56/497, Amelia Rules #9, Aquaman #2, Aquaman #13, Aquaman Archive Volume One, Aquaman Secret Files 2003, Astro City: Local Heroes #1, Crossovers #3, Crossovers #4, the forgotten, Hellboy: Seed of Destruction, Hellboy: The Right Hand of Doom, JLA/Avengers #3, Leave It To Chance (FCBD edition), Leave It To Chance: Shaman's Rain, Leave It To Chance: Trick or Threat & Other Stories, Leave It To Chance: Monster Madness, Lone Wolf and Cub Volume 28, More Fund Comics, PS238 #1, PS238 #2, PS238 #3, PS238 #4, Sandwalk Adventures #5, Superman: Blood Of My Ancestors, Superman: Red Son #1, Usagi Yojimbo #63 and Usagi Yojimbo #67.

Wow. That's almost too much to pick from. So the next step is to eliminate some books from the running by giving them "Other Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog Awards".

  • "Most Effective Reprint" goes to Leave It To Chance (Free Comic Book Day edition), as it had the desired effect of getting me to buy all three hardcover reprint volumes.
  • "I Can't Believe It's Over" goes to Lone Wolf and Cub Volume 28.
  • "Best Anthology" goes to More Fund Comics. It also gets an award for "trippiest cover" because of the Hulk cover that echoes DC's More Fun comics. Only somebody who has a high interest in More Fun (like, oh, me) would be tripped out by it, but it was very cool.
  • "Missed but not Forgotten" goes to the forgotten, which also gets the "Best Banner Ad" award.
  • "Best Archive of 2003" goes to Aquaman Archive Volume One, which I hope will be followed someday soon with a Golden-Age Aquaman Archive.
  • "Coolest Loaned Book" goes to the collective Hellboy anthologies, which have introduced me to a new and fascinating character that I find myself really liking. And Abe is neat too. I wouldn't have discovered that I like Hellboy without a friend willing to loan me her books (and in return I got her addicted to Usagi Yojimbo).
  • "Best Story Written For Laura" goes to Aquaman Secret Files 2003. It was a very good story. For me.
  • "Longest Wait" goes to JLA/Avengers... and in particular to the fact that it took three issues to get to the real fun stuff (for me).
  • "Rookie of the Year" goes to PS238, which was a very close second to the "winner".

    And tomorrow I'll reveal the comic book, out of all that I read in 2003, that I thought was the best of the year.

    by Tegan at 10:39 PM Seattle time

    Rapid Reviews - 24 December 2003 - Extra

    Hellboy: The Chained Coffin and Others: I read every story in this anthology on-line before my friend loaned the book to me. I gave the stories four starfish the first time through, I think they deserve that much this time 'round, too. 4 starfish

    Hellboy: Conqueror Worm: I've already determined that I prefer the short stories more than the longer narratives, but this one works well. This is Roger's big tale, and it's wonderful in a lot of ways. I mean, it's got everything! Nazi space capsule, alien in disguise, old ghosts, and a freaking huge bad guy to beat up on Hellboy. Definitely a ride. 4 starfish

    BPRD: Hollow Earth & Other Stories: Ah, I finally understand what the short BPRD story on the Dark Horse website is. It's in here, and it was a teaser for Hollow Earth. Abe is arguably the star of this collection, which is just fine by me. I like him, and the new background material makes him even more likable. I do wonder about the last story's possible tie with Abe's true origin. The art is mildly disappointing on some of the stories, as it's not all Mignola. But it's not horrible, either. 3 1/2 starfish

    So I managed to get a Hellboy Heroclix to add to my minature army, and I'm now looking forward to seeing the movie eventually.

    by Tegan at 8:05 AM Seattle time

    Monday, December 29, 2003

    Random Thoughts

    Via Various and Sundry comes a link to examples of why Widescreen is better than pan and scan for movies. After seeing these, I can't understand why anyone would want a pan and scan version.

    Amy Langfield asks why cattle producers don't have better tracking when they knew things like Mad Cow might eventually hit them. I agree. I also wonder what idiot first decided it was a good idea to feed livestock ground up bits from other livestock. I know it's an old practice, but it's a stupid one and now we have proof of that. Banning the practice in 1997 is all well and good, but it takes years for the diseases to develop in both livestock and in humans. That's pretty scary.

    Here's another reason to not go to Wal-Mart. Take note of the reaction of Wal-Mart to the attack. Basically... no reaction. Scumbags.

    The Modulator points out a dodgy method that the US government is using to avoid a draft. He also directs us to a website listing ten ads America won't see... unless you go visit the website.

    From Boing Boing, Kevin Kelly makes some good suggestions for how to donate to charity for maximum effect. His first is Heifer International, which I think I had money donated to in my name one year as a present. His next is Opportunity International which offers micro-loans, and has a simply incredible payback rate. A little money to them ends up going a long way. His last is Trickle Up, which gives grants instead of loans.

    On the home front, I'm still working on setting up the laptop (which has now been dubbed "Abe"). I discovered the most pleasant thing early in my setting up: the laptop can play quicktime movies without annoying lags and delays! This means I can actually watch movie previews now! And so I immediately went out trailer hunting. First I found the Apple QuickTime Movie Trailers site and watched the ones I'd seen poorly on my desktop: Hellboy, Harry Potter, Spider-Man 2. Then I pulled down a few more to watch: Return of the King (No, I haven't seen the movie yet), The Polar Express, Big Fish, Shrek 2... Wow. I can actually watch the video as it was meant to be watched! I found a good place to download trailers, at Movie-List and put some on my harddrive. I'm sure my 20 gigs will run out soon enough, then I'll delete them. But for now I'm enjoying the ability to watch them.

    by Tegan at 5:28 PM Seattle time

    The Year of Comic Books in Review - Part Twelve (December)

    Finally at the end of the nominees. You know I've drawn this whole thing out a ridiculous length just to have something to post every day for the final few days of the year. I didn't really feel like going out and hunting for stuff to link to, so you got this massive review from heck. Anyway. We're down to the last few nominees. Then I'm going to draw it out a bit longer...

    First nominee for December is Hellboy: The Right Hand of Doom. Lots of really strong short stories, and "Is that a monkey?" "He's got a gun!" which still makes me giggle.

    Next up would be the nice standalone Aquaman issue that just came out. Ok, a couple of weeks ago. But I only read it recently. It showed Aquaman as both effective and ineffective. And the result is an intriguing character study.

    Last up is the Leave It To Chance volume that finally shipped. Yes, it was smaller than the first two, but it's still quite good. Now I just want to read all remaining un-reprinted Leave It To Chance and then see a new series.

    So, to finish off the year, the nominees for December are: Hellboy: The Right Hand of Doom, Aquaman #13, and Leave It To Chance: Monster Madness.

    by Tegan at 10:01 AM Seattle time

    Rapid Reviews - 24 December 2003 - Part II

    Amazing Spider-Man #61/502: I like the cover. The look of joy on the kid's face makes it a happy cover. Artwork could be better, but it's not bad. I like the tailor's name for Spider-Man: "Mister Bug Guy". My hubby wants me to mention that he found Thor's reading material very amusing. A pretty good issue, yeah. 4 starfish

    El Cazador #4: Too... much... good... artwork... The pirates are drawn well, but the crews are similar enough that they get confusing during the battle. The artwork is fantastic, as usual. The revelation at the end is rather gruesome, and bodes ill for Captain Sin's future. 3 1/2 starfish

    Phantom #1: This is a book that my friend is buying, and allowing me to read. I know very little about the Phantom... I know he's called "the ghost who walks" because he is apparently immortal. Apparently, to the folks in his universe. To the readers, though, he's one of a long line of crimefighters. This isn't what I would call a good introduction, but it is an interesting story, with a nifty cliff-hanger. Not bad for the start of a new on-going. 3 1/2 starfish

    Whew. That's the end.

    by Tegan at 8:08 AM Seattle time

    Sunday, December 28, 2003

    Rapid Reviews - 24 December 2003 - Part I

    Shrek #3: Only two weeks after the second issue, the third and final issue comes out. It's funny, and there is certainly enough here to make a cool ongoing series... if not for the problems that turned the four issue mini into a three issue mini of which two issues were really late. This one had both Shrek and Donkey pulling their weight together for the comedy, and had great writing and art. 3 1/2 starfish

    JLA #91: Tan Eng Huat's artwork is very odd. It worked in Doom Patrol, but I don't like it much in JLA. Add in the apparent environmental message (alien comes to earth to find species that Man has destroyed, hmmm, where have I heard that before, eh?) and it just does't do much for me. 2 1/2 starfish

    Birds of Prey #62: While the Lady Shiva and Black Canary plot was interesting enough, it's the subplot of Oracle's computer problems that really drew me in. It's a testament to how much Batman trusts Barbara that he didn't do a double-check on the house she led him to. This one ended on a double-cliffhanger, too. 3 1/2 starfish

    Still to review: Amazing Spider-Man, El Cazador, and Phantom.

    by Tegan at 4:58 PM Seattle time

    The Year of Comic Books in Review - Part Eleven (November)

    Yeah, yeah... you know it... PS238 made the list again. Should I stop gushing about this series already?

    Also in the running is JLA/Avengers #3. This was the issue that clicked for me. I think it was because of all the alternate realities (which I really like in general). It also seemed to be the most like what I was expecting this crossover to be like originally. Not to mention that Aquaman got a nice role.

    And lastly, I'll add Hellboy: Seed of Destruction. Yup, I gave it full marks. It was just a neat book, and while it didn't first come out this year, it's definitely a good time for reviewing Hellboy, with the movie coming out soonish.

    So the nominees for November are: JLA/Avengers #3, Hellboy: Seed of Destruction, and PS238 #4.

    And in other news, I just got a new niece. My husband's sister gave birth C-section this morning.

    by Tegan at 10:41 AM Seattle time

    Christmas at Casa Gjovaag

    I suppose you all want to hear about my Christmas. Let's sum up where I was before Christmas.

    I was in a depressed state, and allowed another comic book fan's comments on aesthetics to irritate me. Then I learned the full extent of removed by request of post subject. The two events led to me feeling remarkably bitter about comic books and the comic book community, to the point where I was finding absolutely no joy in my main hobby. I've generally had few problems being a female fan in a male-dominated field, but every once in awhile I learn just how far the industry has to go before it's much more than a shelter for juvenile men with no social skills. Usually I categorize such comments as unfair... an old stereotype that needs to be broken. During the last couple of weeks I've been in the middle of the stereotype, and I've been wondering how any woman can enjoy the comics community with people like the above-mentioned retailer a vocal part of it.

    So with that hanging over me, I've been forcing myself to remember what I like about comic books, reviewing my favorite books of the year and re-reading good comics from years past. I've also avoided almost all comic book related blogs for awhile, just to keep from dwelling on stupid things. Inspired by Sean Collins, I re-read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and I also read Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle for the first time. The lack of blog arguments and the reading of good fiction alleviated a lot of the depression, but not all of it.

    I worked retail Christmas Eve, six hours of pure insanity. It wasn't too bad, but I do wonder about people who come into a store at noon on Christmas Eve and ask for help finding a present for an 8-year-old boy with a limit of $20. C'mon folks, get some better planning!

    After my shift was done, I headed over to hubby-Eric's family for the traditional meal of clam chowder. The pugs were delighted at the visitors, and were underfoot waiting for crumbs to drop all during the meal. The clam chowder, made from local geoduck (pronounced gooey-duck) was splendid. I only wish I'd been able to eat more of it!

    Before the meal, Eric's dad offered to give me his old laptop computer. It's an Inspiron 7500. While it doesn't have everything I wanted in a laptop, I never expected to get everything I wanted anyway. He gave me the computer, the system installation disks for Windows XP and Office 2000, and a printer. While I don't much need the printer, my hubby can use it.

    After the meal, presents were exchanged. Except we'd all agreed that there would be no presents this year. So only one person got presents. The one person who most wanted to give presents. Me. Turns out that hubby had ordered a present for me after getting his job in Marysville, but before he learned about the strike. The gift he got me is something I have wanted almost as long as I can remember. I'm always been a Mariners fan, and when I was little I wanted a Mariners jersey. I knew how much the things cost though (I must've asked as some point) and so I knew it would never happen. Later on, as an adult, I looked into getting one, and found that now you can get customized jerseys with your name and number on them. I wanted one, but again, too much cash. But hubby knew. And so I now own a Mariners home jersey with my last name and the number "27". Very, very cool.

    I also got a book on how to break into the comic book business from Eric's mom. It's not one I'd seen before, and it has some interesting stuff about the industry in it, including lots of commentary from pros.

    And so we went home to relax and wait for Santa to finish his rounds. I was eager to investigate my new computer, and so I tried to plug it into the network with the current installation on it. Didn't work. So I tried to format the hard drive... but forgot to exit Windows first. Finally I got out of Windows and typed the magic words: "format c:". It was amazingly therapeutic. In fact, I immediately wanted to do the same to my desktop computer. I resisted the urge, as there is still some software I need on it. After the format was complete, I tried to get the computer to boot up from the DVD-Rom drive, but I couldn't get into the BIOS to reset the boot for some reason. I finally figured out the problem, which was just that Dell has a screen that hides the boot-up information, and I was hitting the key too late because I was waiting for the brief moment when that information was showing. duh. After I figured that out, the battery was almost out of juice, and it was late, so I tried to get to sleep.

    But it's impossible to sleep when there is an interesting problem to be solved, and a born troubleshooter like me can't sleep when there's a laptop sitting around waiting to have software installed on it. I confessed my sleeplessness to hubby, who said, "Go play, then! You know you want to!" And off I went. I put the laptop into its plugged in dock so I wouldn't be on batteries, and booted up from the XP disk. No problem. That might have been the easiest installation I've ever done. And when I plugged the network cable in, the network showed. I pulled up Internet Exploder and visited my blog... and realized that it was well past midnight and I had to get up on Christmas morning to visit my family.

    And so to bed, but OOOOHH how nice it felt to deal with problems that could be solved. Wipe the drive and start over. It was enough to cheer the soul. I really should go into computer repair. Those days I spent volunteering with seniors at the senior center teaching them how to use their e-mail were pure bliss. I could do that for a living.

    Anyway, I digress. Christmas is the day for family, and I was determined to see all my nieces and nephews that I could possibly see. We got to my parent's house about 11 am and waited for the traditional breakfast of orange biscuits. I got to see all my sibs who live in the area and their children, but it was spread out over a few hours. The gift giving was also spread out. I got a Hershey chocolate bar and a book from one of my older sisters, who said she hoped they would bring me a little happiness (I guess she's been reading my blog). My little sister got me a DVD of Jim Henson's The Storyteller, which is a bit delayed but my sister knows what I like. Another sister got us a box of Mango Frangos (Frangos are a tradition in this neck of the woods, and the mango was a new twist that turned out to be really good). I didn't really expect much, but what we got was a lot, and it was wonderful to hang out with the family.

    I showed off my Mariners jersey, and my nephew reacted very oddly to it. His mother, my oldest sister, laughed and explained that he'd been sneaking downstairs to watch something on TV, but being careful and not telling anyone about it. As his parents figured out he was hiding something, they got worried, and wondered just what he was watching. Eventually they caught him in the act. He was watching baseball. Despite being in a family with no baseball fans, he'd learned to like the game, and was sneaking off to watch baseball so the rest of the family wouldn't be annoyed by it. As soon as we heard this little tale Lisa, Eric, and I agreed that we will definitely be taking our nephew to a baseball game this summer. He seemed pleased with the promise. His sisters seemed amused.

    After five hours with my family, we went back to Eric's family's house to see the other side of his family, including his grandmother Helen who used to work in the Marysville School District. Grandma's krumkaker almost made for a meal by itself, and we talked very little about the problems in the district.

    Eventually I got back home and immediately went back to the laptop. Poor Eric was neglected for a couple of days there while I played. Windows XP is not as bad as I was expecting. If my favorite programs work with it, there's a very good chance I'll attempt to upgrade my desktop to it.

    Boxing Day was a day of running errands. The biggest errand was to get our cars' emission tests done so we can renew the licenses. Then I took all the money in my computer fund and bought an ethernet cable for my laptop's dock. I actually needed a bit more than was in the fund, but my dad gave me a little cash for Christmas which paid for the emission tests and everything left over on the ethernet cable.

    I'm still numb. I'm feeling oddly disconnected, like Christmas was just a good dream, and I'm going to wake up to my normal horrid life any second now. I'm somewhere between floating and shock. It may not quite make up for the crap from earlier, nor for the sight of colorful confetti in a shredding truck, but it certainly helps.

    by Tegan at 8:39 AM Seattle time

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