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

Saturday, August 13, 2005


Want a nice illustration of how background music changes everything? Go here and let it load. Turn up the sound on your computer. Then click on the white rectangle at the bottom. Click it again. And again. Get the picture?

Mathematical Knitting. You know, I really ought to send this link to my boss.

Augie points us to a cartoon about being without internet access.

Augie also points out a quick way to see what stars are over you right now.

No Romeo. Maybe it's something in the water of Massachusetts.

A somewhat fascinating ad that could never be used.

Never put a fake barcode on the front of a CD if you want to get the full price for it. *sigh* I find it sad that any store employee was silly enough to believe the fake barcode was real, but human stupidity is boundless.

-by Tegan at 10:31 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Friday, August 12, 2005


I'm not sure how the topic first came up, but hubby-Eric and I were talking the other day about starting an Oz wikipedia. One just devoted to Oz in all its forms. There would be entries for each character, each book, the various comic book series, the places, the various toys and dolls, the Oz club and its personalities, the Oz conventions, and so on. The problem is, neither Eric nor I have the first clue how to set up a Wiki, nor are we sure we'd want to invest the time and effort into making sure it didn't get defaced, like so many Wikis do, and cleaning up after pranksters.

Still, it would be one heckuva way to get all that information out there.

Which led me to start thinking about the complaint I voiced while reading Wonder Woman awhile ago: As an aside, I have LONG thought that comic books would be very well served by having "update" websites available. For instance: the Wonder Woman update page would have a cast list (who is Jonah? Who is Ferdinand? Who are the other folks there when Diana returns? Who is Lyta? What are the names of the Amazons we see?) and a couple of paragraphs covering the current general storyline. It would be updated the week a new issue comes out with information from the previous issue. The thing is, fans could do this, but if DC wants to get readers interested, they should have something like that available themselves on their website, so everyone would know where to look for it. Maybe as part of the on-line DC Who's Who that I think they should make. Anything that makes their titles easier for a new reader to get into ought to be something they embrace, which naturally means it will never happen.

Ok, so DC is not likely to ever make something so useful, and even if they were to make it, the chances of it getting updated on a regular basis would be low to nonexistent.

But what if it were a Wiki?

Yeah, there are already Wikipedia entries on Aquaman, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and DC Comics, but I'm talking about something slightly different. I'm talking about a Wiki that gets a reader up-to-date on the current titles that are out, not just the characters. So there would be a Wiki entry for Aquaman, but there would also be one for Justice, and another one for, say, New Avengers. And one for Usagi Yojimbo. And one for Amelia Rules. And one for PS238. And one for True Story, Swear to God. And any other title that someone takes the time to enter in as a current book.

Crucial information, like when the last issue came out and when the next issue is due out, along with publisher, price, and order codes could be front and center. Information on current creative teams could point to comic book creator bios (nothing fancy... a list of the creator's other works would do for a start). But the key to making this Wiki different would be a summary of "the story so far", going up to the issue before the one that is currently on the stands (so that people will be inclined to buy the current issue to be completely up-to-date, right?). Characters that might be unfamiliar to a casual reader could be explained, either in the entry itself or in linked entries (like, who the heck is Koryak? Who is Esther? What is Sub-Diego?).

The detail in the Wiki would depend on how rabid the fans are, but there could be some great information even if only comic book bloggers contributed. It might be difficult to maintain, as I've noticed that the Aquaman entry on Wikipedia tends to get vandalized a lot... I'm sure a general comic book wiki would be a target for many pathetic losers who have too much time on their hands. But given a large enough group of people who check it every day to maintain... it could be done.

*sigh* I'd contribute to such a project, but I wouldn't be willing to create it, which makes it a pipe dream. Heck, I even hesitate to post this as a suggestion, since I know I won't create a Wiki. But I am curious to know if anyone else thinks a "Comic Book Wiki" that emcompasses all comic books currently being published (and maybe eventually just all comic books) is a good idea, or if it's already being done and just needs to be promoted, or if it's a stupid idea and I should just shut up and stick to linkblogging.

So, whadya think?

-by Tegan at 9:31 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Flipping Through Previews...

AAAAAUUUGGGGGHHHHH!!!!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 start with the bulk of the book, and then come back and cover the "big four" at the end. Please remember, I'm listing what looks interesting. My actual purchase list is going to be much smaller. The numbers after each title are usually the page number in Previews Magazine, so you can follow along at home.

Let's start with the covers. I'm surprised at how little I'm looking forward to "Infinite Crisis", but then it's not going to involve Aquaman as closely as I'd like it to, so maybe that's the reason I'm not feeling any thrill. This particular cover, with Wonder Woman holding a sword while Superman and Batman dance in the background, just does nothing for me. The back cover has Conan, and because I'm used to Cary Nord's take on the character, I'm not as impressed with this one as I'd like to be. It's a little underwhelming as a presentation piece.

Moving on, let's hit the Splash Page (8-9). At the risk of sounding really negative today, the splash page doesn't have anything on it that interests me. I even looked at it twice just to make sure. Nope, nothing.

Skipping over the top four, let's hit Wizard (185-192). There's a second volume of "The Best of Basic Training", and I still want the first volume! Moving on, Inquest Gamer has a picture of the new Aquaman HeroClix... and this is actually where I first saw it. I'm still drooling.

Into the Featured Items section (194-197)... there's nothing at all that interests me. Wow. That's pretty unusual.

AAA Pop Comics (199) has the fourth issue of The Golden Plates. I've been lukewarm to this series so far. I guess that's what comes from having your own visualizations of childhood reading.

Flipping forward, AiT/Planet Lar (210) gives us a new book in Sunset City, a story of a retiree who can't just sit and wait to die. Also offered again is 1,000 Steps to World Domination by the same creator, Rob Osborne.

Alias (210-218) has a couple of books Eric and I will grab. Lullaby #2 will make the list and might even get a good rating if the crew ever makes it to Oz. We'll also finish off the mini and get Opposite Forces Volume 2 #4.

Next up would be Oz: The Manga (ad on page 225) from Antarctic Press (223-227). This is one of the more impressive covers of the series so far, and I can hardly wait to see what the interiors will look like. Definitely a cool series.

Arcana Studio (228-229), never a publisher to sit still, has a new mini that appears to be right up our alley: Paradox #1. The only question is whether we will buy it as it comes out or wait for a trade.

Yeah, we'll get Simpsons Classics #6 from Bongo (250).

Before they sent me the first issue of Zombie Tales, there is NO WAY I would have ever considered getting the new Boom Studios (250-252) books Zombie Tales: Death Valley #1 &2. But the first Zombie Tales was pretty good, so this is actually tempting.

Ok... Dorothy Gale: Journey to Oz #2 was cancelled awhile ago, and I didn't think we'd see it again. But here it is, from Classics Illustrated Jr (254). I guess we'll order it again and see if it comes this time.

Dork Storm Press (276) brings us PS238 #14. Again, I recommend this one to everyone. Forget Sky High, get this!

Felix The Cat: Buy This Comic #1 has a nice title for a comic book trying to get people to buy it. It's from, guess who? Felix Comics Inc (286).

Next item of note is from IDW Publishing (297-305), and that would be the final issue of Angel: The Curse.

Illusive Productions (306) solicits the reprint of Dorothy #1. Yeah, I think we'll get this. We've been strong supporters of this book so far, and I don't see us stopping now.

Next up is the Kid Friendly Amelia Rules #16 from Renaissance Press (322). This is the finale of the "superheroes" storyline.

How is it that there is a Beowulf trade coming out from Speakeasy Comics (325-337) collecting the first six issues of the book, yet only three issues have come out yet? Whatever.

Thanks to Takuhai, I can follow Tokyopop (341-361) easier. That doesn't mean I want to buy any of them... but at least I have a better idea of what they are about.

I wish I could get TwoMorrows Publishing (371) new book on Jim Aparo. The Brave and the Bold: The Art of Jim Aparo looks like it ought to be in my library.

Zenescope (382-385) appears to be a new player on the comic book scene, and they have two intriguing offerings this month. The first is Grimm Fairy Tales #1, which appears to be going back to the source material, which means it's likely to be fairly gruesome. The second is Jundai #1, which mixes the samurai epic with horror. Tempting... both of them.

That gets me past the regular comics. Nothing in most of the sections... though why would anyone pay $10 for a plush Buffy the Vampire Slayer stake?

On page 551, there's a Creature Comforts Complete First Season DVD which apparently takes the format of the original Creature Comforts and extends it to other aspects of life.

And now it's time to head back to the beginning of the book and hit the big four.

Dark Horse (17-52): I'm not sure I'll be getting this Conan mini, although I'll continue to get the regular book. Dark Horse is pushing their luck with a new Conan mini every other month. I'll definitely get Usagi Yojimbo #88. I might get the Goon 25 Cent Comic, just because it's, well, only a quarter.

Image Comics (129-174): Definitely getting Age of Bronze #21. I only wish poor Eric Shanower could draw/write this faster and make a great living off it. Noble Causes #15 makes the list. I have to get my favorite superhero soap opera. We'll also get Stardust Kid #3. But that's it for Image this month.

Marvel Comics (176): I don't know if we'll be getting Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1, even if it is by Peter David. I don't particularly want to pick up another Marvel book, and I certainly don't want one that's tangled up in a crossover from the first issue. Of course, this makes it a little difficult for Amazing Spider-Man #525, as it's part 3 of the crossover. Maybe we'll skip it this month, and the next two, instead. I don't know. That leaves the next book I'm interested in being Powers #15. That might just be the only thing we get from Marvel this month.

And finally we reach DC Comics, the place where my comic book shopping begins and ends.

Batman (57-65): Still nothing of interest to me. I may end up buying Detective Comics #812 for my friend (which means I'll get to read it) but I wouldn't buy it for myself.

Superman (66-70): Again, nothing for me. I may get Action Comics #832, Superman #222, and possibly even Shazam/Superman: First Thunder #2 for my friend, but nothing for me. If I get the rest, I'll review them.

DC Universe (71-86): Oh, I suppose I'll get
Infinite Crisis #1 and the rest of the mini-series. I hope it doesn't suck too bad. I'll be getting Aquaman #35, of course, and Birds of Prey #87. The Flash #227 might be a pick-up if my friend still wants it by the time it comes out. Other definites include Green Lantern #6, Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #2, Green Arrow #55, JLA #120, JLA #121, JLA: Classified #13, JSA #78, JSA: Classified #4, Justice #2, Outsiders #29, Legion of Super-Heroes #11, Solo #7, Seven Soldiers: Klarion The Witchboy #4, Seven Soliders: Zatanna #4, and Villains United #6. While I kinda want to dump Rann/Thanagar War #6, I'll probably get it since I ordered the rest of the series. I'm a completist, curse me.

Johnny DC/DC Library (87-98): Just Justice League Unlimited #14. That's all.

Wildstorm (99-110): While part of me is mildly interested in Captain Atom: Armageddon #1, I don't think I'm likely to get it.

Vertigo (111-121): Nothing in here for me.

DC Direct (122-128): Cool Green Lantern action figure, but nothing here I can afford to get.

And there it is... all of Previews. I'm finally all the way through. Huzzah. 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? Did I miss any really cool books that you know about and would like to point out? (Yes, that is an open invitation for creators to promote their own books in my blog comments). Do you disagree with something I wrote, and want to correct me? There's the comments, right below. Post something. And, yes, I accept review copies. I'm willing to give almost anything a try.

Note: I've posted a mostly Oz-focused version of this at The Wonderful Blog of Oz.

Previous Flipping Through Previews:

-by Tegan at 7:00 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Rapid Reviews - 10 August 2005 - Part II

Samurai: Heaven & Earth #4: "Lords and Ladies": We are definitely getting near, as Shiro is very close to finding his lost love. The art on this book is great. And this issue is possibly the best so far, in terms of storyline intrigue. A good read. 3 starfish

Noble Causes #12: Another roller coaster ride issue. I'm still not convinced that I know what happened. I may just have to read it again. This one doesn't end on a cliffhanger, at least not a short-term one. Maybe not as good as the last few issues, but still a very strong book. 3 starfish

OZF5 Gale Force One Shot: The first few pages, done in sepia tones, are almost unreadable. The text was just too similar to the colors of the page. Fortunately, that changed as soon as Dorothy got to Oz. Now... this is really different. It's not your normal Oz book by a longshot. You pretty much need to be familiar with the original story to follow some of the action in this one. It's funny, which I think is the goal, and the character designs are very original (why is the lion wearing a kilt?). Take it with a very hefty sense of humor, and it's not too bad. note: hubby-Eric describes this as an Oz-Elseworld. 2 1/2 starfish

True Story, Swear To God #14: "Ni Uno Mas": Oh man. Someone was asking the other day if any comic books had ever made you cry. Well, yeah. A couple. And this is the latest one. I was in tears the moment I saw Lily crying. I just lost it. Her essay was amazing, but seeing her cry, there on the comic book page, broke the dam. She was afraid she was about to lose what she loved most, and I saw it, right there. Wow. Tom, you are amazing. 4 1/2 starfish
And just a note, I really need to get the entire series for my non-comics reading friend who is originally from Puerto Rico. Particularly this latest issue. I think she'd love this. I just wish I could afford to buy another set for her!
And another note: this issue is just about as close as I've ever come to giving a book 5 starfish.

And that's all of this week's comics! Now what am I going to stress about? Oh yeah... Flipping through Previews. Nevermind.

-by Tegan at 8:36 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Happy Birthday Dad!

You don't look a day over 37.

-by Tegan at 7:36 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Random Thoughts

Signs you are losing contact with reality...

Kaja has more on Mary Sue, including this neat essay on the phenom.

I love the cover to PS238 #12, seen here.

Neil Gaiman tells us about getting your name in a book. In a lot of different books. I'd personally like to get into Lemony Snicket. I can just see Sunny saying "Gjovaag".

English names for groups. A destruction of cats, huh? Via MetaFilter.

Idiot jumps from the upper deck during baseball game, apparently to see if the safety net could support him. D'oh!

The Lorax Revisited. Ooh, this one is GREAT. It reminds me a little of the stupidity surrounding so-called academic analysis of The Wizard of Oz. Via Wonkette, of all places.

The Guardian has a drawing by J.K.Rowling that she made for the first book. She's not a bad artist! Via The Leaky Cauldron.

Stuart Hughes tells us about a website where you can record your picture for the media to use if you get blown up by terrorists.

The Museum of Hoaxes talks about Tibetan Dragons.

Making men insecure about their masculinity leads to buying SUVs. Um. Ok.

Mark Evanier talks about Keith Olbermann's anti-smoking sermon, and lets us know where to watch it.

Who is dying for us?

The mother of a fallen soldier takes on Bill "Falafel" O'Reilly. And it wasn't even the mother who is a threat to national security.

Who should get demoted: An army general who, separated from his wife, has an affair with a civilian OR an army general who allows torture to happen under his command? Well, I'll give you a clue. The army has PROMOTED officers involved in torture.

-by Tegan at 11:28 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Rapid Reviews - 10 August 2005 - Part I

How about this, people. Comic book reviews on the day the comics came out! Don't expect this as a norm.

Action #830: "The Great Society": More mind control, but this time not of Superman. I guess I can live with that. This issue ties in with Villains United, as well. I think it also stands ok on its own, which I wasn't expecting. Nice action, nice little chunk of drama, and good references to what just happened. Not bad at all. 3 starfish

Green Arrow #53: "Family Relations": I didn't like this one much at all. From the writing to the artwork, everything was a little poor. The story itself wasn't so bad, but the execution of it just didn't work. Not impressed. 1 1/2 starfish

Rann/Thanagar War #4: "Deadly Harvest": Still more confusing DCU space stuff. I think this will read slightly better as a whole, but as a monthly it's completely forgettable. 1 1/2 starfish

Outsiders #27: "Tick Tock" part two: Was there any point whatsoever to having Batman show up in this issue? Any? For that matter, was there any sort of resolution that wouldn't have happened anyway? Was there any point to this story? 2 starfish

JLA #117: "Crisis of Conscience" Part three: I want to know what is happening with J'onn. The rest of the League doesn't interest me so much, but we only got the start of J'onn's problems in this one. Still, it's better than most of the superhero books I've read today. 2 1/2 starfish

Villains United #4: "A Weapon To Unify": Ah, things fall apart... the center cannot hold. I think I forgot the key aspect of villains. They just don't trust each other. So the storyline is clicking a little more into place for me. I didn't know about Firestorm's disappearance, except for a throwaway line in the JLA issue, so that was also a surprise. I'm still not sure what to make of this... but I'm liking it a little better than the last issue. 2 1/2 starfish

Shanna the She Devil #7: "The Killing Season" Chapter Seven: That's it?!????? That's all???!??!??!????? Sheesh, what a rip-off. This whole mini could've been told in two issues and been far more interesting. Then they could have given us a third issue with an actual resolution. You know, the thing that STORIES have? This was just a sad excuse for Cho to draw pretty girls and dinosaurs, and I'm really sorry I bought it. 1 starfish

Seven Soldiers: Zatanna #3: "Three Days of the Dead": Sir Justin's story runs smack into Zatanna's, and I couldn't be happier. At least this thing is beginning to pull together. True, it doesn't make a lot of sense right now, but it's pulling together. I have my doubts that this one will make any sense even read as one full story, by the way. Still... I'm following it well enough. 2 1/2 starfish

Still to review: Samurai: Heaven & Earth #4, Noble Causes #12, OZF5 Gale Force One Shot, and True Story, Swear To God #14. Also, G.I.Spy from Boom! Studios, which will hit the shelves next week and was sent to me to review for you. And... I'm still working on my Flipping Through Previews post. It'll be done soonish, I hope.

-by Tegan at 5:48 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Aquaman Website

It looks like my Aquaman Website has been linked to from the 40 Year Old Virgin website. You have to click on "Behind the Scenes" then "Links", but sure enough, my site shows up there.

This would no doubt be more impressive if there weren't so many links on that page, but at least I made the first page of links. I think I need to update the Aquaman website. Many thanks to Joe for pointing out the link to me.

-by Tegan at 10:18 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Oh man, I haven't reviewed this show in so long, I've almost forgotten what it's about...

In episode five, we get a visit from Bob Saget and more of Eric's desperation as he tries to convince James Cameron that Vince is right for the role of Aquaman. This one builds up the tension nicely, and the ending, with all of Eric's plans crashing down around him, works very well.

In episode six, as Eric continues to try to get a screening of Vince's latest movie for Cameron, the other guys try to earn money and Vince gets a hilarious part in a foreign commercial. I really don't like Turtle and Johnny Drama. They are the comic relief, and they are boring. However, there wouldn't be much of a show without them. The Eric and Ari Gold thing can only go so far, and Vince himself is just a magnet for the rest of the group to hang around.

In episode seven, the whole gang goes to Sundance for the screening of Vince's latest film. Cameron goes to see it as well, but leaves after only a few minutes. The few minutes was enough, Vince gets the part as Aquaman. I think I mostly enjoy this show, but there is so much that just makes me wince. Johnny Drama in particular is just too stupid to believe. I was a little surprised, but happy, to see James Cameron playing himself in this one.

In episode eight, the money finally rolls in for the role of Aquaman, and the boys start to relax with a list of possible women to play Aquagirl (??!?). Much to the worry of Turtle and Drama, the list includes Mandy Moore (playing herself) who had a "thing" with Vince when they worked on another movie together. The lines between reality and the fiction of this show blur all the more with the inclusion of the real Mandy Moore as Vince's ex-that-he-never-got-over. We learn that Vince proposed to Mandy, and by the end of the episode it appears she won't be playing opposite Vince.

But in episode nine, Mandy is back in as the crew goes to Comicon to announce the new Aquaman. Drama cashes in on Comicon with his role in the series Viking Quest, and is much more at home with the nerds than the other guys. I didn't find it to be a convincing Comicon, as it wasn't nearly crowded or chaotic enough, but the effort was appreciated.

Vince and Mandy announce Aquaman.

RJ Spencer, based no doubt on Harry Knowles (who was apparently offended that they didn't have him play himself), worked in the context. I did note a small problem during Vince's interview with RJ... Vince talks about not loving Aquaman until Ramona Fradon came on the book... but Fradon started to do Aquaman in 1951. She was done with the book long before Vince was born. Still, it was a really sharp answer to a really dumb question, even if they could've phrased Vince's answer a bit better. The U2 bits seemed tacked on to me, like they just needed to fill some time or something.

Vince and Mandy in a CGI test.

And lastly, in episode ten we get more of Cameron and Moore as the pre-production begins on Aquaman. Vince and Mandy get hauled into the air on winches, and we hear Cameron talking about Poseidonis in 3D and Storm the seahorse. Oh, rock on! I still have my doubts that a live-action Aquaman is possible, even with today's technology, but this show is doing everything right to make it realistic enough to accept as the show-biz side of things. All in all, not a bad episode.

James Cameron talks with Eric about Poseidonis and Storm.

Well, overall, not a bad few episodes. The Aquaman action certainly heats up in the most recent two episodes, as does the romantic twists and turns. With a few more episodes left in the season, maybe this movie will actually get made in Vince's universe.

-by Tegan at 7:29 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Rapid Reviews - Takuhai

First up, the print version. The first copy of Tokyopop's free quarterly manga sampler Takuhai arrived on my doorstep the other day. It features a number of sample stories, some a little more complete than others. The biggest problem I had with the book was that the manga pages do not take up an entire page. There's a large, mostly blank, space around each page of manga with notes in it. This seriously distracts from the work. In addition, I couldn't help but think the manga pages would have all improved if they were a little larger... and it's not like they couldn't have spared the room on the page. I have to consider this book to have a fairly poor layout.

Now, the Previews themselves:
  • Bizenghast: I do believe that the entire first chapter of this was in the July 2005 on-line version of Takuhai, and although I was interested, the character designs bothered me a little. There is nothing in these pages that I haven't already read... only the notes on the sides which are moderately informative but sometimes cover up part of the artwork. The notes are intrusive enough that I had some trouble concentrating on the manga, even though I'd already read it. In any case, my opinion of Bizenghast didn't change with this reading. I'd like to see it in the library, but I'm still not inclined to buy it.

    After Bizenghast, there are a number of short articles, some of which cover things of interest (like the coverage of Ai Yazawa and the creation of Paradise Kiss). But after flipping through pages and pages of articles, I began to wonder if there was any more actual manga in the book. Luckily there was:

  • Sokora Refugees: Very short preview of this one, which is again one of the ones in the July on-line Takuhai. This one has different pages, though, and the side notes talk a bit about "fan service", although they don't explicitly define it. Again, it looks ok, but I'd wait for a library copy on this one.
  • MBQ: Finally a new one! Not a very good new one, but a new one nonetheless. This is a standard "woe is me" comic, like so many self-reflecting indie comics that bore me to tears. With only five pages in the preview, there wasn't a lot to judge it by, but what I saw was a boring rant against comic books. Whine whine whine. I'm not interested.
  • Van Von Hunter: Another on-line repeat. Still not interested, even with the better explanations of it.
  • I Luv Halloween: This is MUCH better now that I can read it. I think it went from "not interested" to a "maybe check it out from the library".

    At this point I reached the center point of the book and got to start over from the "back" of the book.

  • Legal Drug: Another new one. This one is by CLAMP, the group that did Cardcaptor Sakura. It's got pretty boys with ESP. I wouldn't mind reading it, but it would definitely be out of the library.
  • Tramps Like Us: A businesswoman takes in a homeless boy and makes him her pet. This one is just bizarre. Really bizarre. I think it qualifies as a not interested.
  • Lagoon Engine: Cute kids fighting demons. Looks like half the manga in Shonen Jump, only cute-i-fied. Not interested.
  • Sakura Taisen: Odd, but promising. The story involves an alternate timeline in which demon hordes invaded and the world has been fighting them off. I think this one would qualify as another library check it out book.

And that's it for the print version. Lots of articles, almost enough to make up for the deficiencies in the presentation of the manga itself. The explanations of the stories aren't too bad, either, although a few of them could have used a bit more set-up.

And now, the on-line version! This is the August 2005 samples. I reviewed the July 2005 Takuhai online here.

  • A Midnight Opera, V1Ch1: An apparently immortal goth rock star. I'm inclined to see where this one goes, but it is very intriguing. I'd call it another library issue.
  • Bizenghast, V1Ch2: The plot thickens! I'm enjoying this one, actually. It's not bad once you get used to the artwork. I still would call this a library issue, but I'm more inclined to check it out now than I was after reading the first chapter.
  • Dramacon, V1Ch2: Again, an EXCELLENT story. This one is a love story, and a convention story as well. I want to read more. This is great.
  • I Luv Halloween, V1Ch2: Strange, ugly, and depressing. No thanks.
  • Juror 13, V1Ch2: The mystery deepens from last month's installment. I'm not sure what's happening, but it doesn't look good for the "hero" of the piece. This is still on my library list.
  • MBQ, V1Ch1: A bit different than the self-referencing whine that shows up in the print version. I'm still not interested, but at least it's different.
  • Off*Beat, V1Ch1: This one is almost impossible to read due to the resolution. I thought my eyes were still pretty good, but I can barely read this one at all. I'd have an opinion if I had been able to understand it. But I couldn't. No rating.
  • Princess Ai, V2Ch2: Still not interested.
  • Psy-Comm, V1Ch2: Not bad. Not thrilling, but this chapter makes more sense than the first in a lot of ways. Still counts as a library check-out, though.
  • Shutterbox, V3Ch1: Very odd, and not in a bad way. This chapter turned out to be a long lesson on what "Goth" means. Intriguing. Another case where I'm not sure if I want to read it.
  • Sokora Refugees, V1Ch2: This appears to be missing something between the first chapter and the second, which makes it a bit confusing. In addition, this is another one that suffers from the low resolution. I'm still mildly interested, but not if there isn't something missing that explains things a bit better.
  • Sorcerers & Secretaries, V1Ch2: I'm liking this one more and more. It's a typical romance comic on one level, and much more on another level. It's not quite as compelling to me as DramaCon, but it's coming closer. This is one I wouldn't mind getting.
  • Van Von Hunter, V1Ch2: Definitely comedy. Nodwick does it better. Not interested.
  • War on Flesh, V1Ch2: Still zombie horror. Still not interested.

If you are signed in you can read the previous month's edition of each book, which was needed in some cases to remind me of what was happening. I cannot argue about the price of Takuhai, being completely free to the reader in both forms.

Between the print and on-line version there were 18 samples, one of which was completely unreadable to me thanks to the low resolution of the scans (Off*Beat). Of the seventeen I could read, two of them (DramaCon and Sorcerers & Secretaries) stand out enough that I would probably buy them. Another five made the "not interested" list, and the remainder I would like to see more of before making a decision.

-by Tegan at 2:05 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Random Thoughts

Statler & Waldorf From The Balcony. This time they tackle Dukes of Hazzard. With guest appearance by the Swedish Chef.

Speaking of the muppets, there's a full review of The Muppet Show, Season One DVD set on Muppet Central. There are some problems... five episodes were edited because of music licensing problems. What are the odds that somebody digitizes those missing bits from old VHS copies so people can pirate them anyway?

Crisis/Boring Change tells us about crossovers. I have a similar rant that I originally wrote in 1998 up on my blog, in which I compare crossovers to sandwiches.

The Beat has Wizard World photos.

A Mary Sue character is also know as a "self-insertion" character, where the author writes him or herself into an existing property at the same level of skill and importance (or more) than the heroes of the show. Usually in fanfic, it sometimes slips through to professionally published novels. And here's a piece that describes the phenomena in a very amusing matter. Via the Girl Genius Mailing List.

Kevin Melrose points us to some movie posters for The Brothers Grimm. I have to admit, I'm actually kind of curious about this movie.

The makers of the Da Vinci Code movie are considering changing a few things, so as not to offend. *sigh* Why are Catholics so threatened by this book? It's not even a great book, just a fun little read.

I checked out V For Vendetta from the library, and read it over the weekend. I'm not going to review it here (I need to have a few things I just enjoy), but it did cause me to think. Johnny B then directed me to an annotations website which had a couple of things I didn't know about on it. JB is going to review it, so watch his blog.

What happens when someone writes up Cliffs Notes on a current song? Via bookslut.

Christopher Reeve's widow has lung cancer.

Discovery is home, safe.

Brat Camp doesn't appear to work: example 1, example 2. Via Augie, as usual.

What is Hotlinking, and why is it bad, and how can I stop it?

Very strange, but not illegal. Why there is interest in the adopted children of a high profile dude in politics.

Still on my review list: Entourage and Takuhai. I'm nearly caught up! And new comics aren't out until... oh. Tomorrow. Son of a fuzzy elephant! It's neverending.

-by Tegan at 7:56 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Monday, August 08, 2005

Rapid Reviews - Smoke and Guns

This one reminds me of the Couriers books. Lots of action, lots of violence, and absolutely nothing that really appeals to me. Ok... two things that saved this book from a completely negative review. One is the artwork. Even death looks good when drawn by Fabio Moon. It's not perfect art, and there are definitely bits of the story where I lose the thread, but overall it's excellent. The other is late in the book there's a suggestion of a deeper plot going on, one that I'm still unsure of, but enough to make this more than just a gang war with cigarettes. I wanted more of that extra plot, though, and didn't get it. And I can't tell if there will ever be any follow-up to this, either. So, to sum up: not my cuppa, nice art anyway. 2 starfish

-by Tegan at 10:46 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Rapid Review - Shojo Beat

After trying out Shonen Jump, I found myself inclined to subscribe so I could get more of Hikaru No Go. I did so, and also took advantage of a neat offer to get Shojo Beat as well.

I've now gotten the first two issues of Shojo Beat, and I have to admit that I'm... well, less than impressed.

The first issue had a massive focus on a story Nana which had a main character that I REALLY didn't like. She's a teenager busy having an affair with a married man, and I'm supposed to feel sympathy for her? I don't think so. I just got the impression that she was a complete idiot and wished the story would end. I kept reading in the hopes that she would get what was coming to her, but it just dragged on and on. To my surprise, the second issue had a completely different Nana, I think. This one wasn't fantasic, but at least it was better than the first issue. Apparently the two will meet up, and I hope the second one kicks the first one's butt.

Absolute Boyfriend was the second story in the first issue, and I liked it mostly. What girl wouldn't want their own personal boyfriend, responsive to their every need? Ok, I suppose I have a few issues with how it's presented, but it isn't too bad.

The third story is Godchild, and has some potential. It feels like this is strangely off, though. Like the story is trying too hard to be a period piece at times. I can't put my finger on what's bothering me about it, so maybe it's just me.

The fourth story is Kaze Hikaru, and I was thinking this would be the one I'm most likely to enjoy, as it's a samurai era piece. But it didn't excite me at all. The second issue had a slightly more interesting story, but if it were a book, I wouldn't be inclined to buy it.

The fifth story is terribly cute and was an immediate turn-off because of it. Baby & Me tells of a young boy whose mother dies, and he gets put in charge of the baby. The first issue is so sweet and cute that the contrast between it and the previous story made it nearly impossible to read. Coming back to it later, it read better, but it's still not my kind of tale.

The last story, Crimson Hero, is another one that I felt like I should be interested in but found hard to enjoy. The set-up is so unfair I wanted to smack someone. The second issue made for some promising future adventure, but I still didn't find it fantastic.

Included in the first issue was a mini-comic sneak peak of Ultra Maniac, including a CD with the first episode of the Anime based on it. It was, by a decent margin, the best thing in the book. I was a little depressed it wasn't also in the second issue.

So, overall I'm luke warm about the whole thing. Stories are ok. Advertising is awful, worse than Shonen Jump by a bit. Articles aren't too bad, but there's a focus on fashion, which just doesn't appeal to me. I've got a subscription, so I'll continue to read it until it runs out, but it needs to improve a bit or I won't re-up once it comes due. 2 starfish

-by Tegan at 6:33 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Random Thoughts

Hugo winners. Via FilkerTom.

Warner Bros has promised to fix a major error spotted by fans in the new Harry Potter movie. A promotional picture has Harry in front of a gravestone, but the names and dates on the tombstone are incorrect. In particular, Voldemort's dad has Voldemort's name. Oops.

Homebuying Advice from MetaFilter. And help on stopping new-style pop-ups from opening on Firefox. Via Various and Sundry.

How about legal movie downloads, instead of renting? I think the price point is too high, but maybe it will come down.

Remote Controlled Humans.

The Comic Treadmill is giving everyone a free trip around the world.

Pal Dorian (can I call him that?) finds "an illustration ... that nicely summarizes my distaste for the undergrounds." I agree completely.

Wizard World Chicago Photos: Day 0, Day 1, and Day 2. Comic Book Resources news index for the con.

The Dorothy folks tell us about Wizard World.

Speaking of the Dorothy folks, they made the cover to The Baum Bugle:

And there's a nice long article inside about them. Six full pages. There's more information about this issue of The Baum Bugle at The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Website.

Polite Dissent gives us an interesting sign.

Trash Heap has some links... including one to My Grandmother's Funeral, which I'm hearing a lot of good about.

Neil linked to some fascinating pavement artwork. I also like the bad tattoos using non-English characters.

-by Tegan at 7:49 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Politics Blogging

This post is all political. You've been warned.

First topic: Stem Cells.

Ok, so anti-abortion folks are screaming about stem cell research because they seem to think that in order to do any research whatsoever with stem cells, millions of embryos must be harvested. This is wrong. Plain and simple, those folks are idiots.

It takes ONE embryo to establish a stem cell line. Once a stem cell line is established, there is no need for any further cells. It divides on its own and provides enough material for scientists to conduct all their research. Unless the line is somehow contaminated, it can go on being used in a lab forever. And, while multiple lines are needed, the need doesn't even add up to "hundreds", much less "millions".

But what really burns me up is that the same people who are horrified that one embryo might possibly be destroyed for the sake of research routinely approve of embryos being destroyed during fertility treatments, and just as many being "discarded" because they aren't needed anymore. If all the embryos that have already been destroyed because they were no longer needed for fertility treatments had instead become stem cell lines, there would be plenty of stem cell lines for scientists to work on for the next few generations, or until a better method is discovered. And that's just the embryos that weren't needed, that were "discarded".

Even successful fertility treatments involve the destruction of multiple embryos. If you are truly anti-abortion and believe that life begins at conception, then you should also be anti-fertility treatments. But I've yet to see anti-abortion protesters outside a fertility clinic demanding that treatments be stopped because embryos are destroyed during the process. Apparently the possibility of one child being born is worth the "death" of multiple embryos... but the "death" of one embryo is NOT worth the possible benefits to millions of people who are suffering from diseases that stem cell research might be able to cure.

Until I see folks who condemn stem cell research condemning fertility treatments just as loudly and angrily, I will consider anti-stem cell protesters to be ignorant and hateful scumbags who are protesting because they are too stupid to do their research.

And if there are any people who are protesting both: good on them. I disagree with 'em, but at least they aren't hypocrites.

Second topic: Intelligent Design

I have no problem with "intelligent design". In fact, I believe in a form of the idea myself. And I also have no problem with children being taught "intelligent design". In fact, I strongly encourage parents to make sure their children get taught whatever form of "intelligent design" they most believe in... in church, where it belongs. As ID has no basis in science, and doesn't use any part of the scientific method, it doesn't belong in a science class.

I saw an absolutely ludicrous letter in the Seattle Times that stated, in an attempt to discredit evolution, that "evolutionary theory has always adapted to survive when evidence seemed to go against it." WHICH IS THE WHOLE POINT OF THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD. It's very clear to me that the letter writer either never took a science class, or never bothered to understand what he was being taught. When theories are disproven, then new aspects or new theories are proposed, and the whole concept changes to adapt to the facts on the ground.

Intelligent Design is based in faith, and therefore has no facts on the ground to help prove or disprove it, or to alter it into a better "theory". It is not at all scientific, and should never be taught alongside science. I have no problem with it being given the same standing as science, but that's a job for the PARENTS to do, based entirely on their own belief system. It is not something that any school should be required to teach. It is a job for the church of the parents' choice, or the parents themselves.

Forcing schools to teach ID is NOT "exposing children to different ideas", it is establishing a religion within the classroom by word of law... something that is expressly forbidden in the United States Constitution. In other words: It's illegal. There are appropriate forums to teach children about "intelligent design". Public schools are not one of them.

Last topic: Iraq

I could harp all day about how that traitor in the White House lied us into the war, but that won't stop the war. Unsurprisingly, more and more people are finally waking up to the fact that the neo-cons lied, and sometimes it even looks like Republicans might take back their party from the rethuglicans who are currently in control. But, while impeaching the traitor and putting him and all his cronies in prison where they should rot for the rest of their lives would be a good first step to getting us out of Iraq, it's not going to happen soon. Things are becoming worse and worse in Iraq, and someone should take immediate action to fix the problems that incompetent leadership has caused.

Number one: kick every money-grubbing US company out of Iraq and give the jobs to Iraqis instead of American "contractors". Iraqis are smart and highly trained people who deserve a chance to rebuild their own country. But the money we are sending to Iraq is going right into the pockets of our president's corporate friends, and the Iraqis are seeing only a tiny portion of it going to actually help them. Unemployment is rampant, causing further strife and giving the "insurgents" plenty of recruits.

Number two: open up all the prisons to the International Red Cross, and make absolutely sure every single prisoner is being treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. If abuse is discovered, punish the perpetrators, their superior officers, and on up the line. Demote anyone in the chain of command who was involved in abuse, even if it was just to turn a blind eye to it. We're supposed to be better than that. Torture DOES NOT WORK. It should never be used by Americans, or any civilized people.

Number three: decide on the criteria for the withdrawal of the troops, then advertise the heck out of it. I don't think a timetable is worth anything in this case, but telling the Iraqis that, say, "when there are x number of Iraqi police who pass some sort of test and the Iraqi consitution is approved by the majority and x percent of the infrastructure is rebuilt and protected, then we'll pull out x percent of our troops" might help. Then, of course, stick with the promise. Sadly, the Iraqis have absolutely no reason to trust our leaders at the moment, but if we start to make small goals and keep them, maybe we'll eventually re-earn some trust.

Number four: apologize. We, as a nation, committed a crime by invading Iraq. While we got rid of Saddam, we have also committed terrible atrocities - perhaps more than Saddam would have done in the same period of time. We've killed and tortured innocents. We've turned Iraq into a training ground for terrorists. The toll on the population of Iraq has been brutal, and it was also completely unnecessary. There were no "weapons of mass destruction". There were never any. Bush and his buddies LIED. As a country, we owe Iraq an apology, and we owe it to the people of Iraq to work as hard as possible to get them back to where they were before we invaded. And perhaps if we could drop our arrogant facade for awhile and admit we were had by a group of scam artists from Texas, we might retrieve some of the sympathy from the rest of the world that we are going to desperatately need as the battle against terrorism continues.

There are many other things we can do, and I'm sure my ideas aren't the best ones out there. But I'm seeing lots of criticism and very little suggestions, so this is my two cents worth on the suggestion side of things. I'm sick of seeing my country ruined by corruption, greed, and arrogance. I only pray that the majority of the people wake up to the utter devastation the Texan traitor has caused and we can get rid of him and his minions before they completely destroy our country.


-by Tegan at 4:11 PM Seattle time - Permalink