Saturday, February 11, 2006

50 State Quarters

I got the 2006 State Quarters set, and it's time to comment on them...

Nevada: "The Silver State", 1864. Horses, plants, mountains, and a sunrise (or is that a sunset). Not too bad. Slightly crowded, but ok. Drop the plants and one of the horses and I'd like it a lot more.

Nebraska: "Chimney Rock", 1867. The natural wonder, with a covered wagon in the bottom left. Nice and simple. The rays of the sun are a bit much, but it's ok. Better than most.

Colorado: "Colorful Colorado", 1876. Um. It's a rock. With some trees. Totally unremarkable. Totally forgettable.

North Dakota: 1889. A couple of bison with a sun (with those rays hanging out) behind them. It's ok. There seems to be a tendency to want to fill the entire space of the coin, instead of choosing one iconic image regarding the state and using that. This one might have been better without the background details.

South Dakota: 1889. Mount Rushmore, grain along the sides, and a bird. If they'd just gone with Mount Rushmore, and resisted the temptation to add the others, it would have been fine. Add the other bits, and it's too crowded. Sad.

Man, I just know the Washington quarter is going to be the sucky one with the apple, and not one of the others that are cool. Too many other states seem to be going the "let's throw as many images in to satisfy everyone in the state" route for Washington state to not pathetically follow their lead.

-by Tegan at 8:45 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Friday, February 10, 2006

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. Wolverine Cover, not horrid, but just more typical Wolvie. Back cover, Checkmate, completely forgettable. Overall, not good covers.

Moving on, let's hit the Splash Page (8-9). The story about "The 26" was touching. It almost makes me want to buy the book. The Tron story looks... depressing. Anytime my childhood makes the nostalgia bins I feel older and older. Nothing else really catches my eye.

It's that time again! It's Free Comic Book Day time! May 6th 2006 is the day in question, and this Previews lists the books. Can DC get any more boring with their FCBD choices? A reprint of a recent book? Gimme a break, DC! Once again, I'll be paying my store for my FCBD comics and hopefully will get all of them.

Skipping over the big four, let's hit the regular comics section. Starting with the Featured Items (200-203), the cover of Superior Showcase #1 attracted my eye, but only because I thought it might be a really stylized Aquaman. Uh, no. But Adventures In Oz looks REALLY good. I think my husband Eric might have all of the stories, but he's gonna want this anyway, and I think he should get it.

Antarctic Press (215-218) has Alice In Wonderland #3, which we'll be getting for sure.

We'll also be getting Mouse Guard #2 from Archaia Studios Press (217-218). I would have preferred to read the first issue before ordering the second, but the on-line previews were good enough that getting this is a no-brainer.

Banana Tale Press (236) has Banana Tails: Tales & Activities One-Shot for the kid in your life.

Skipping merrily ahead... Dork Storm Press (274) presents us with Nodwick #32. Definitely looking forward to it.

Ok. Moving on... Evil Twin Comics (278) has yet another issue of Action Philosophers. This series has been consistently fun and even a bit educational, so go grab it. Each issue stands alone, so don't worry about having to read the rest. You'll want to, but don't worry about it yet.

Flipping some more, passing some stuff that I don't feel like commenting on... Ah! Here's IDW Publishing (287-293). I would like to get the Angel Spotlight books, but I won't be swinging for them. Nor will I be getting any of the other books at this point, sadly. It's just too much at $4 a pop to get four different titles. I will be getting Fallen Angel #5 and we'll be getting Adventures in Oz. Hopefully we'll get the book in time to take it down to the Oz convention this summer and get it signed.

Illusive Productions (294) is soliciting Dorothy #7, speaking of Oz. Definitely a must-get book.

This month, Moonstone Books (296-299) is putting out Buckaroo Banzai, and a small part of me really wants to check this one out. Very tempting.

Narwain Publishing (298-302) has an intriguing looking book called Albert that appears to be about Albert Einstein, sort of. Also from Narwain is a book called Bluff about the dog of a family who wins the lottery. Hmmm. Interesting ideas, but are the books any good?

Once again, Brian Wood and Oni Press (306-307) will be getting my money when I buy Local #5. Has anyone been getting Polly & The Pirates from Oni, and is it as good as it looks?

Superverse Productions (320-321) has a book called Zoom Suit which is described as "The Greatest American Hero meets Cinderella" Hmmm. I went to their website, but couldn't find any simple previews, just a bunch of animated stuff, so I don't know if the artwork is any good.

And that gets me through the main comic book section. Huzzah. Nothing at all in the back of the book, so zip... back to the front section and the four big companies.

Dark Horse (21-56). Lots of Star Wars books to start out. I've been reading Empire because a friend has been picking it up. I think Rebellion is the heir to that book. Well, I'll be getting Conan, and probably Conan: Book of Thoth as well. I might as well face it, I'm addicted. And, of course, I'll be getting Usagi Yojimbo also. If I had to cut down to two monthly books, Usagi would probably be one that I'd still get.

Image Comics (133-175). Noble Causes makes the list. And another issue of Age of Bronze! Yes! And I guess we'll be getting Truth, Justin and the American Way as well, although the art still doesn't appeal to me at all.

Marvel Comics (177). We might get Squadron Supreme #2. I think we ordered the first one. And we'll get Powers as usual.

And finally, to the big one. The one we get the most from consistently. DC Comics.

Batman (61-70): Still no interest in any of them, despite the One Year Later.

Superman (71-77): Again, no interest in any of the books.

DC Universe (78-101): Ah, here we go. Starting with Infinite Crisis #7, which we'll get... yeah. We might get Villains United: Infinite Crisis Special, but we aren't sure.

Aquaman #41. Gee. I don't know.

Other books we'll get: Birds of Prey #93, Green Lantern #11, Ion #1, Amazing Adventures of the JLA, Justice #5, JLA: Classified #20, JLA: Classified #21, JSA #84, JSA Classified #11, and Solo #10.

Johnny DC/DC Library/CMX (102-108): Just Justice League Unlimited #20. Although I might end up getting Teen Titans Go! #30 because Aqualad makes an appearance.

Wildstorm (109-117): Nothing this month.

Vertigo (118-125): Nothing this month.

DC Direct (126-132): Ah. Whew. Nothing this month. Although there's an Aquaman in those pages, it's a previously released figure.

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? 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 4:06 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Paul Norris in Fremont Nebraska Today

From the Fremont Tribune:
The public is invited to a reception in Norris' honor from 4-7 p.m. Friday in Kimmel Gallery at Eighth and Irving streets. An exhibit of his art called, "A Tribute to Paul Norris," will be on display through Feb. 24.
If anyone can get to the reception and would like to write up a little report for the Aquaman website, please contact me. And if you can go, please say "thank you" to Paul Norris for all the Aquaman fans out there.

-by Tegan at 7:06 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Various Thoughts

Johnny B is giving away a complete set of Banana Sunday. Go, enter... read. I ordered the trade based on good reviews, so I won't be entering in order to give everyone else a better chance.

The Dorothy folks have updated their website. Go, check it out. They even have a forum.

Polite Scott has created some X-Men Valentines.

Colleen cat ate her computer.

Way cool environmental news from BC. In short, everybody sat down and hammered out an agreement that would help everybody.

More on Cthulego Rises. I just want to point out that the Doctor and Rose are in the scene with the TARDIS.

Fascinating story on Boing Boing about the last pre-Neolithic tribe. Read the article about them. I don't know about you, but I was totally drawn into the story.

-by Tegan at 7:42 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Rapid Reviews - 1 February 2006 - Part II

Green Lantern #8: "A Perfect Life" chapter 2: Ollie figures out that his life is too perfect and breaks free first. Interesting. Ollie has a good sense of himself, and this seems to confirm it all. Not a bad issue. Better than the last issue suggested it would be. 2 1/2 starfish

Legion of Super-Heroes #14: This is both a solid conclusion to the war storyline, and a good start on another storyline. I don't know if we'll be getting the next issue, but it's been a fun run. 3 starfish

JSA: Classified #8: "The Spear and the Dragon" Part One: Ah... the spear of destiny. Not much to say about it. The Flash and Wildcat, World's Finest. 2 1/2 starfish

Justice League Unlimited #18: "Fare 48": Ok. I REALLY like Space Cabby now. This is just great. This story is wonderful from start to finish. I generally don't like cosmic DC, but this version of the character is so good that I love it. Go get this one. 4 starfish

-by Tegan at 3:42 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Review Copy Reviews

Jeremiah Harm: Pure out and out violent fun. If you like Lobo, you will like this. If you don't... you probably won't. I'm not much of a Lobo fan, but I actually somewhat enjoyed this one. Check it out if you can. 2 1/2 starfish
Boom! Studios: out this week.

A Trip To Rundberg: This one violated one of the first rules of first-person narration. Unfortunately, it would spoil the story to complain about it more, so don't read the next bit unless you don't plan on reading this book: (spoilers)(end spoilers) Ahem. Anyway, this was another zombie book, and I've already mentioned a few times that I don't really like zombie stories. This one started out solidly, but I hated the ending and overall just wasn't that interested in the book. The artwork was pretty good, but the subject matter and the finale left me irritated. 2 starfish
Frequency Press.

-by Tegan at 12:45 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

There's Still No Such Website!

Once again, Mark Evanier has put up another head-scratching and rousing edition of "There's No Such Website". Laura got it in three, and I'm ashamed to say that I went through the whole lot before finding the bogus site.

-by Eric at 10:04 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Origin of One of the Three Extra Images Found

NeanderNews has found the origin of one of the three extra images, and it isn't even supposedly Muhammad. It's not a photoshop job, and it's not Muhammad, but it's been used by Danish Imams as an example of how the Danish hate them.

Pure misrepresentation by the Imams in an attempt to inflame emotions.

There are lots of victims here. The Muslims who were insulted. The Danes who have nothing to do with the original cartoons. And, yes, even the original cartoonists who have nothing to do with the three extra images. Now we can add French Pig-Caller Jacques Barrot to that list. As Elayne said, who gains?

Thanks to The Comics Reporter for finding the link to the extra image origin page.

-by Tegan at 7:52 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Rapid Reviews - 1 February 2006 - Part I

Might as well get started on last week's reviews...

Outsiders #33: "Deep Impact": In lots of spots, this story simply didn't make any sense. The ending was completely odd. The rest of the story was somewhat clever, but a little too convoluted. 2 starfish

Detective Comics #816: "Victims": Something about the art really appealed to me in this issue. The story was fairly standard, but the art just made this book. This one gets half a starfish more just for the art. 3 starfish

Aquaman #39: "The End Has No End": Very disjointed story. I had some nits, which I posted about on other forums, but I was overall satisfied with the way it left everything open. We will see Arthur Curry again. There are some mysteries left to solve. How does Mera go from the surface back to Atlantis? (this wouldn't have anything to do with the destruction of magic, now, would it?) What is happening with Aquaman's mystical hand? Was that seahorse thing foreshadowing? What's going to happen to Lorena? Did Manta survive? We know that Busiek asked Arcudi to put a few things into this issue... but we have NO idea what bits were added by request. I'm definitely eager to see where the mythos of Aquaman goes from here. 3 starfish

-by Tegan at 7:48 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Paul Norris Sighting

Paul Norris
The Omaha World-Herald has an interview with Aquaman creator Paul Norris, in which he answers a few softball questions about Aquaman.
Q. DC Comics commissioned you to create "Aquaman" after you went looking for work in New York in 1941. How did you come up with what the submerged superhero would look like?

A. I made a lot of sketches just from my head. I decided to color him green and orange, and the editors really liked that. He's worn green and orange almost the whole time he's been around, and I still get paid royalties for every time they use those colors with him.

Q. "Aquaman" is still running and has a cult following. How long did you draw him?

A. Only for a short time. About a year. I signed a contract with a newspaper company to draw a comic strip for them. I had a good lawyer who looked over the papers, but we missed one thing. The contract said I had to work exclusively for the paper, so I had to stop drawing "Aquaman."

I never could never have imagined the comic would have run so long. To be still appearing past the year 2000? It's incredible.

Q. Aquaman seems to be gaining popularity. Aside from the comic book, he's appeared on the WB's "Smallville" and has been mentioned on "Seinfeld," "The Simpsons" and many other shows. The WB is even making a "Smallville" spin-off about Aquaman. How do you feel about that and the way he's being portrayed?

A. I think it's great. I love to see him showing up more and more. For the most part, he's been portrayed pretty well. Some of the comic book writers have made him a little too rough and violent for me.

Q. Aquaman has some unusual powers. He can breathe underwater and communicate with other creatures through mental telepathy. Have you ever wanted to have superhuman powers?

A. Well, some of them would be nice to have, but I guess I've really never thought about it.

I didn't deal with superheroes very much. I liked the science-fiction comic strips better. My favorite by far was "Brick Bradford." He could go back or forward in time. There were no limits with him. He could go back and fix historical events, so they'd turn out the way they should have.
As previously mentioned on the Aquaman website, Paul Norris will be appearing at Midland Lutheran College in Fremont, Nebraska on February 10, 2006. If anyone has a plane ticket for me, I've got a place to stay down there.

Update: The Fremont Tribune has also posted an article about Paul Norris, and they have the exact time and place of the reception:
The public is invited to a reception in Norris' honor from 4-7 p.m. Friday in Kimmel Gallery at Eighth and Irving streets. An exhibit of his art called, "A Tribute to Paul Norris," will be on display through Feb. 24.

-by Tegan at 10:11 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

What It's Really About

Flogging the Simian has an article about what the Muslim Cartoon Controversy is really about. In short, politics as usual. As Soj points out, the cartoons were first published on September 30, 2005. The raging controversy didn't happen until just after the preventable deaths at the Hajj in Saudi Arabia... and strangely enough, it was the Saudis who inflamed the cartoons into a major story, instead of the minor story it was before the Hajj. Hmmm, could it be that the Saudis were trying to deflect criticize of their poor crowd control at the Hajj? Maybe by saying, "here, look at what the infidels are doing!" Mighty interesting timing there.

Thanks to Elayne who hunted up this link. Go check out her take on the article, and links to others.

I've been thinking about this controversy for awhile now. I'm a major advocate of free speech, and that part of my applauds the Danish newspaper who first published the cartoons. As a freedom of speech issue, this one really hits a lot of points. I've seen Muslims commenting on blogs that freedom of speech is evil... look at the violence it leads to! I submit to you that the violence has nothing to do with the freedom of speech and everything to do with the lack of tolerance for other beliefs. Of course, tolerance and freedom go hand in hand. If they don't, then freedom cannot survive. So my reaction to people who say that freedom of speech is bad because it leads to these sort of things is to say that religion is bad because it leads to these sort of things. Both statements are equally false. Feel free to dispute me on this.

Moving on, there are other troubling aspects to this controversy. The first is the cartoons themselves. With one exception, I think they are really weak cartoons. They aren't funny and they don't say anything. The exception is one of Muhammad telling two raging Muslims to calm down, as the cartoon is just something drawn by an unbelieving Dane. While I wouldn't call it a great cartoon, it at least makes a point, which most of the others don't even pretend to do.

Another aspect that troubles me is the fact that this stunt was pulled at all. I tend to believe in respect for other people's religions and beliefs. It seems to me that if you at least try to respect other folks, they generally will try to respect you back. I understand the frustration of the original writer, who couldn't find an illustrator for his book. But maybe instead of making a news story out of it, he ought to have tried a little harder. And the newspaper, instead of intentionally attacking the beliefs of some of their readers, maybe they should have just written an article about the tradition of not showing Muhammad's face and explained why, while mentioning the troubles the writer was having. There's a fundamental lack of respect in the whole thing. While freedom of speech means that such things as this stunt can happen, it doesn't mean that they always should happen. You can respect other people and still be free.

And now, moving back to the beginning of this blog entry, is the last troubling aspect. The three extra images. The Danish cartoons themselves are mostly not terribly insulting. They are, in fact, pretty bland and boring. Here is the original page showing all 12 cartoons. But there were three extra images being distributed as part of the group when the cartoons hit the news outlets in the Muslim world. And those extra three images were clearly designed to be the absolute most insulting images possible. You can see the images for yourself here with some commentary. The first shows Muhammad as a pig, in what looks like a photoshop job. The second, another photoshop job, shows a dog humping a praying Muslim with the caption "This is why Muslims pray" in Arabic. The third shows Muhammad as a badly-drawn demonic pedophile. While the Danish Cartoons were meant to make a point about freedom of speech, the three extra images were clearly meant to incite hatred.

But who produced them? Again, going back to Soj's commentary, it appears that the Danish cartoons alone weren't enough to get the reaction wanted. Apparently the average Muslim IS fairly tolerant. So the extra three images were put in to make this a matter that couldn't be ignored. The sick thing is, the extra images might have been made by Muslims. They certainly have nothing to do with the original 12 cartoons... but they've been distributed with them as if they were part of the original group. No wonder there's been violence. If it were only the original 12, I doubt the hatred would've gotten this hot. But when you add those extra three...

...And worst of all, most of the Europeans and non-Muslims simply don't know about the extra three images. They think that the violence is entirely because of the original 12 cartoons. Somebody is playing both sides. If you are reporting on this whole thing, do everyone a favor and mention the extra three images. Because, when it comes right down to it, if those images are what put Muslims over the edge, then we are reporting the wrong story...

It appears that this whole thing isn't about free speech at all. It's about manipulating the public through the media. What a surprise.

-by Tegan at 9:03 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Monday, February 06, 2006

Aquaman News

First, the new Logo for Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis, according to Lying in the Gutters:

New Logo
Thanks to Bill P for the sighting tip.

And next, the possible title to the Aquaman TV series: "Tempest Key". This was just reported by

-by Tegan at 9:49 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Random Thoughts

Ever wondered what religion your favorite superhero follows? Wonder no more.

Build your own Motivational Poster. Via Trash Heap.

HEY YOU GUYS!!!!!!! FilkerTom reminds us that the Electric Company is coming out on DVD. Check out the Trailer.

Lucy Lawless is joining Battlestar Galatica. Is that show really as good as people are saying? I may have to hunt down the first episode to check.

The Scobleizer tells us that a guy was arrested for playing with LEGOs.

After the Super Bust, I watched Puppy Bowl II on Animal Planet to calm down. I particularly enjoyed the halftime show. I guess I'm just a cat person.

Boing Boing Links:
A Handy guide to the folk monsters of Japan. Way cool, especially if you've read a bit of manga or Usagi Yojimbo.

I really liked the opening to the Super Bowl, as mentioned in this article. I wouldn't mind getting a copy of that one for my video library.

At least I'm not the only one who feels that the refs screwed up. I've found a large number of articles about it, in fact. Still, the game is over. Time to move on. GO MARINERS!!!

-by Tegan at 8:30 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Irony Is...

...The more violence they perpetuate, the more they prove the cartoonists right. If they simply condemned the cartoons loudly, instead of threatening the folks who draw them, they would get the sympathy of the world. Instead, they make their religion look bad. I wonder what Muhammad himself would say?

What is it about people that they always make a bad situation worse?

Update: Here's a page of depictions of Muhammad through the ages, including some Islamic depictions of him, and the Danish cartoons causing the current fuss. NOTE: Some of the most recent images are REALLY offensive, and not just to Islam. Found via Boing Boing.

Update: Here's another good article about the situation.

-by Tegan at 9:24 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Poor Referees

I could handle losing a game if the refereeing is fair. I've seen a LOT of stupid calls against the Seahawks, and calls that should have been made against Pittsburgh that weren't. Even if the Seahawks pull out a miracle and win, the game has already been spoiled by crappy refs.

Unfortunately, the superbowl MVP voting won't allow me to put in the referee, who really has won this game for the Stealers.

-by Tegan at 6:49 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Go Seahawks!

Seahawks Logo

-by Tegan at 3:16 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

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