Saturday, July 29, 2006

Four Color Commentary - Books Shipped 7-26-06

Astro City Special #1
Kurt Busiek, Writer
Brent E. Anderson, Artist
There are many books on the “Gee I Wish These Came Out More Often” list and Astro City books are at the top of the list. I have to be completely honest with you, I am not certain what to write about this book. I still haven’t gotten this whole reviewing thing down. I’m terrible at summarizing the books and generally vague about why I like or dislike them. Oh well. I like this book. Busiek, if you read this for some strange reason, cut out all the Superman crap and write more Astro City and Arrowsmith! That is all.

Batman #655
Grant Morrison, Writer
Andy Kubert, Artist
Since the last issue Batman has managed to clean up Gotham and so now he has nothing to do except be Bruce Wayne. I liked everything about this issue. The Joker-copter is back, baby! Jim Gordon getting hit with the Joker gas? Excellent. Alfred taking Bruce to task for growling. I have to be honest though, I am already waiting for the other shoe to drop in this story, and I am not talking about the army of Man-bat ninjas we have been promised.

Casanova #2
Matt Fraction, Writer
Gabriel Ba, Artist
Okay, I don’t get it. I am not familiar with other work by Matt Fraction but for me this series really falls under the Morrison “I take FAR more interesting drugs than you and then I write,” school of writing. I mean I really don’t get it. Having said that Gabriel Ba provided some pretty pictures for me to look at during my time of confusion. I do not think I am going to continue getting this series.

Daredevil #87
Ed Brubaker, Writer
Michael Lark & Stefan Gaudiano, Artists
HOLY CRAP! I have been enjoying Brubaker’s run on Daredevil, particularly after Bendis’ last year kind of stank up the pond, but this issue seriously rocked the casbah. (However I think Sharif might have actually liked it.) Somehow I managed to avoid finding out about the big reveal at the end via the Internet and so when I reached the end of the book I almost fell out of the chair. It was awesome. Thank you Ed!

Highlander #0
Brandon Jerwa & Michael Avon Oeming, Writers
Lee Moder, Artist
I have to admit I bought this book because it has a Dell’Otto cover and it is the freakin’ Highlander. (“Here we are born to be kings!”) I was not expecting very much from this book and therefore I was not disappointed. Until the end of the preview I was a little confused as to when this book was taking place in the somewhat convoluted timeline that is Highlander. A note at the beginning of the book letting the reader know would have been nice. Oeming seems to be moving into the Keith Giffen world of don’t-make-a-comic-without-me. Now he is working on main Red Sonja series, Powers, and did he ever finish the Ares miniseries for Marvel? Anyways, I have enjoyed both his work and Brandon Jerwa’s work in the past and this intro to the series was intriguing enough to make me want to pick up the next few issues. Oh yeah, one more quibble, I wish they would have translated the tattoo on the bad guy’s chest. My Russian isn’t that good anymore.

Jack of Fables #1
Bill Willingham & Matthew Sturges, Writers
Tony Akins, Penciller
Andrew Pepoy, Inker
Fables is one of the most consistent and well-written series out there and I have been looking forward to this series since the Jack arc in the main Fables book. This was a very enjoyable jaunt into the Fables world and introduced enough new elements to keep me intrigued. Someone, Matt Maxwell I think, was commenting on his Freudian ability to only read issues of the series where Goldilocks shows up and is naked. Due to my wonderful memory (that’s sarcasm) I cannot remember in what context Goldilocks shows up however I do remember her being around and being naked and lets face it, that’s what I am really looking for in my comics.

Wolverine #44
Marc Guggenheim, Writer
Humberto Ramos, Penciller
Carlos Cuevas, Inker
Lets start with the cover on this one. I am not a big fan of Ramos’ art and for the first time on this whole art issue I can tell you why. It’s the mouths. Every time a person is talking they either look like they are screaming in terror or they are talking through their teeth. Beyond the screaming and teeth-gritting I have been enjoying this Civil War tie-in. I am about as surprised about that as the next guy since I am not reading the whole Civil War event and actually think it is kind of crap. I am really looking forward to what Guggenheim does with Wolverine once the editorially mandate is done.

X-Men #189
Mike Carey, Writer
Chris Bachalo, Penciller
Townsend with Holdredge, Irwin, Mendoza, Olazaba & Vey, Inkers
For me these Masked Marvel back-up stories really feel like a waste of pages. I would MUCH rather have an additional eight pages of X-Men comic for my $2.99. Now that we have that out of the way, I am enjoying Carey’s work on the title. I have to admit that the creation of a new set of enemies for the X-Men kind of bugs me, however I am going to try and resist passing judgment on these new enemies until all of Carey’s story has been told. I did enjoy the reappearance of Northstar and Aurora. Mmmmm. I think the next issue is going to lots of hot mutant on mutant action.

The Rest:
  • 52 #12
    • Oh hell, you know who it is.
  • Annihilation: Ronan #4 (of 4)
    • Simon Furman, Writer
    • Jorge Lucas, Artist
  • Birds of Prey #96
    • Gail Simone, Writer
    • Paulo Sequeria, Penciller
    • Robin Riggs, Inker
  • Blue Beetle #5
    • Keith Giffen & John Rogers, Writers
    • Duncan Rouleau, Artist
  • Captain America #20
    • Ed Brubaker, Writer
    • Steve Epting, Artist
  • Crisis Aftermath: The Spectre #3 (of 3)
    • Will Pfeifer, Writer
    • Cliff Chiang, Artist
  • Exiles #84
    • Tony Bedard, Writer
    • J. Calafiore, Penciller
    • Mark McKenna, Inker
  • Hawkgirl #54
    • Walter Simonson, Writer
    • Howard Chaykin, Artist
  • JLA Classified #25
    • Steve Englehart, Writer
    • Tom Derenick, Penciller
    • Mark Farmer, Inker
  • JSA Classified #14
    • Steve Englehart, Writer
    • Tom Derenick, Penciller
    • Mark Farmer, Inker
  • Loveless #9
    • Brian Azarello, Writer
    • Marcelo Frusin, Artist
  • Nightwing #122
    • Bruce Jones, Writer
    • Paco Diaz, Penciller
    • Bit, Inker
  • Powers #19
    • Brian Michael Bendis, Writer
    • Michael Avon Oeming, Artist
  • Red Sonja #12
    • Michael Avon Oeming, Writer
    • Mel Rubi and Stephen Sadowski, Artists
  • Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #39
    • Jim Balent, Writer/Artist
Tags: Comics

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Vacation Plans

Well kids, I did it. I dropped some of my hard-earned ducats (since I am typing this at work I would like you all to savor the irony of the “hard-earned ducats” phrase for a moment) on my plane tickets for the first two stops on my Fall/Winter 2006 world tour. At this point I am sure some one out there is thinking, “What in the name of all that is holy is James talking about?” Nothing really, I just like to make things sound much more epic than they really are, although I have to admit the thought of the Funky Wood Jam World Tour 2006 t-shirt makes me mighty happy. Basically at the end of September I am taking some time off and heading west to the Far East to drop some large white drunkenness on Tokyo and Seoul.

I FINALLY get to go to Japan!

I just want to say that again.

I FINALLY get to go to Japan!

I will delve into my life as a Japan-o-phile in a later post, what I really want to deal with here is what the heck am I going to do with two days in Tokyo? I arrive at 2:20pm on Saturday and I am not departing until 6:10pm on Monday. My Saturday night is already taken up, as long as Nobuyuki can get tickets, with the Hanshin Tigers versus the Yomiuri Giants game in the Tokyo Dome. This leaves me with Sunday, Sunday night, and Monday until around 2 in the afternoon. Right now my main resource has been the Lonely Planet Tokyo City Guide. From that alone I have amassed a list of things to do which is far too much to accomplish in the time I have alotted. Here is the list I am currently working off of (and this is in no particular order):

1. Sengaku-ji Temple
This is a place I am definitely going to see as it is the temple where the 47 Ronin are buried. Sometimes referred to as the national epic of Japan, the story of the 47 Ronin resonates deeply with many of the Japanese and is a story I have been fascinated by since I learned about it many years ago. The 47 Ronin were samurai in service to Lord Asano of the Ako province. Lord Asano was baited into attacking Kira, a highly placed official in the shogunate, in Edo Castle. Although the only wound Asano managed to inflict was a cut on Kira’s cheek, he was ordered to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) the same day for even drawing a weapon in the castle. All of his lands and goods were confiscated, his family was ruined, and all of his retainers were declared masterless, or ronin. Forty-seven of his former retainers banded together and plotted the killing of Kira in order to restore their master’s honor, even though the Shogunate had declared revenge to be forbidden in this case. For around a year the 47 gave up their places of honor as samurai and took jobs as tradesmen and monks, and their leader, Oishi Kuranosuke Yoshio, became a drunk who eventually divorced his wife. All until the night of December 14th when they gathered together and assaulted Kira’s house. They eventually captured Kira and in deference to Kira’s position, Oishi knelt before him and offered up the dagger which Lord Asano had used to commit seppuku to Kira for the same purpose. Kira was so terrified and craven that he would not take his own life, at which point Oishi had some of his compatriots hold Kira down and he proceeded to cut of Kira’s head with the dagger. They ronin then took Kira’s head to Sengaku-ji, washed it, and placed both it and the dagger before Lord Asano’s tomb. They then turned themselves in enmasse to the Shogun who allowed 46 of them to commit seppuku rather than having them executed as criminals. They were then interred at Sengaku-ji with their lord. While some are willing to debate on whether the actions of the 47 Ronin were actually in line with the code of Bushido, they’re story has always fascinated me and, to me, stands as a perfect example of how the samurai would serve his lord.

2. Japanese Sword Museum
I like swords, particularly Japanese swords as they display a level of craftsmanship and artistry rarely shown in European swords. This place has 6000+ of them, however they are closed on Monday, so this is very iffy.

3. Ghibli Museum
For those of you who don’t know Studio Ghibli is the animation studio founded by Hayao Miyazaki, among others, and is responsible for films such as My Neighbor Totoro (my favorite Ghibli film), Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and Howl’s Moving Castle. Miyazaki is one of my favorite anime directors (Mamoru Oshii is pretty high up there as well) and I would love to hit this museum however you have to make reservations and from looking at the website, which is only in Japanese, it really looks like this is more of a kid-themed place. I am really on the fence on this one. I wish they did not require advance planning so I could just go if the mood takes me. Oh yeah, and I was a Miyazaki fan before it was cool you trendy gits.

4. Senso-ji
This temple enshrines a golden statue of Kannon, which is the Japanese name for Kuan Yin the bodhisattva of compassion, which was reputedly fished out of Sumida-gawa by two fishermen in 628 AD. My guidebook describes the main gate, Kaminarimon or Thunder Gate, as majestic and says that the gate houses Fujin, the god of the wind, and Raijin, the god of thunder. Since this is open 24/7 and there is no cost to get in I am thinking this might have to be done. Besides, there are gods in them thar gates!

5. Higashi-gyoen
This is the only part of the Imperial Palace grounds which are open to the public. The Imperial Palace was built on the grounds of Edo-jo, or Edo Castle, which became the seat of the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1590. From what I can gather the only thing left of Edo-jo is the foundation mound and some of the walls and moats, so sadly this will not fulfill my need to see a Japanese castle. This park is free to the public however, which is always a good thing.

6. Meiji-jingu
This is the shrine built, originally in 1920 and then rebuilt after WWII, to honor Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. From everything I can tell this is a very impressive shrine and will definitely make the list of Sunday destinations, if for no other reason than it is near Harajuku and is lousy with cosplay-zoku and the eponymous Harajuku girls brought to our attention by Gwen Stefani. I think this is definitely on the list.

7. Tokyo Kokuritsu Hakubutsokan
This is the national museum of art and it contains the largest collection of Japanese art in the world. Initially I poo-poo’d the idea of going here, however after thinking about it a bit more this might make a very good place to go in place of the Japanese Sword Museum. The main hall is devoted to Japanese art, containing sculptures as old as 538 AD. The two additional halls are dedicated to a collection of antiquities from other regions (they call it the Gallery of East Asian Antiquities, however seeing as how they stuck and Egyptian mummy and some other stuff in there this strikes me as somewhat of a misnomer) and then a collection of really ancient stuff from Japan. I really wish this place was open on Monday. The more and more I think about it Sunday may have to be an even split between this and the Meiji-jingu.

8. Yasukani-jinja and Yasukuni Yushukan Museum
This is a rather controversial shrine whose name transliterates to Peaceful Nation Shrine, is dedicated to the Japanese sailors, soldiers, and pilots who have given their lives in service to their nation. Since recent history has Japan playing the part of the aggressor far more often than they have been attacked, some perceive this shrine as being a temple to aggression. I am not sure where I stand on this issue, however from the descriptions I have read the shrine sounds interesting (some of the torii there are made from steel and bronze rather than wood) and there is the museum which is on the grounds and I am a sucker for war museums, particularly ones where I get to see things I otherwise would not be able to see. Most notable, to my mind, in the museum’s collection is their replica of an Ohka, a suicide rocket developed by the Japanese late in WWII, and a restored A6M5 Type 0 Model 52 Zero fighter from WWII.

9. Hama Rikyu Onshi-Teien
This is the garden of one of the shogunal palaces which extended into the area. The guidebook states that the garden is one of Tokyo’s finest, and as I have a taste for the Japanese garden, this might be worth checking out.

10. Akihabara-cho
Once the home to billions and billions of electronics Akihabara has been turned into an a mecca for anime fans. If I end up doing this it will definitely be on Monday. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I want to check out the maid and cosplay cafes.

Then there is the Tokugawa Shogun Cemetery which I noticed on one of the maps however I cannot seem to find any good information about it. This sounds like an interesting place to check out and as it is by Ueno Park, it may be very accessible for my plans. There is also the National Museum of Japanese History. I stumbled across this on my few internet searches and I am not 100% sure where it actually is. I really think the Tokyo Kokuritsu Hakubutsokan is a better option.

So there it is, my first list of things I might want to do in Tokyo. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Tags: Travel, Japan

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I have a freind, Susan.
She has a cat, Zombi.
Here are some picture of Zombi being cat-esque.

Zombi vs. The Giant White Nose

Zombi vs. The Thumb

Zombi vs. the Sandman

There are more Zombi pictures in this Webshots gallery.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Legacy of 9-11

Lately I have been thinking about the legacy of 9/11. We had been attacked and violated in a way unprecedented in history. We watched from our offices and living rooms and listened on our radios as the planes slammed into the towers. We watched the smoke and flames billowing out from the wounds. We watched people jump to their deaths rather than be burned alive or choke to death on the smoke. We watched as the first tower fell. And then the second fell. We watched and we cried and we raged. And the whole world watched with us. And then the world held its breath. What would we do?

In his book “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” John Perkins discusses the legend of the Eagle and the Condor. The Eagle Spirit is materialistic and centered in around the head where the Condor Spirit is spiritual and centered around the heart. Now in the 500 years since the conquest of the Americas we have allowed the Eagle Spirit to dictate our actions, however the legend tells that every 500 years the two great spirits come together. At this time we have a choice: We can embrace one or the other, or we can embrace them both and return balance to the world. I know this sounds kind of hokey, but as I look back 9/11 was a moment where we were faced this momentous of a decision.

The world was united in its condemnation of terrorism as never before. Certainly there were groups who felt America was only getting its just desserts, but by in large the opinion of the world was with us. All we had to do was provide the right sort of leadership and we could usher in a new era of international dialogue and cooperation. We could finally act as the leader of the world.

Poised upon this precipice the President of the United States addresses an anxious nation, an anxious world, on September 20th. Imagine how different things might be today if he spoke the following words:

Fellow Americans, citizens of the world:

Tonight we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger, and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or justice to our enemies, justice will be done.

We cannot see inside the head of a terrorist, and yet today we understand clearly what it is he demands. A terrorist demands hate. He demands fear. Above all else, a terrorist demands war.

But a free people does not bend to the demands of terror.

Our friends and family members have died in the thousands, their bright lights of life made suddenly, brutally dark. To the world tonight I say not one more innocent person will die in the name of this terrorist act. Not one more mother’s son in America. Not one more beloved father in Afghanistan. Not one more infant child in Israel or in Palestine.

To the men and women in uniform I say: We all must hope that your soldiering days are done. Today you are our officers of law and our keepers of precious peace. You have been challenged by a terrible crime and make no mistake, this nation’s hunger for justice is as strong as its love of peace. We look to you, to our police forces and out troops, to the elected representatives of our citizens, and to our friends and allies in the international community, to bring the full weight of law and human dignity against the wrongdoers and criminals.

America is ever prepared to act, and to act alone if we must. Tonight, we know that we can instead act in concert with every nation on Earth. The citizens of 80 other nations died with our own in New York and Washington. The murder of innocents has been carried not only to America, but to Iran and Saudi Arabia, to Mexico and El Salvador, to Japan and South Korea, to Canada and Great Britain, to India and Pakistan. The world has been stunned into silence, but only to emerge with a voice more unified and sure than ever before in our history.

We will convene a meeting of the United Nations Security Council. We ask for the establishment of a world tribunal with authority to seek out, extradite or arrest and try those responsible for the September 11 attack, and any who conspire to commit similar crimes in the future. We call on our partners and friends within the United Nations to establish an international force to carry out this mandate. Let their work reach with unrelenting certainty into the shadowy world of terror and into the network of criminal finance, but above all else let them reach toward the diplomacy of cooperative effort. We join all the world in our expectation that this mandate will be swift and certain. We have encountered an unprecedented crime against humanity; we demand unprecedented action.

And so to the hawks I say: We salute you.

And to the doves I say: This is your moment. We leave behind us a century of war; we see ahead a century of peace. Already, this new century is stricken by the deepest of challenges. We look to you, to the peace builders, the peace makers, and peace keepers, for your wisdom.

We cannot comprehend terrorism, and yet today we understand clearly that its aim is to remake the world. Let us not fulfill the prophecy of terror by providing it with martyrs and justifications. Even as we wipe the blood from our brows and the tears from our eyes, we cannot forget that we are the world’s fortunate citizens. We must take extreme care not to provide the movements we deplore with gratuitous fuel for self-regeneration.

We know that we, too, can remake the world. Let us closely examine our actions on those fertile grounds from which terror grows. Is there more to be done to bring peace and justice to Israel and Palestine? Surely there is. Is there more to be done to ease poverty and suffering in the Middle East nations so rich with oil? Almost certainly, there is. Is there more we can do to hear the reasoned and gentle voices of the many who are struggling to be heard and understood? We cannot doubt that there is.

Let these, too, be our unrelenting pursuit. And let us be clear: These shall be out goals because these are no the goals of terror. Terror demands extremism, fanaticism and war. We will redouble our efforts for peace because we are a people that does not bend, does not buckle in the face of fear.

And so to the doves I say: We salute you. Fellow Americans, citizens of the world, we will meet violence with patient justice – assured of our cause, and confident of the victories to come. In all that lies before us, may God grant us wisdom, and may he watch over each one of us. Thank you.

This was written by James MacKinnon and appeared in the Jan/Feb 2002 issue of Adbusters with the title “What Could Have Been: The speech that was never made. Lest We Forget.”

There are times when I look back and I feel like crying. With all that has happened in my short life nothing could have demonstrated the beauty that is humanity like the road we failed to take after 9/11. Now rather than leading the world against the international scourge of terrorism we have to contend with increasing levels of terrorism around the world, ongoing failures in Afghanistan, daily violence in Iraq, and a deepening conflict between Israel and her neighbors in the Middle East; all the while doing our best to alienate the rest of the world. Not to mention the oppressive atmosphere of fear we have created on the home front.

Tags: Politics

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Four Color Commentary - Books Shipped 7-19-06

52 #11
Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid, Writers
Keith Giffen, Breakdowns
Joe Bennett, Todd Nauck, Jack Jadson, and Marlo Alquiza, Artists

I really, REALLY wish DC had kept a lid on the whole Batwoman thing until this issue hit the stands. After hearing about it for a couple of weeks her first full-blown appearance with dialogue and everything seemed very anticlimactic. The deeper and deeper we get into the 52 experiment, the more I am inclined to say that things are not going to work out. Each issue leaves me feeling a bit unsatisfied, as if something is missing, that there is more going on and I am just getting scenes and outlines of the action. Of course some of this could be alleviated by eliminating the backup story they felt the need to cram into every issue and give the boys four more pages to play with.

Bite Club: Vampire Crime Unit #4
Howard Chaykin & David Tischman, Writers
David Hahn, Artist

I have to admit, I am in this book for the off-chance that more lesbian vampires might get biz-zay, as we say in the ‘hood. I generally enjoy Chaykin’s writing no matter what he is doing. My one wish for this book would have to be that it had included a more in depth look at the changes Macavoy went through. It seems like he just suddenly woke up and was a vampire, and I suspect it is a bit more involved than that. Oh well, I am enjoying this book for what it is.

Checkmate #4
Greg Rucka, Writer
Jesus Saiz, Artist

As far as I am concerned Greg Rucka can do no wrong. Okay that is a bit of a lie, his run on Wolverine kind of sucked, and I am sure I complained about OMAC, however when it comes to espionage action, I think he is tops. This issue wraps up the what the hell is going on in China storyline started in the first issue. Of course since this is Rucka and spies someone is going to stab someone else in the back before the end of the story, however even though it wasn’t much of a surprise, I enjoyed the trip. I look forward to what he continues to do with this book.

Conan #30
Mike Mignola, Writer
Cary Nord, Artist

I don’t think I reviewed Mignola’s first issue of Conan, however I really enjoyed it. He brought his usual Lovecraftian sensibilities to the Hyborian Age and the result is a solid, though not fantastic, Conan story. In addition to being a Mignola fanboy, I become more and more of a fan of Cary Nord’s artwork with each passing issue. There are very few artists I follow from book to book, however when Nord starts working on other projects I am going to be picking them up.

Jack Kirby’s Galactic Bounty Hunters #1
Lisa Kirby, Michael Thibodeaux, Steve Robertson & Richard French, Writers
Michael Thibodeaux with Jack Kirby, Pencillers
Karl Kesel with Scott Hanna, Inkers

I have to admit up front that I have not read very much Jack Kirby in my comics reading career. Now that we have gotten that out of the way I can tell you that I thought this book was a piece of crap. I am often suspicious of projects that come out with title’s like this one, however I thought I would give it a chance. I wish I would have saved my money. The plotline was almost absurdly cliché and while there were giggle worthy moments, I felt as though the writing was lacking something. This very much had the feel of art by committee, which we all know doesn’t work. The thing I most enjoyed about this book? Ma Slugg, but she wasn’t enough to make this book a regular buy for me.

Justice League of America #0
Brad Meltzer, Writer
All-Star Cast of Artists

When I first started to read this book I put it down after two pages. For some reason it didn’t really speak to me and I thought I was going to drop the Meltzer JLA stuff before it even had a chance to get rolling, however when I picked it up for the second time I found myself really enjoying the work. Although the switching through time was a bit distracting and some of the future scenes posed interesting possibilities, I really enjoyed how the story was the relationships between DC’s trinity. This has me really looking forward to Meltzer’s run on this book.

The Red Star: Sword of Lies #1
Christian Gossett, Writer & Penciller
Weta Workshop, Digital Paiting

I have really enjoyed all of the Red Star books up until this one. Even though there have been patches where I have no idea what is going on in the story, I always knew I was reading something cool. This book is no exception and hit all of the right beats with me. I am very excited to have a new Red Star book on the shelves and the next issue cannot come out soon enough for me.

Superman/Batman #28
Mark Verheiden, Writer
Ethan Van Sciver, Artist

This is one of those books that I am not certain why I stay with it. Part of it is that I knew Loeb was leaving the book and wanted to give the new team a chance, however I am sure another part of it is that it has taken on a momentum of its own on my pull list and I just can’t be bothered to remove it. This issue was interesting, but did not do enough for me to remove the somewhat bitter taste that this book has associated with it. I am interested enough to see where Verheiden is going to pick up another issue or two, and it doesn’t hurt that Van Sciver draws us some pretty pictures. I also appreciated the appearance of Dr. Phosphorus in this issue, particularly since just the other night I read about his origins in the Walt Simonson volume of the Modern Masters series from Two Morrows.

Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #1 (of 8)
Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti, Writers
Daniel Acuna, Artist

As a general rule I do not like Gray and Palmiotti as writers. I don’t know what it is, specifically, that bugs me about them however I usually finish a Gray/Palmiotti book and think that I could have done a much better job. I picked this book up because the preview in Brave New World tantalized me just enough to make me think giving G-n-P another chance was a good idea. I was with it, too, until I learned that we were going to get another civics lesson about the evils of tyranny. Le sigh. I am tired of hearing this in the comic books, I really am. We’re getting it from Mark Millar whenever he touches a book, and now G-n-P seem to be on the same kick. The next thing you know they will have Jonah Hex lecturing the whore with a heart of gold on how freedom is more important than anything else in the world. Seriously guys, we get it. Enough already. And if you wanted to give me a civics lecture in comic book format have Ed Brubaker write it, or maybe Neil Gaiman, not these two.

The rest:
  • Annihilation: Nova #4 (of 4)
    • Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, Writers
    • Kev Walker, Penciller
    • Rick Magyar, Inker
  • Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #43
    • Kurt Busiek, Writer
    • Butch Guice, Penciller
    • Tony DeZuniga, Inker
  • Catwoman #57
    • Will Pfeifer, Writer
    • David Lopez, Penciller
    • Alvaro Lopez, Inker
  • Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Bludhaven #6 (of 6)
    • Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti, Writers
    • Dan Jurgens & Jimmy Palmiotti, Artists
  • Eternals #2 (of 6)
    • Neil Gaiman, Writer
    • John Romita Jr., Penciller
    • Danny Miki with Tom Palmer, Inkers
  • The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #2
    • Danny Bilson & Paul Demeo, Writers
    • Ken Lashley, Penciller
    • Walden Wong & Jay Leisten, Inkers
  • Ion #4 (of 12)
    • Ron Marz, Writer
    • Greg Tocchini, Penciller
    • Jay Leisten, Inker
  • Manhunter #24
    • Marc Andreyko, Writer
    • Javier Pina, Layouts
    • Fernando Blanco, Finishes
  • Robin #152
    • Adam Beechen, Writer
    • Freddie E. Williams III, Artist
  • Shadowpact #3
    • Bill Willingham, Writer
    • Cory Walker, Artist
  • Uncanny X-Men #476
    • Ed Brubaker, Writer
    • Billy Tan, Penciller
    • Danny Miki, Inker
  • X-Men: Fairy Tales #3 (of 4)
    • C.B. Cebulski, Writer
    • Bill Sienkiewicz, Artist
Tags: Comics

Friday, July 21, 2006


The last couple of times I have been in the car I have heard Rhianna’s new song “Unfaithful”, which currently sits at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. I don’t know how to put this gently so I am going to skip all artifice and just tell you that this song really pisses me off. Now when I say it pisses me off I mean it makes me really f-ing mad.

The song, for those of you who don’t know, is a real sad song about how this girl has a guy who she apparently loves but she can’t stop cheating on him. The chorus goes:
I don’t wanna do this anymore
I don’t wanna be the reason why
Every time I walk out the door
I see him die a little more inside
I don’t wanna hurt him anymore
I don’t wanna take away his life
I don’t wanna be…
A murderer
Then stop you dumb bitch!

I understand, though not condone, heat of the moment cheating, however I really do not get this premeditated crap. My single biggest problem when I am in a relationship, besides being a freak like me, is jealousy. The core of this jealousy is my generally low self-esteem and has been reinforced over the years by a few incidents of cheating.

At one point I was trying to get a girl to be my girlfriend and she refused, telling me that she cared about me too much and she knew she couldn’t trust herself not to screw around on me. At the time I didn’t get it and it kind of made me angry. Having grown a little since then I now understand what she was getting at and I can appreciate the heartache she saved me.

Here is how I see the situation:
  1. If you’re in love with the guy you are with then stop going out and giving it up to other guys.
  2. If you can’t grow up enough to stop going out and getting a piece of strange then you really don’t deserve someone who is going to wait at home for you and you should at least be a big enough person to admit it and then break up with him.
Regardless of what you do, grow up and don’t cry about feeling guilty.

Of course there is always the third option. If you’re in love with the guy you are with and you are going out to hook up with another girl then by all means bring her home. There is no need for guilt there.

Tags: Music

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Save Me From, Well, Me

So this Friday I realized it is time to get out of the dating ghetto, by which I do not mean I have been dating in the ghetto but rather that it is time for my first dates to be something less than three years apart. As internet dating has somewhat worked out for a couple of friends of mine, what with one friend having hooked it up with a cheerleading coach who then left her job to be a Dallas Cowboys* cheerleader and another who is seeing some Belgian lady (a fact which will continue to offer me ammo for bad waffle jokes until they’re done), it seems like it might be time for me to dip my toes in the pool of structured internet dating.

The big problem with internet dating, aside from guys who pretend to be girls and girls who post pictures of porn stars rather than pictures of themselves, is the writing of the profile. There are many things in my life I hate; public speaking, when my boxer shorts bind up with my junk, bad breast jobs, and people who talk too loudly at bars, however writing a profile of myself is the absolute worst of the lot. It is like answering the, “If you were an animal what sort of animal would you be?”** question. There is no “right” answer to the question, but you always feel like you answered incorrectly.

A big part of this hatred comes from my inability to discuss myself in something bordering on serious terms. Make that my inability to discuss myself in semi-serious terms and make it sound appealing. My resume is a damn fine piece of fiction, however anyone who would read my resume and want to date me would probably be someone I don’t want to date. That’s just a bit too freaky even for my tastes. The other end of the spectrum is how I often describe myself on here which, since we all know me and already love me, work, however I doubt a personal add which says something to the effect of, “Fat git with taste for puns, comics, beer, and travel seeks big-breasted hottie for dirty sex and possible commitment,” is going to really get me anywhere good. Although now that I re-read that, it might get me exactly what I am looking to get out of this process.

Now I can tell you’re wondering what in the hell this has to do with you. Good question. Since I cannot write my own profile I thought I would throw it open to my friends and loyal readers (and even the drive-by reader if you’re so inclined) and ask y’all to write my profile for me. Post your entry in the comments section of this post and I will either select a winning entry or synthesize a profile out of all your posts.

Of course some of you are going to embrace this opportunity to take the piss out of me, which is welcome as well.

Thanks for your help!

* Initially I typed Coybows. I am not sure what a coybow is, but is sounds funny.
** I would be a salmon and besides the obvious salmon chanted evening jokes to be made I feel I would be pretty tasty smoked and served with a hollandaise sauce.

Tags: FWJ, Dating

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Airport Musings

This is going to be a stream of consciousness piece written while sitting in Terminal B of Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport. Just thought you should know.

Airports are strange places. I do not know if there is anywhere else where you can find so many people who actually have somewhere to be. Every person is moving with a purpose. Well, either that or standing in line or sitting on their fat butts eating overpriced fast food.

I am not sure if it is because it is summer, however the airport seems to be crawling with cuties today. Some are traveling singly and some are traveling in packs.

I should have brought my camera. There is this kid in an Incredibles sweat-suit. He is sitting a couple of tables behind me with the rest of his family, however every once in a while he wanders out into the main flow of traffic while flying his Micro Machines Mellinum Falcon. So far he has almost gotten run over by one of those stealth carts they drive around and he actually ran into a large black lady who was in a wheel chair. Fortunately for both of them she saw that he was not paying attention and he was not moving very fast. To be honest I am not sure if he ever came out of his reverie. I miss being able to concentrate on something to that degree, and in public no less. He was absolutely focused on whatever adventure was taking place in his head to the exclusion of everything else including himself. I miss that, but I actually started this whole thought because I wanted to talk about how silly he looks in the sweat-suit. We’ll ignore the fact that he is wearing a sweat-suit in the middle of July in Houston and just focus on the fact that his choice of apparel proves that what looks good in comics will probably not look good on a real person. And thank god it is a sweat-suit and not tight.

Why is it that I can pick a girl wearing shoes with wedge heels (I think that is what they are called) a mile off? And why are the vast majority of the girls wearing these shoes Hispanic?

From my journal:

Well, my laptop crapped out on me so we’re going to have to go low-tech to continue our adventures in observational stream of consciousness writing.

We’ve got a nun! If only Lapp were here to share this moment. There is nothing like the first nun sighting of the day. She was dressed in all white. About five minutes later we have our first priest come through security. He, of course, is dressed in black from head to toe with the notable exception of his collar. I wonder what the technical name for these collars is.

Over to my right, across the flow if traffic, is a kiosk where you can apply for a Chase/Continental Airlines credit card. The young man who is manning the kiosk is offering free gifts (read t-shirts) to anyone who applies for a card. That has got to be a boring-ass job. The only perk must be the people watching, but even that could be better. I imagine the best people watching in the whole airport would be in the international terminal. Of course that is the newest terminal as well, so the digs are just better in general. The guy pipes up more often when an attractive young lady goes walking by. I wonder if he has ever picked up a girl at the airport.

Right now I am playing a game. I am a spy and I have to avoid detection by the other side, in this case my five traveling companions. I am seated on the outside edge of the food court directly after you go through the security checks. In order to get to the gate for our flight you have to walk right by my table. I am facing the security checkpoint so my face is visible to people as they come through. At least it is when I am not hunched over my journal. I changed clothes after I left work which should make things a bit more challenging for them. So far two of my co-workers have gone by without noticing me, one having stopped about five feet from my table and looked around. I’ll keep you updated on how the game goes. If I win I am totally buying myself the, “What part of ninja don’t you understand?” t-shirt from

Okay, this older gentleman in a Barney-purple shirt sat down a couple of tables away from me. I am completely serious about how purple this shirt is. I mean it is SHOCKINGLY purple. The thing is, it would look fine if it wasn’t so freakin’ tight.

Have you ever noticed how there are always tons of carts driving around the airport but very rarely are there people actually riding them? The people just drive around in circles, like some sort of bizarre shark, crying, “Mind the cart, please.” A cry which almost everyone ignores. It is a sad, kind of lonely sound, like the cry of a single gull.

If the waistband of your pants is so low I can see the beginning of the crease where your legs are attached to your body your pants are FAR too low. Doubly so if you are not past the age of consent. It sort of bugs me how girls are sexualizing themselves so young however I am not going to go off on this rant since I just come off sounding like a pervert. The last thing I am going to say is that the Juicy across the butt has got to end.

Oh well, it is 5:13. Getting close to flight time so I am going to get a drink and head out.

I won the spy game. I even managed to sneak up on my boss.

Tags: Thoughts

Monday, July 17, 2006

Four Color Commentary - Books Shipped 7-12-06

So I intended to get some actual commentary written here this week however as it turns out here it is Monday night and I haven’t gotten anything done as far as commentary goes. Now I have to pack for my whirlwind trip to Colorado Springs.

  • 52 #10
    • Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid, Writers
    • Keith Giffen, Art Breakdowns
    • Chris Batista, Penciller
    • Jimmy Palmiotti & Jack Jadson, Inkers
  • Annihilation: Silver Surfer #4 (of 4)
    • Keith Giffen, Writer
    • Renato Arlem, Artist
  • DMZ #9
    • Brian Wood, Writer
    • Riccardo Burchielli, Artist
  • Fables #51
    • Bill Willingham, Writer
    • Shawn McManus, Artist
  • Green Arrow #64
    • Judd Winick, Writer
    • Scott McDaniel, Penciller
    • Andy Owens, Inker
  • Green Lantern #12
    • Geoff Johns, Writer
    • Ivan Reis, Penciller
    • Oclair Albert, Inker
  • Scarlet Traces: The Great Game #1 (of 4)
    • Ian Edington, Writer
    • D’Israeli, Artist

The rest:

  • Annihilation: Super-Skrull #4 (of 4)
    • Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Writer
    • Greg Titus, Artist
  • Green Lantern Corps #2
    • Dave Gibbons, Writer
    • Patrick Gleason, Penciller
    • Prentis Rollins, Inker
  • JLA Classified #24
    • Steve Englehart, Writer
    • Tom Derenick, Penciller
    • Mark Farmer, Inker
  • Legends of the Dark Knight #208
    • Bruce Jones, Writer
    • Ariel Olivetti, Artist
  • The Next #1 (of 6)
    • Tad Williams, Writer
    • Dietrich Smith, Penciller
    • Walden Wong, Inker
  • Revere #1
    • Ed Lavallee, Writer
    • Grant Bond, Artist
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four #31
    • Mark Millar, Writer
    • Greg Land, Penciller
    • Matt Ryan, Inker
  • Wasteland #1
    • Antony Johnston, Writer
    • Christopher Mitten, Artist
  • Wolverine Origins #4
    • Daniel Way, Writer
    • Steve Dillon, Artist
  • X-Men #188
    • Mike Carey, Writer
    • Chris Bachalo, Penciller
    • Tim Townsend and Jamie Mendoza, Inker


  • Project X – Cup Noodle
    • Tadashi Katoh

Tags: Comics

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Quotable Quotes

So my Aaron Sorkin marathon, while a somewhat pathetic way to spend a Friday night, was somewhat satisfying. The man has mad skillz when it comes to the writing however as I was watching The American President last night I began to wonder if he is one of those who tries to slip as much double-entendre into his scripts as possible. The exchange that made me wonder this takes place when Annette Benning’s character, a lobbyist who has become romatically linked with the President, goes to the White House to tell Michael Douglas, the President, that she can’t see him any more.

Annette Benning: If I were on your staff I would tell you that the absolute worst thing you can do coming in to an election year is to open yourself up to character attacks and the quickest way to do that is to prance around like the playboy of the Western World.

Michael Douglas: Well let’s clear up a couple of things here. Number one: I seldom prance. Number Two: I have no intention of engaging in a character debate. Number Three: You’re not on my staff.

AB: Yes of course, but if you’ll follow the immutable –

MD: (Interrupting) Why is that, by the way? (Off a gesture to the couch across from him) Please.

AB: Why is what?

MD: Why aren’t you on my staff?

AB: You can’t afford me.

And the cherry on top of the double-entendre sundae? By the end of this scene Annette has put on one of his dress shirts, which is perhaps one of the sexiest things a woman can do, and they hook up. I do not know how many times I have watched this movie and this is the first time I picked up one this.

Of course Friday sort of started out in the gutter for me. Thursday night I was discussing the possibility of doing a floating art project with a group of people. My suggestion was a three-story tall rubber duck. My friend then started circulating an email about the project around the artsy crowd I roll with. (That’s right, I said roll. We’re like art gansta’s and sometimes we ever refer to ourselves as the Art G’s.) This was one of the first responses:

This sounds like the perfect opportunity to do an inflatable.

And here I was thinking I hadn’t asked anyone out on a date yet.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Who Are You?

So I was planning on writing something of substance either a book review or my partially formed thoughts on the currently deteriorating situation in the Middle East however I ended up having a craptacular day at the office and then I got this result on one of those damned which character are you quizzes:


Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti

Forget this. I am going to watch a marathon of Aaron Sorkin stuff. Maybe I'll be in a better blogging mood later.

Tags: Quizzes

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Self Portrait

Here is the original of the picture I used to create the Opiate Poster.

And here is a black and white version. I like this one better.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Opiate - One Year Later

Well my fine feathered friends after 149,000 words and 282 posts we find ourselves here on the Opiate of the Masses exactly one year after this madness began with this remarkably poorly written review of Barry Eisler’s Killing Rain. Here is what I wrote when I first designed this blog:

In the end I hope this will be a narrative of my life. At times this means I will have to share a book or movie review, and at other times portions of my current writing project. However, usually this will be my marginally witty observations on life and stories of the jack-assery I engage in in an attempt to keep myself and my compatriots entertained.

Looking back through the posts it appears as though I kept my promise. The Opiate may be a little light on the writing project side of things however I think I have more than made up for it by throwing in some reactionary poliblogging and letting the comics blogging get out of hand.

Here is where the normal person shares some of their favorite posts from the past year. I started on this and then realized that I don’t really want to do a year in review post. I would rather look forward to some of the changes I am going to make around here. The biggest change is that I have created a account and will be using this to tag and categorize all the posts I make here. You can find it here. Additionally I am playing around with the title display here on the Opiate in an attempt to get some more color going on here. Please let me know what you think.

Above and beyond that I just want to say that I appreciate every one of you that reads the Opiate. I really enjoy writing bits and pieces for you guys to read. Thanks for a great year!

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Punisher Invades the 'Nam - Part 2 of 2

When we left our hero, Frank Castle, at the end of last issue he was just hanging around and we were left in breathless anticipation, wondering:
Did the real Frank Castle die in Southeast Asia? If so, then who’s the guy with the skull emblem on his chest?!
Fortunately for you guys I like you and therefore I am not going to make you wait 30 days for the stunning conclusion of:

The Punisher
the ‘Nam!

This exciting conclusion is brought to us once again by the team of Salick, Harris, and Palmiotti in The ‘Nam #53, “The Long Sticks Part Two.” (Somehow I mistakenly identified this story title as “The Mark of the Executioner” in yesterday’s post.)

Of course we quickly learn that Frank’s suicide is just a ruse to get the predictably gullible guard to open the cage, giving Frank the chance to strike and thus gain his freedom.

Freedom which he promptly uses to wreck havoc upon his captors.

First with a bayonet.

Second with just the sling.

Third with some old fashioned C4.

And finally with some white paint, det cord, and a dead “hamburger.”

After his daring escape from the Monkey’s cave Castle then begins to stalk the Monkey and his two remaining men. In a scene that would make any experienced D&D player chuckle the first falls victim to a trap where Frank has rigged a tree to come crashing down on whoever is foolish enough to set off the tripwire.

Now it is just the Monkey, Disposable Minion #1, and Frank Castle, alone in the Southeast Asian jungle. The tension builds as Disposable Minion #1 moves through an open field. Frank’s sight is almost a physical presence reaching out, sending chilling fingers of terror crawling up Disposable Minion #1’s spine. At the same time the heat is on Frank. It is two against one and the perfect setup for the bad guys. They have one guy out front, beating the bushes in an attempt to flush Frank. Frank either has to avoid this guy, possibly revealing his position, or kill the guy, definitely revealing his position.

What would Frank Castle do?

What do you think? He puts a .308 inch hole through the SOB, consequences be damned. Of course this means the Monkey gets a free shot at Frank.

Except, in a moment so often copied it is now cliché, Frank has managed to dupe the Monkey using his dead partner’s spotting glasses.

We all know what this means. It is time for a little punishment and Frank, well Frank spanks the Monkey. (You didn’t really expect me to lay off that one, did you?)

Forget mud, how’s a 30.06 in the eye, biyatch!

And then yes, a moment to bring a tear to any true comic fan’s eye, we see Frank Castle with his soon to be iconic white skull painted on his chest.

There is but one word for this, my freinds, and that word is AWESOME!

A Little Bonus Content – Chris Sim’s Secrety Identity Revealed!

As any reader of Chris’s Invincible Super-Blog must know, the proprietor, Chris Sims has a fondness for the word cretins. Now imagine my surprise as I am flipping through the latest issue of the Exiles and I stumble across a character sporting a goatee drops the ever popular line, “You had your chance, cretin.” (To Sabertooth, no less.)

Could it be that secretly Chris Sims is Tony Start from Earth #2020? We may never know the truth, true believers!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Punisher Invades the 'Nam - Part 1 of 2

The ‘Nam remains, to my knowledge, the only on-going comic series to deal with the Vietnam War as its central focus and one of the few comics that even attempts to deal with the war in a realistic manner. The series was an outgrowth of “The 5th of the 1st” story which Doug Murray wrote for Larry Hama while he was editing the Savage Tales Magazine and was initially conceived as a real-time comic where every twelve issues of the comic would represent the passage of an actual year. While the series was being published I only ever picked up one or two of the issues as I had limited funds and there were X-Men comics to be read, however I had fond memories of the book.

Apparently as the series continued and sales started to flag, the editors decided to give some characters from the Marvel Universe guest-shots in the book. Perhaps the most egregious of these guest star appearances is in issue #41 where a couple of soldiers discuss what the war would be like if Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America were involved and then go on to discuss the movie The Green Berets allowing Marvel to stuff John Wayne into this parade of name-recognition based marketing. I have not read the issue, but one of the best parts of it has to be the cover which has the GI in the books logo thinking, “Huh?” as he looks at Thor, Iron Man, and Captain American bustin’ through a map of the region. Brilliant!

Of course the least intrusive of the guest appearances were those by Frank “The Punisher” Castle, and it is in honor of Badass Week over at Chris’s Invincible Super-Blog I present you with:

The Punisher
the ‘Nam!
(Part 1 of 2)

This two issue story arc begins in The ‘Nam #52, “The Long Sticks,” brought to us by Roger Salick (writer), Mike Harris (penciller), and a young James Palmiotti (inker.)

This issue opens with Colonel Sharps arriving at the I Corps base in Duc Pho, South Vietnam. As he steps off the Huey, “A 7.62mm bullet rips though a clavicle, an esophagus, a carotid artery.” At 875 yards a N.V.A. sniper known as the Monkey has taken yet another American life. Back at Hill 55, apparently the HQ for the Marine snipers in Vietnam, it is decided that they need to go after the Monkey in order to save a few lives and there is only one man for the job. Sergeant Frank Castle. Of course being the kind of badass Frank Castle is he is not to be found lounging about with the other soldiers. Oh no, he borrowed a .50 cal and are off stalking Charlie.

Frank waits until his target du jour is taking a little potty break and then BAM. Charlie’s not even safe in the bathroom. That’s how Frank rolls in the ‘Nam. (In reality the sniping record under discussion was set by Carlos Hathcock in 1967 and stood until 2002 when Rob Furlong of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry laid down the law on a Taliban fighter at the incredible range of 2,430 meters or 2,657.48 yards which is just over 1.5 miles.) After delivering a .50 cal reach out and touch someone moment through the side of a tree Frank cheerfully accepts the job of taking out the Monkey and sets off with his team to the N.V.A. base in Laos which, according to intel, is the Monkey’s base of operations. Here we get another moment to appreciate how truly bad ass Frank Castle is. While moving through the high grasses along the edge of the base he encounters a bamboo viper...


After that it is nothing to take out the three Vietnamese soldiers who are patrolling dangerously close to his spot and then, without a batting an eyelash deliver a little bit of the 30.06 justice to the Monkey.

Or so he thinks until he returns to the point where he is meeting Morris, his spotter, who he finds dead. He is quickly taken prisoner by the Monkey and his attendants. Once they have Castle in a cage in the Monkey’s cave, the Monkey, in true comics tradition, reveals his next target. Captain James, the head of the Marine sniper program based out of Hill 55. Frank’s response seems unusually calm for the Frank Castle we all know and love.

That’s right dear readers, clearly the answer here is to take off your shirt.


Holy Crap True Believer! Like they say in the caption, come back on Monday to learn the shocking truth as I reveal the stunning conclusion in part two of The Punisher Invades the 'Nam, "The Mark of the Executioner."

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Four Color Commentary - Books Shipped 7-06-06

Since I am not even a third of the way through last week's books I figured I would go ahead and give up on the hope that I can get enough of these read in time to post some semi-meaningful thoughts. Here's what I bought last week. With a picture or two to liven things up.

52 #9

Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid, Writers
Keith Giffen, Art Breakdowns
Shawn Moll, Penciller
Tom Nguyen, Inker

The All-New Atom #1
Gail Simone, Writer
John Byrne, Penciller
Trevor Scott, Inker

B.P.R.D. – The Universal Machine #4
Mike Mignola and Jon Arcudi, Writers
Guy Davis, Artist

Batman: Secrets #5 (of 5)
Sam Kieth, Writer & Artist

Battler Britton #1
Garth Ennis, Writer
Colin Wilson, Artist

Conan and the Songs of the Dead #1
Joe R. Lansdale, Writer
Timothy Truman, Artist

Dark Horse – 20 Years
Pin-ups by everyone. My favorite? An even split between the Adam Hughes Hellboy and Frank Miller Usagi Yojimbo.

Detective Comics #821
Paul Dini, Writer
J.H. Williams III, Artist

Fury: Peacemaker #6 (of 6)
Garth Ennis, Writer
Darick Robertson, Penciller
Rodney Ramos, Inker

JSA #87
Paul Levitz, Writer
Jerry Ordway & Luke Ross, Pencillers
Dave Meikis & Jerry Ordway, Inkers

Occult Crimes Taskforce #1 (of 4)
David Atchison with Rosario Dawson, Writers
Tony Shasteen, Artist

OMAC #1 (of 8)
Bruce Jones, Writer
Renato Guedes, Artist

Outsiders #38
Judd Winick, Writer
Pop Mhan, Penciller
Art Thibert & Steve Bird, Inkers

Secret Six #2 (of 6)
Gail Simone, Writer
Brad Walker, Penciller
Jimmy Palmiotti, Inker

Teen Titans #37
Geoff Johns, Writer
Tony S. Daniel, Penciller
Kevin Conrad & Norm Rapmund, Inker

Uncanny X-Men #475
Ed Brubaker, Writer
Billy Tan, Penciller
Danny Miki, Inker


Showcase Presents – The Elongated Man Vol. 1
Gardner Fox and John Broome, Writers
Artists include Gil Kane, Neal Adams, and Carmine Infantino

Friday, July 07, 2006

"..and I go to sleep unfulfilled."

So around 11pm Wednesday night I get a call from Becky. I am not sure if I have mentioned Becky on here before however I met her on Sunday night in Downing Street, the cigar bar I frequent with Scott. She was very drunk and we ended up back at my place after the bar closed. She passed out not too long after getting to my place and I had to go in to the office on Monday so nothing happened. We exchanged phone numbers and since then I have spoken to her on the phone a few times but things have never gotten anywhere. This means I was a little surprised to receive her call.

She wanted to get together and since she was over on Montrose I suggested we meet at Downing Street. When I showed up I knew she was drunk and she was babbling on about not wanting to be alone tonight. I’m a cad but I was thinking things might go a little better than they did last time. I was wrong. We hung out at Downing for an hour or so and then she copped to being tired, however she was so drunk she was barely able to stand up. She was aware of how inebriated she was and was open to the suggestion of going back to my place and sleeping it off. The plan was to take her back to her car before I headed into the office on Thrusday.

On the way home she grabbed my hand and then kicked the passenger seat back and passed out. She wouldn’t wake up when we got to the house so I managed to carry her inside. Well, mostly, we got into the hall and she got tangled in the door hanging we had and at that point we went down. I didn’t drop her so much as make a controlled slide down the wall to the floor. This woke her up. She promptly headed towards the bathroom but got distracted by a couch where she passed out. I checked on her a couple times to make sure she was breathing before I crashed for the evening.

She woke me up on Thursday morning by crawling into bed and snuggling up with me which is, truth be told, a rather pleasant way to greet the morning. We BS’ed or a little bit and then I decided to blow off work for the morning and hang out with Becky. We popped Mallrats into the DVD player and settled in to watch. About halfway through the movie she got the need for some smokes and realized she had run out last night at the bar. This necessitated a quest in the car to a couple of the crappy little convenience stores around since Becky smokes American Spirits. During this quest we discovered two things. First, no one around my house sells American Spirits. Second, Becky had lost her ATM card at some point in the evening. This meant we had to go searching for the ATM card. We swung back by the house to collect her purse and then headed back to her car, which was still at Downing. Fortunately her card was in the car. At this point we went and got some breakfast at Katz’s, which she accompanied with a Bloody Mary. I should take this opportunity to point out that she had two screwdrivers at my house before we headed out and it was around 10 in the morning.

After Katz’s we decided to head our separate ways as she had a hair appointment at noon and I wanted to get into the office before it got too much later. We talked about getting together and doing something that night and I told her I would call once I was home from the office and had a plan in place. She called me either two or three times throughout the day. She never really had anything to say except hi, but this got me thinking that just maybe tonight things might get fun.

Again I was sorely mistaken.

During the course of the day the plan to meet Scott, Lynn, Angie, one of Lynn’s Canadian friends, and Diana, Mr. TunaCan’s love monkey, at the Kelvin Arms for steaks and some drinking was developed. After I got home from the comic store I gave Becky a call and filled her in on the plan. She was, much to my surprise*, out drinking. Becky and I agreed to meet at a gas station and I headed out. While I was on the way to gas station she called me twice so I could remind her where we were meeting. This was a sign of things to come.

We managed to meet up and it was clear that she was already well into her cups. I tried a couple of different things to convince her to leave her car somewhere and ride with me however this didn’t work and she ended up following me to the Kelvin. Becky is perhaps the worst follower I have ever had. When I am being followed on city streets I drive a little under the speed limit and try to keep the person following me as close as possible. Becky was driving ridiculously slow and would get more then four car lengths behind me. Then she almost rear-ended me when I pulled into the turning lane. At this point I was so annoyed I was thinking this whole thing might have been a bad idea. Once we were at the Kelvin she dropped a bomb on me. She had brought her dog, Buttercup, with her. Buttercup is one of those annoying cute and hyperactive dogs which, when owned by a single woman, is a sign that things are probably not all right upstairs. In this case Buttercup is a Chihuahua. I hate chihuahuas on principle.

The night at the Kelvin went pretty good. The steaks and potatoes were acceptably good and the company was fantastic. The only problem with Thursday’s at the Kelvin is that it is live music night. In general live music night at bars which are not specifically designed as musical venues bugs me. The acoustics tend to be horrible, the bands mediocre at best, and if I am in a bar with people I want to be able to hear what my tablemates are saying. Above and beyond that the bands that play the Kelvin tend to suck monkey butt. Thursday’s bunch was not exception, however Becky was into their music so she headed inside to listen.

Oh well. I sat out on the porch with the rest of the crew for awhile and eventually Becky came back out to join us. At this point we were discussing breaking up the evening as Scott had some stuff to do, Diana was getting dangerously close to being too drunk to drive, and it was starting to sprinkle a little bit. Diana went to the bathroom and we made the decision to bail when she got back. At this point things went all sorts of wrong. Becky started digging through her purse looking for her keys and asked me where her car was. I told her that her car was in the parking lot and indicated, in a very gentle manner, that I thought she might have had a bit too much to drive. At this point Becky got all sorts of pissed off at me and in the span of about three minutes called me a retard, accused me of hiding her keys, said I was a buzzkill and that hanging out with me was like hanging out with her grandfather, and stormed out.

I was split between shock and anger. Scott assured me I had done nothing wrong and was as mystified as I was as to the source of Becky’s anger. I knew that she, as we say in the business, has ISSUES above and beyond her drinking, however this was a special moment. As I was driving home all I could think of is the moment in Grosse Point Blank where John Cusack is leaving Minnie Driver’s house (she is so hot and one of these days she'll realize she really does want me) and she calls him a f@&#ing psycho.

Thanks for cheering me up Minnie!

Oh well. I guess it beats my typical modus operandi in this sort of situation where I end up falling for the girl however she turns out to be a slut. Therefore I am stuck listening to her pine for the guys she is sleeping with but don’t want a serious relationship. Good god, my life is actually just one big cliché. I think that’s enough for one night, don’t you?

* Please read with as much sarcasm as you can muster. Then add 10%. I can be a bit sarcastic at times.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Wedding of the Century

Whomever do I mean? No, not Brad and Angelina, although we all know they are going to have either a preternaturally beautiful kid or a side-show freak, and I certainly do not mean Britney and K-Fedup, who have, in a Wonder Twin-esque combination of powers, actually turned into a side-show freak. I’m talking about my friends Kyle and Sara who, with their wedding on June 4th, managed to complete their reversal of the traditional order in which you do things. First there was baby Noah, the self-proclaimed Cutest Baby in the World™. Then they purchased a house. Clearly the next step would be to form a life-long commitment in the presence of friends and family in the great outdoors. During the summer. In Texas.

Sadly because of work commitments I was unable to attend any of the pre-wedding festivities which including tubing, eating some pretty good Mexican food, and the traditional distribution of the pens. In fact I was worried about being able to make it to the wedding at all, however I decided to blow off work Sunday afternoon and make the trek to Austin for the festivities and I took my camera. We all know what this means, so without further ado:

Here is the main house at the Barr Mansion, the venue for the evening.

As impressive as the main house was, the reception hall was even better and it had a really cool stage area.

And then there was the outhouse.

Of course Meaghan and Rob were there. Meaghan really liked her dress and asked if I thought it was “fun.” I probably said something fairly inappropriate.

It’s Kyle and Sarah and they’re all married and stuff.

Hey! I know that guy! It’s Abram, the proprietor and sometime poster to the Casual Soapbox. In his real life he is also Kyle’s brother.

Yes, I managed to record a very rare sighting of the Red-Headed Abe Stetcher, my once roommate whom I have not seen nor heard from since I left College Station those many months ago. I did nothing to this photograph (including focus) but the light was such an awesome color I had to share.

Of course after the wedding there is eating. These are my table-mates whom I did not know before the wedding. Of course I also don’t really know them after the wedding as for the life of me I cannot think of their names. I think the guy to the right is Nathan, but I am not sure. Regardless the dinner was fun and interesting discussion was had. Rob, Meaghan, and Abe (whose nose is in the picture) also shared the table.

And then there was dancing in a circle around Kyle’s parents. My understanding is that this was a Jewish tradition after the family had married off the last child.

And then, finally, there was this lap in the main house. Had it been someone’s wedding I did not know I might have tried to make off with the lamp. Oh well.

That’s it. I had a pretty good time and was really happy to see Kyle and Sarah get it done, however this whole process has left me with a question. As a wedding monkey I was given a really nice pen with my name engraved on it and everything. Now is this pen supposed to be used or just left hanging out on the desk? I tend to be pretty hard on the things I use. I don’t wear wrist watches anymore because I always break them and don’t even notice. I also have a terrible habit of putting a pen in my mouth to hold it rather than setting it down on the desk or putting it back in the holder. Oh well, I am sure I will end up using it at some point, but for right now it is sitting on my desk at the casa just waiting to fulfill it’s penly duties.

Oh yeah, you can see the rest of the pictures I took here.