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

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Sketchbook - Tom Peyer

Time for yet another non-Aquaman sketch. This one, however, is Aquaman related. The great Tom Peyer drew this for me in my autograph book. Enjoy!

by Tom Peyer
16 November 2003
(permission to post given 6 February 2005 in person)

As a reminder: Almost every sketch in my sketchbook was non-commissioned and done on the floor of a con. These are not the best works of the artists. These are only representative of what the artist can do under pressure in a loud, crowded, and often stressed-out environment. Most of them were done as quickly as possible, to prevent huge lines from forming. Don't judge any of these artists negatively by the artwork you see, instead be as impressed as I am by what they accomplished in far-from-ideal conditions.

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.

The Saturday Sketch ™ is brought to you by the letters "T", "P" and the number "91", and also courtesy the fine artists who pour their lives into producing wonderful comic books, then come to conventions only to get asked by geeky fangirls for a sketch of Aquaman. Support an artist, buy a comic book.

by Tegan at 10:03 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Friday, April 01, 2005

Check the Date

Before you believe anything you read on the internet today, check the date. I've already been zapped once this morning, and I'm feeling particularly gullible at the moment.

Don't believe ANYTHING you read on the 'net today. Even if it's serious, it can usually wait a day to be properly confirmed.

by Tegan at 7:24 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Thursday, March 31, 2005

No Blog Tonight

I spent my free time today fixing the treadmill then using it to train for the 3-Day, so I'm a little blogless at the moment. Maybe tomorrow.

by Tegan at 5:42 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Rapid Reviews - Recommended Manga

Here's another set of reviews based on the recommendations I got from this post. These are in no particular order... just the order that they arrived from the library and I started to read them.

Planetes by Makoto Yukimura. The most recommended Manga, so it clearly had the most to live up to. This volume contains five different stories about three astronauts whose job is to pick up debris in Earth's orbit so it won't endanger the lives of other folks in space. From the pain of losing a wife to the desperate need for a cigarette, this one covers all the bases of what could be called the mundane lives of trash-haulers in space. I was going to write that there should be a movie or show based on this one to introduce it to a wider audience, but according to Amazon, there already is. Anyway, this one will appeal to any science fiction fan, and anyone who has an interest in the "high frontier". Fans of Star Cops will probably like it. 3 1/2 starfish
Recommended by Dave Carter, Dave Lartigue, Shane, and Johnny B. Will I read more? Yes, definitely.

Mars by Fuyumi Soryo. If I understand the terms correctly, "Shojo" is for young women, and usually involves the cliche love triangle with the handsome guy who loves the self-depreciating protagonist of the story. If so, this is Shojo at its most classic. The art is beautiful, but at times I'm not sure if the main guy is a male or female. The story is fairly standard, with the main girl being extremely easy for me to identify with as she seems to be borderline autistic at times, and at the very least anti-social to a fault. It also has a good bit of humor, and shows just how nasty girls can be to each other. Perhaps not something I would buy, but this makes for good library reading. In a slightly related note, this one I got from the library after putting it on hold only to find out that I had somehow requested the Japanese version. I didn't try to read it, but I did flip through. It might be fun sometime to check out both versions and do a side-by-side comparison. 2 1/2 starfish
Recommended by TangognaT. Will I read more? Maybe.

The Kindaichi Case Files: The Opera House Murders by Yazaburo Kanari and Fumiya Sato. The Tokyopop website describes this series as "part Sherlock Holmes, part Encyclopedia Brown, part Scooby Doo." And that description fits. Hajime Kindaichi is a cool character who will take his place alongside the great young detectives of the ages. The artwork is very nice, and the actual mystery is just hard enough to keep the book interesting. It was a fun read, even with some slightly melodramatic bits here and there. This was also my first foray into Interlibrary Loan, and it worked perfectly. All-in-all, this book was a good experience. 3 starfish
Recommended by Bill Doughty. Will I read more? Yes.

Firefighter! Daigo of Fire Company M by Masahito Soda. Daigo wants to become a fireman when he's rescued by one as a child, but when he finally makes his goal, he finds that it isn't the job he thought he'd signed up for. This one loses focus at times, choosing to spend most of the space on Daigo's struggles once he becomes a firefighter, but it keeps hinting at a less responsible past for him then adds a rivalry out of nowhere. It's certainly not a bad book, and the subject matter is a breath of fresh air, but it's not as strong as many of the other books I've checked out. At least there aren't any love triangles in this one. Yet. 2 starfish
Recommended by Dave Lartigue. Will I read more? Maybe.

So, do you have any more suggestions for me?

by Tegan at 9:29 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Happy Birthday Joshua!

Sorry I won't make it to your party, but I hope you have a good day anyway!

by Tegan at 7:05 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Girl Genius Is Now FREE

Kaja's Diary indicates that "the main Girl Genius storyline will be moving to starting April 18. All new material will be available for free reading, one page at a time, updating Monday, Wednesday and Friday."

So now nobody has a good excuse to not check it out!

Of course, the first issue has been available on-line for a long time, so you didn't have a good excuse before, either.

by Tegan at 8:04 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Rapid Reviews - 16 March 2005 - Part I

Lions Tigers & Bears #2: Joey ends up in the Kingdom, where he's recruited to fight in an ongoing war against the beasties. I like the art, although at times it gets a little over cutesy. The pacing of the story is good, but Joey is still very difficult for me to identify with. But the cliff-hanger works, and shows that Joey isn't scared for no reason. A fun book, definitely aimed at the younger crowd. 3 starfish

Lullaby: Wisdom Seeker #1: We originally didn't intend to get this, but then we found out that Oz is involved, so we had to check it out. It's not bad at all. I'm not a huge fan of the artwork, it looks like it's trying to be manga and not succeeding. The twisted versions of fairy tale characters works, however, and I'm certainly interested in finding out what happens next. Not for everyone, though, and a familiarity with children's tales will help in figuring out the action. 2 1/2 starfish

Noble Causes #8: What's up with Liz?!? For that matter, look at poor Rusty! And the back-up story is goofy. If you've been getting this already, get this issue. If you haven't, go read the previous ones before reading this. It's a true "soap opera" comic. 3 starfish

Plastic Man #15: Why do we get this book? Oh yeah, hubby-Eric likes it. I'm not sure I should keep reading it. I'm just never impressed with it at all. 1 1/2 starfish

by Tegan at 7:06 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Rapid Reviews - 9 March 2005 - Part II

Chickasaw Adventures #1: Being an avid comic book reader, I'm very aware of the conventions of comics, and I usually recognize ones that are done well. This one isn't. The story is great, the artwork is very nice, but it reads like a book by someone who hasn't written many comics. Still, the story is one I didn't know, and the history is evident throughout the book. This is going to be a good series, even if it could use some polish. 3 starfish

Samurai: Heaven & Earth #3: "Saints and Sinners": Shiro runs into the three musketeers, and holds his own against them for the most part. This book will read much better once it's collected, though, as individually the parts are just too short. If you're up for a strange samurai epic with great artwork, this is one to look at. 3 starfish

The Grimoire #1: A confusing start to a promising series. Nice artwork. The main character is clearly a good person, but her mother seems to be less so, and who knows who or what her father is. I like the fact that Amandine is willing to talk with the protector she summoned... and I like the guy she summoned as well. In any case, this one gets off to a fast start, and looks pretty good so far. We'll have to see if future issues live up to this one's promise. 3 1/2 starfish

Aquaman #28: "To Serve & Protect": I loved the last issue. This one, not so much. There were a lot of nice ideas, but they never came together into a solid narrative. The story kept jumping to other thoughts. And the ideas about Malrey and Genetech are, frankly, just annoying. I'm also not sure what to make of Vulko's apparent ignorance... whether it was a joke on his part or genuine confusion. Not the best issue of this book I've seen recently. 2 1/2 starfish

by Tegan at 7:05 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Monday, March 28, 2005

Rapid Reviews - 9 March 2005 - Part I

My new goal is to finish most of my March reviews before the first April books arrive. No promises about this week's books, but I'll try to read the last three weeks' worth of stuff... yes, including the latest Aquaman.

Seven Soldiers: Shining Knight #1: "The Last of Camelot": Sir Justin looks like a girl. Is he? And where's Winged Victory? This horse... it talks. It threw me out of the story. I even had to set the book down and wait until I got the oddness through my head. I'm a fan of The Shining Knight, but this doesn't bear much of a resemblance of the Sir Justin I like. 2 starfish

Bloodhound #9: "Demons": I'm not sure what to make of this one. Zeiss I know, but oh so very little. I could use that on-line DC Encyclopedia about now to look him up. I think I've figured out the why of the fires, but I'm still not sure about the how, except for it being super-powered. As usual, a brutal and interesting part of a tale. 2 1/2 starfish

JSA #71: "Past Mistakes": Oh, but the pages with Mr Terrific were so satisfying. Now that the troops are gathered, which took about two issues longer than needed, hopefully we'll get down to the actual story. Still, the Terrific pages make up for a lot, in my book... 2 1/2 starfish

Green Arrow #48: "Greeks Bearing Gifts": An excellent cliff-hanger on this one. And the Duke of Oil is a fun villain for an extended fight scene. This one comes in at about the average for superhero books. 2 1/2 starfish

by Tegan at 4:49 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

More Rapid Reviews

Y: The Last Man - One Small Step: Two more men survived, and Yorick is on his way to meet them. This one includes two stories, and starts with the astronauts. It ends with a traveling theater troupe doing a play about the last man, inspired by Ampersand's appearance. I liked the first arc, but the second one mostly left me cold, despite some nice guest artwork. Still no clues as to what killed the men, but that's got to be addressed pretty soon, I'm sure. It can only be drawn out until the group reaches California, at the minimum. 2 1/2 starfish

Invincible: Eight Is Enough: This volume, as a collection, is much more disjointed than the first, which didn't exactly flow freely itself. The characters are fun, though, and seeing yet another Aquaman/Namor tribute was amusing as well. A mystery is built up in this collection that isn't resolved, which is slightly annoying, but makes perfect sense for an ongoing. Overall, not as good as the first collection, but still something fun to read. 3 starfish

The Fixer by Joe Sacco. Neven is a native of Sarajevo, and fought in its defense during the siege. But just what is Neven, really? This is a good one for people who don't understand Sacco's books to take a look at. You get the reality behind the type of journalism that Sacco does (not to mention other types of journalism). You also see that what is being reported by Sacco is what he's hearing from his sources, and there is some issue as to whether or not those sources are reliable. Even if Neven is making stuff up, this book is a fascinating look into the mind of a tormented and torn people. Well worth a read. 3 1/2 starfish

by Tegan at 3:41 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

"New" Ratings System

In the comments to one of my reviews post, Joe Rice asks why I gave a book that I considered "completely forgetable" 3 starfish. Good question. In fact, while I've been pretty consistent with my ratings so far, they've been all but useless to folks who are trying to figure out what I like and don't like, partially because I tend to not buy books that I don't like, and partially because I'm using 3 starfish as my "neutral" point.

So, after some thought, I figured it's time to revamp my ratings program. I'm sticking with five starfish, but I'm changing the way I give ratings out. And, because I'm changing the ratings, I figured it was time to change the starfish images around a bit so they look a little different from the old ones. I'm not going to go back and re-rate all the old stuff, but maybe this description will give you a better idea of what the older ratings meant, too.

Here's the new ratings, complete with the new images:

  • 5 starfish 5 starfish. Perfect in every way that matters. Exactly what I want. This isn't going to be given out a lot, if ever.
  • 4 1/2 starfish 4 1/2 starfish. Nearly perfect. Deeply satisfying or pleasant. If I give something this rating, then I think just about anyone can enjoy it.
  • 4 starfish 4 starfish. Excellent. Well worth time and money. When I give this rating, I think that most people would like it. This rating is the same as a 4 or 4 1/2 of the old ratings.
  • 3 1/2 starfish 3 1/2 Starfish = Very good. Solid. Worth a look. This is equal to a 4 in the old ratings.
  • 3 starfish 3 Starfish = Good. Recommended to fans of its genre. This is the "standard rating". I will default to this rating, and everything goes up or down from here. In the old ratings, I was using 3 1/2 for this.
  • 2 1/2 starfish 2 1/2 Starfish = Not bad, maybe mediocre: not something I would recommend blindly. This is a not-quite-neutral, not-quite-bad rating that will probably apply to a lot of superhero books. In the old ratings, I was using 3 1/2 for this.
  • 2 starfish 2 Starfish = About average. Nothing special, but not horrid. This will be the rating applied to stuff that I don't think is bad, but aren't my preferred fare. This is my old 3 starfish rating.
  • 1 1/2 starfish 1 1/2 Starfish = A little worse than average. This would be the first of the levels at which I wouldn't recommend a book. At this rating, however, I still feel there were some redeeming factors, like good ideas that were poorly executed. This is my old 2 1/2 starfish rating.
  • 1 starfish 1 Starfish = Not good. Not recommended. Not much else to say.
  • 1/2 starfish 1/2 Starfish = Really bad. Painfully bad. Run Away. This is the "I wish I had the time I spent on this back" rating.
  • No Rating No Starfish = No Rating. I could not judge the work for some reason. Maybe I didn't finish it. Maybe I felt like I wasn't the audience for it at all, and that I'm not qualified to judge it. Maybe there was something about it that bothered me for reasons that I don't think justify giving it a bad rating. This is my escape hatch rating, for when I'm too wimpy to try to define my opinion.

Hopefully this will make my future ratings a little more clear, both to my readers and to myself.

by Tegan at 10:37 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Random Thoughts

Polite Scott presents us with A Happy JLA Easter.

MangaBlog has noticed my Manga reviews. Thanks for the link! I'm getting through the next pile right now, and I'm still debating whether or not to subscribe to Shonen Jump... $2.50 an issue for over 300 pages seems like a good deal. On the other hand, how much of that is story, and how much is hype or ads?

Boing Boing discovers Blokus. Let me tell you about Blokus. We had hundreds of these last summer, and sold out in late October... and when we tried to get more the distributor was sold out. All through Christmas. Every single day in December we would get a person in who desperately needed a copy for Christmas. Every single freakin' day. The new shipments didn't arrive until early February. It was insane.

MetaFilter has a link to a Parent's Guide to Anime. Looks both useful and comprehensive.

Garrett points us to an amazing story about a guy whose brakes went out on the steep Seattle hills, and yet he managed to avoid hitting anyone.

A remarkable case of an identity theft victim getting the last laugh.

I don't want one of these, but they do look cool.

Johnny B posts a scary book meme. I'm not posting it for various reasons, not the least of which is that it reminds me of the time I decided to read "every classic novel that exists" and attempted to read every classic novel on a large list of novels that a high school teacher had given us at the beginning of my sophomore year. I had discovered by accident, earlier, that if I read the novel on my own instead of as part of a class assignment then I was far more likely to enjoy it. (The novel that taught me this was "The Red Badge of Courage", which I read in one sitting during a creative writing class. The girl sitting next to me had a copy she was reading for a class, and I asked if I could look at it. Before I knew it, the class was over and I had just finished the book.) What I didn't realize was that if I was pushing myself to read the books, it was just as bad as if they were assigned to me. I got through a huge number of them, but when I got to "Two Years Before The Mast" I gave up in disgust. It was, in fact, the first book I couldn't finish. But I learned that forcing yourself to read a book is almost as bad as being forced by a teacher to read a book. I also learned that just because I book is considered a "classic" doesn't mean that it's any good.

by Tegan at 10:43 AM Seattle time - Permalink