Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sane Comments on the Mary Jane Statue

I stayed far, far, farrrrrrrrrrr away from the whole Mary Jane statue when it hit, and even farther away when the ensuing firestorm hit the blog world. So imagine my surprise when I follow a Journalista link over to Phillopos live journal, and find actual discussion with nary a flaming post in sight about that same Mary Jane.

In the blog-eat-blog world of internet time, there clearly have been enough days to allow for the cooling of passions about the statue, and for there to be a good, general agreement about the whole debacle.

rachel edidin puts it succinctly:
Y'know what? I actually dug Adam Hughes's original sketch for the comiquette statue. MJ *did* look feisty, and while she was hella sexy, she also had a lot of spirit. I could buy that MJ discovering and being amused by Spidey's costume in the laundry. It was a cute pin-up, and it worked as a pin-up. The problem with the statue was that it had little or none of the charm of Hughes's version, and he was stupidly defending it as a direct translation of that art--and the intention behind it.
And with that, you pretty much have, word for word, my feelings on it. Men like the Hughes, they're sexy babes without looking like idiots, prostitutes or whores, and women like the Hughes, for many of the same reasons: sexy without being sexist. (Personal favorite: the Wanda in the Sentinel hand. Wow.) And none of that made it to the statue.

I never quite got the superheroes as sexy thing, to be honest, even when I was younger, until we get to the John Byrne Jean Grey, who had this "real" body. Yes, she was curvy and sexy, but John was a good enough artist to make her move, to make have have breasts that would actually flatten down if she was lying down, to have hips that would turn properly when she was surprised by Magneto. The John Buscema Sif didn't have that, the Herb Trimpe Betty Ross didn't, neither did the Sal Buscema Valkyrie. And I thought that Jean was pretty wow. All the art books that I had said to try to actully observe people, how they move, and John's moved a lot more like women than anyone else back then. Michael Golden's did as well when he came along.

And somehow, from there, we progressed to Michael Turner. sigh.

But I digress. Mary Jane, we know that you're a hottie, and if Marvel does break you and Peter up, it'll be a shame, but know that we loved you. Not for your thong, but for your spirit.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Comics Journal: Still Relevant After All These Years?

Over at the Hurting, Tim goes off on Scott Pilgrim and video games, but stops to make a side comment her that caught my attention. Reproduced for your convenience:
The fact that this review landed like a wet turd at midnight begs the question, does no one read the Journal anymore? If the Journal can print a ritual disemboweling of one of Team Comics' most sacred cows without inspiring so much as a blink, well, I don't believe the magazine is penetrating anywhere near as deeply into the "intelligent, opinionated" comic reader demographic as it once did. Perhaps the price increase really hurt the magazine?
You think? Perhaps the magazine has simply painted itself into a corner when it comes to comics with its reviews and focus, while comics have been branching ever outward in the last 10 years. Perhaps its just too damn big.

The reality is, from this devoted former Comics Journal reader, is that there was a time when I would have defended the Journal from almost all criticism, not because it was perfect, but because at least it tried. And back in the desperate, newsprint CBG infested '80's, no one else tried to put two brain cells together and approach comics from an intellectual place.
Groth, for all the times his ego ocassionally overwhelmed the actual content of the magazine, had the right idea, and made more than a few years worth of attempts to get his audience to read critical reviews, to break down the language of comics to something that could be studied, addressed with formalism and standards, and taken apart so that we could see the innards. That he and we saw more offal that could have been imagined through the '90's is not his fault.

And yet, somewhere in-between the comics getting mass acceptance again, not just as a juvenile product but with the greater mainstream American public, the Journal, which should have been on the vanguard of the publishing, started to slip out of view. It got too expensive, too thick to read, too much information packed in one space. It was as if going to a quarterly publication allowed them the time to go deeper into their subjects, which one would have thought would have been a good thing, except that its possible to go too deep and simply overwhelm your reader.

And it became hard to find. I recall that quite clearly. And that is just the buying habits of the shops that I went to, so its partly their fault.

But the lack of monthly publishing meant that there was less timely reporting, and a periodical without an imperative to read is a slightly less appealing periodical. Illustration and Comic Art and Sweeneys fall into the same trap sometimes, no question, and we've already seen the change in the publication schedule for Comic Art in response to that.

Without being privvy to any of the nuts and bolts or finances of the Comics Journal, I hope that Gary is making good money, and I greatly enjoy many of the Fantagraphics books, so many props to the whole crew there. I'm just not sure of the Journal itself anymore.

Friday, August 24, 2007

New Work: Carnival sketch

A study of Santiago, the main character in The Carnival, done in wash, two beers and a shot of Centenario Anejo tequila.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Latest Cover Controversy: Ms. Marvel #21

OOooooh! Can I possibly be the first person to blog on what I'm sure will be the latest Marvel Feminist controversy?

Yes, yet another Boobs not quite falling where they should, female in peril cover of Ms. my ass is barely covered in this costume Marvel.

And its not good. Oh no, the composition and negative space are terrible. Just because you have paint is no reason to go overboard like this.

I knew letter writers back in the 1970's who would constantly point out that Iron Man was brutalized more on his covers than any other hero in the Marvel Universe. Whereas Cap or Thor would be menaced, Iron Man was being melted by acid, crushed, whipped, and being blasted into a grave by Firelord. You had to believe that Tony had a slightly masochistic relationship with his villians (Doctor Spectrum in particular, who had a particularly "pretty" costume). I'm not sure that is anything on what female comic characters have to face. Always being knocked around, breasts spilling out (and yet always defying gravity in certain ways), and male artists always having to draw around to complete crotch shot for the costumes.

You'd think, after the amount of feminist angst and the Mother Jones article, they might get a clue. And here's a thought, if I were to do a a run of Ms Marvel, with her looking hot and Cho-like sexy, battling villians, but holding her own, do you think that they would see any less than the book already is? Make her sexy, make her beautiful, just make her strong. I can still see the 'boys picking it up.

And last, is that a Brood queen come back?

Adults Just Get Better Toys: The New Gods Action Figures

Found this on the web, future action figures of the New Gods, circa Jack Kirby, and just had to stop and appreciate the design sense that Jack had once again.

Despite the fact that Orion's jaw looks like its already been in a fight with Kalibak, and Lightray, sadly being portrayed all too well looks like a grinning idiot, how, and I repeat, HOW can you not want a freakin' Mister Miracle? Man does that costume look good in 3D. And Darkseid? Yeah, I'll take the father and the adopted son please.

Jack was so far ahead of his time that we should just label some things on "Kirby-time" and leave it at that.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

For Better or Worse: Worse, Worse, Worse

I don't normally go into the comic strip world all that often, although I did go after Johnny Hart after his death for his religious bent, but the trend in Lynn Johnston's For Better or Worse has been so disturbing that I don't think that I can ignore it for that much longer.

Funny then, that I find the whole BlogospHere going off about the Lizanthony couple as well. Chaos Theory has a great compilation of quotes, many of them seriously pissed off aobut the pairing of the weak willed shmoe that is Anthony to the commitment-o-phobe that is Elizabeth.

Perhaps, and this is a big perhaps, Lynn is going there on purpose: she clearly has made Elizabeth a certain type of character, although she wasn't as evil as she should have been to the character when she deliberately made her boyfriend Paul move to her town and then up and left a month or so later. Quite honestly, she deserved everything she got, and she should have gotten a lot more. I had a sudden urge to channel Ross and yell, "You were on a break!" at the morning paper in response. Perhaps it would have been better if she'd discovered them in be together.

If Lynn wants the drama of getting Elizabeth into an unstable/rebound relationship then she's going to get it, but I'm not sure that she has the energy for the inevitable disintegration that accompanies that type of break up, especially one that will involve a child. I wonder if anyone has asked Lynn point blank whether she's aware how unaware of her fecklessness Elizabeth really is.

It is interesting that so many people are so angry about this. Not upset that they don't like the direction, or critiquing the change in the character, but really, really angry. Perhaps because we all know Anthonys in real life, and rarely do they work out well in relationshipland. We all want a little better for Lizard Breath now, don't we?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

San Diego Comic Con: the Carol Lay Experience

Carol Lay has a wonderful comic about her experience at this year's San Deigo Comic Con that is, as always, illustrated with her wonderful quiet and sardonic wit.

I love Carol Lay. I have no idea why she isn't a bigger star than she is.

Of course, if the artist in question is Molly Crabapple, as this message board thread has it, then, the whole thing is a tempest in a teapot, as Carol has already posted an apology in the middle of the thread.

Of course, I then wonder about Occasional Superheroine's thoughts on female comic creators and whether or not they have an obligation to be nicer to their female colleagues or call it like it is. I'll let the ladies fight it out over that one.

In Seach Of: The Elusive "Bridge" Comic?

The bridge book: the future of the medium?

Much has been made of the elusive bridge book, the comic tht would allow the reader to move gracefully from the Ritchie rich to the fantastic four to Kill your boyfriend in three easy steps and 30 years worth of maturity. So much time has been spent looking for this progression that I’m not sure that anyone has recently looked at it in light of today’s marketplace.

We often talk about comics and don’t necessarily define our terms for the discussion that well. There are comics as the things tht we read, a particular issue or trade or long box in the garage, and there are comics, the medium that we have works produced in, in the Scott McCloud definition of words and pictures working in concert to tell a story. Frequently the two get mixed up and the discussion gets muddied, which is not my intent here at all.

What we’re discussing today is comics as medium, a mass medium, which is not something that we could have said as easily 10 years ago, and how it relates to today’s buying public. It is helpful, and occasionally instructive to look at other mediums, vastly more mature mediums, (for all that the comic has been around since the 1930’s) such as books and film in this regard.

I believe that the notion of the crossover comic is not one that is particularly relevant anymore, if we could accept the premise that the person who is likely to rent Terminator 2: The Director’s Cut is not generally the same consumer who rented Mansfield Park, or is going to go pay to see Becoming Jane. What those two people have in common most is a love for the film medium, and an understanding a) of the storytelling conventions of the medium and b) that Terminator 2: The Director’s Cut is not an acceptable choice as date night.

While there is the occasional crossover blockbuster in any medium, as I defy most any of the Merchant/Ivory filmgoers to actually deny, with a straight face, that they have never seen Jaws for instance, it would be far more helpful and interesting for there to be as wide an array of comics available to the potential reader.

Last week I went home with the following in my bag to read:

  • Criminal #8 by Brubaker and Philips
  • Mighty Avengers #4 by Bendis and Cho
  • Powers #25 by Bendis and Oeming
  • The Salon by Nick Bertozzi

And I think nothing of mixing Criminal in with the slowest moving Ultron saga ever (literally, Mantis had become the Celestial Madonna in the time it has taken Ultron to take over the world again) or moving over to the over the top art references of The Salon, but I’m beginning to think that there may not be that many of me out there. It has been put to us in America that the manga in Japan, for instance, has so many volumes out that that the adolescent Japanese female who wants to read lesbian vampire fiction can easily have a series targeted towards her particular tastes. Certainly there are enough DVDs out in video stores to accommodate such a specific request for material. The real question is, is there enough American material to allow for targeted reading?

It is, alas, the terrible fact that to be a true mass medium, you need the mass of numbers. Because without that, you're a pretender, which is what comics have been for the last 20 years. It really is my answer to those that think that teh San Diego Comic Con should spin off the comics into their own con again: we've waited long enough in the wilderness as fringe media, don't exile us again because you don't like crowds. We need a huge number of readers, used to the conventions of visual storytelling to continue the tradition, and we need a great wealth of material to bring people back again and again. It is not the book itself a lot of times, but the habit of reading the book. If the habit is there, then they will go seek out the books themselves, and, thankfully, these days there are more and more books to fill in the gaps.

OK, so I'm being a half-full kinda guy these days. Can't help it. Came back from the San Diego Comic Con believing that I saw such an amazing breadth of material being published that almost any age should be able to find a comic to enjoy.

If only they know to look. And its a big IF.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

In Review Of: Powers #25 by Bendis and Oeming

Man, it seems like a long time since I've done a simple comic review.

See, heres the deal. I liked Powers, I really did. I recommended it to my friends and enjoyed the stories as being, really, my favorite Bendis work.

I'm getting a little tired of the reboots on the series. It’s starting to feel like the X-Files, and nobody wants that.

... and yet the current storyline is still working for me, in an odd little way. And I'm not sure why.

Oeming's art is something that I continue to enjoy, enough that I picked up a couple pages from him a year or two. Really nice stuff, bold in a non-derivative of Mignola way, which is something that many artists can't pull off. Mike's work, while it has certainly changed over the years, continues to be an interesting draw for me.

I almost dropped the book an issue or two ago when a promising storyline, with Queen Nior killing the other members of her team in ways that protagonist of the movie Seven would have approved, when the ending devolved into a simple wrap-up with a demon from hell. (And only in comics would that be considered a simple wrap-up, even a cop out really.) There was nothing clever about it, and it annoyed the hell out of me, because I really liked the build-up from the preceding issues. Nothing has a comic fan scorned like a simple ending, like having, I don't know, Elektra be a skrull or something.

Did I just say that out loud?

In any case, issue #25 promises all new story (which it starts, continuing the rest of the subplots from the earlier issues), a new format (with a different paper, which is really nice) and more pages, which is never a bad thing on a comic that you like. Especially when plenty of us are getting used to the longer reads in the trades, so extending your work beyond the usual 22 page fare is a good way to go.

End result? A nice issue and I'm staying with series for a while longer. I'm not quite sure about the two page sex scene, which comes off as terribly gratuitous, but the rest of it is solid and entertaining. I'll be waiting with patiently for the next, oh, say 6 months, til the next issue comes out.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Pioneers of Comic Book Collecting

Sunday morning, Comic Con, Todd Severin and I stop off at a collection of Mutt and Jeff originals from 1924 at Robert Beerbaum's booth, and start flipping through the 12 or so boards, neither of us with a huge love or appreciation for Bud Fischer, but with the same thought: neither of us, in our original art collections, have anything this damn old. After all, the latest piece here was 1924, the earliest was 1921, and, while i lack the provenance here, they have the distinction of being pieces that had been taken to england and had places or money references changed for publication in the UK.

We also, being long time Bay Area comic fans, myself from Marin County, Todd from Danville, had a long discussion with Robert about the "old days", which was, for us, the rough and tumble 1970's. Todd and I share the distinction of being the next wave of dedicated comic book fans, those that followed the pioneers in the comic fandom like Thomas and Shelley, and the first real wave of retailers like Rozanski in LA, and Beerbaum with Best of Both Worlds in Berkeley. We went to those early conventions that were being produced in the mid to late 1970's, not realizing that the rules of fandom were being made up around us, and that the direct market was about to change the retailing world forever in comics.

What we didn't know, as impressionable kids, was all the behind the scenes drama that would go on: Golden Age books being stolen, friendships torn apart as collections vanish and reappear, retailing horror stories when things were a lot less controlled than today. Drama from the original Bay Cons at the Jack Tar Hotel, or the Old California Hotel, both on Van Ness in San Francisco. It fills in a lot of gaps to tell you the truth. Perhaps a great new book for someone to write would be the history of Phil Seuling and the Direct Market.

The problem here is that we approach this both as a business and as a hobby, a collector's mentality. And most of the dealers that you see on the convention floor will make decisions that any sane business man would never make, regarding cash flow and inventory. How many of then have everything computerized? How many of them run reports on a weekly basis to check sell thru and inventory? And god bless them, because the true businessman would never have kept the comics scene alive with one hundreth the passion that these guys do. They become the conservators of the field, an oral history of comics that only comes out with a few beers.

I certainly think that the original art field has become almost all business, especially as collectors with real money, Hollywood money, hell, decent job money, have moved in and allowed the Albert Moys of the world to bring their prices up to levels that we honestly never would have ever thought.

Next post, we discuss Allen Siegel and the pricing of Dave McKean.

Friday, August 10, 2007

In Review Of: Terry Dodson's French Album

Seen to the left is a post card from Terry Dodson's gallery work from a french comic, the title of which escapes me, as I cannot read French. Suffice to say that it is a beautifully rendered, very lush tits and ass romp with aforepictured blonde woman.

The oddity, and it reminds me very much of early cable TV in the United States, is that cable knew that it could show us breasts, but simply didn't, to mix my metaphors, have the balls to do so. The cable execs would hedge their bets and give us one of the most convoluted stories of all time to try and justify the excuse to show us a mammary gland or two.

Simply put, we hadn't evolved (or devolved depending on your viewpoint) to the Red Shoe Diaries. If Zalman King hadn't been born, we would have had to invent him.

But I digress.

Terry draws beautiful women, not weak women, or jailbait, or bizarre ideas of what a woman might look like by someone who has never actually seen a woman. They aren't Michael Turner women; even if they're large busted, they actually have internal organs and hips and bodies. I love that they move and flow and generally have eyes like Lynda Carter even.

So the oddity of the bodice and boobs story, like the aforementioned French volume, resorting to the bizarrely placed strands of hair to cover the nipples of the gorgeous protagonist is so... so Blue Lagoon. I find it an odd choice and I wonder who dictated that type of censorship: the publisher, the writer, Terry himself? Since I've run across other nudes that Terry has drawn, I doubt it was him. Did the publisher not realize the type of book that they were going to print? did the writer get cold feet at the last minute? Certainly there are very different standards of nudity and what constitutes line crossing in America and Europe, but the book is far tamer than most of the european albums brought over to this side of the pond.

Blue Lagoon. How bizarre.

And the art, yes the artwork, is really, really beautiful. I'll be digging around the galerie9art site just to look at some of the illustrations when I have time, since they have lots of beautiful scans, from artists that I'm very familiar with, and some that I'm not.

If some nudity offends you, then following the link would be a very bad idea, by the way. Not entirely work safe.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Comics as Pop Culture: Fanboys in the Driver's Seat

Steven Grant, in his recent Master of the Obvious column goes on at length to delve into what I've postulating both live in person and online for a while now: that comics have been moving into actually being pop culture, not fringe culture for quite some time now, and with the ascendency of 300 to the top of the movie charts, we might now consider the movement to be fairly complete.

Of course, Steven, ever the better writer than I, sums it up well as this:
The comic book is no longer the pariah of pop culture.
And this is clearly true in the movies, the "hip" media references, the graphic novel section of the local Borders (significantly, a much better section that then hipper over-all local bookstore, Book Passage) and simply in other media references.

I'll put it as such: We don't suck as much as we used to . At least in the eyes of the public at large.

What I've been thinking since coming home from San Diego is that the movies may be driving people into respecting the comic field now, but comics are actually in the driovers's seat. And part of this this is generational. Many of the same young men that loved the Claremont/Byrne X-men are now pitching and optioning movies in Hollywood. Unlike prior generations of power brokers in Hollywood, who grew up with the view of comics as disposable trash (Oh yeah, like they're gonna throw 35 Million at the Angel and the Ape movie), this generation of movie makers doesn't look down on the source material. And I like that.

Significant is that they have the effects to translate the comic material into proper big screen visuals, which is one of the main reasons that Sci Fi was such a laughing stock before Star Wars. (You want me to take the Cylons seriously? Well, yeah, now we do.) Suddenly, Wolverine doesn't look so stupid with Hugh Jackman playing him, and the claws? Yeah, they work too.

Steven makes some interesting points on the properties, and how they make or break the movies... with some comments on the Green Hornet and Spirit movies. What I find interesting is that they have moved to optioning properties, probably for financial reasons, that have little or no following, unlike the Fantastic Four or Spider-Man. Green Hornet? Never understood that one, especially when you have a further multitude of good properties that could be better mined. Oddly enough, Marvel has been better at getting the small properties to screen. (I really never thought that I'd see the day that I would be seeing a Ghost Rider movie in the threatres. I'm sure that Mike Ploog never did either.) Where is the Wonder Woman movie? Where is the Green Lantern movie? Hell, where is the Black Lightning movie at this rate? How could you not simply let Joss Whedon make the damn WW picture anyway? (Who, in Hollywood, has a better resume with female characters than the man with 7 seasons of Buffy?)

Heroes, by the way is such a close concept to the Good Guys, my first profession venture into the world of comics via the defunct Defiant Comics that I did a head spin when I saw the premise.

Comics have long been about being able to reflect the times, and nowhere is that more apparent than reading books in hindsight, when we are accurately able to judge the tenor of the times. The Batman is a revenge fantasy that spilled over from the lawless Robber Baron Gangster 30's, and by the middle of the 1950's he'd been tamed into a reassuring man in a mask. Marvel had long had a history of moving slowly, due in part to Martin Goodman's "find what's hot and make a copy" philosophy. Thus we had Master of Kung Fu long after the craze, and the Disco Dazzler showing up in 1980. But mainstream America is also slow to get to get with the times. The producers of Saturday Night Fever have gone on record as saying that they did the movie to document a culture that was in New York and that had died out. No one knew that it would ignite a new trend for the entire country.

What I hate seeing is comics having to be reactionary at all. Steven is still thinking of the monthly periodical version of comics, and I think that I'm far more focused on the novel/novella format. I personally like the idea that there should be less layers in the editorial system in publishing, and I'm sure that it's a personal frustration for someone who has pitched as much material as he has that editors cannot simply champion a project and bring it to fruition, but we all know that the star editorial system exists in all layer of the publishing world, and that there are very few Archie Goodwin's out there who have that sort of amazing taste as to the projects that they can get behind. (We can thank Archie for getting behind Starman, the great American comic book for the decade of the '90's.)

Political cartoons are reactionary, we don't need to to. The current crop fo graphic novels currently gaining a certain level of respect have a longer shelf life, and make for interesting movies. Ghost world is a good example, and it doesn't need a $100 million budget. I thought that Linkletter did a great job bringing A Scanner Darkly to life, and Phil Dick's book could easily have been a comic for all its twists and turns and drug addled visuals. Hell, it could have been an Englehart/Brunner comic with its level of paranoia.

And Steven, when I think of Leonard Cohen, I thinkof the chilling album, the Future. That is not easy stuff to digest. Leonard makes it sound nice, but its scary stuff. Just check out Natural Born Killers.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

San Diego Comic Con: Mark Evanier's Kirby Biography

Mark Evanier has been a bit of a comic book legend, not so much for the one single shining genre defining work that he accomplished, but for a body of work, much of it on the sidelines, in support partly, of the King, Jack Kirby. And thats almost a shame, as Mark has been involved in writing in for comics, TV, animation and a whole host of other endeavors over the 30 plus years. But it is the Kirby connection that concerns us here.

When I very publicly decided to see what was up with the signature on my Kirby FF page, I sent an email to Mark. Questions about Kirby? The Kirby Collector magazine, from TwoMorrows Press, has a whole section where he answers queries from the mundane to the profound. We're not here to talk about Mark, the writer of Groo, aren't we just here to talk about Mark "The guy who knew Kirby well".

No, fortunately, we're here to talk about Mark as the writer of what I'm sure will be the definitive Kirby biography. And I can't wait for it. Evanier, on his own site, is commenting on how long the Canniff biography is, at 800 pages, and mentions that it doesn't make him feel so bad about his own book's length. 800 pages on Jack? I'm OK with that.

Unfortunately, it wasn't ready for this year's San Diego Comic Con, which is a shame, as it would have been a real treat to have seen it released the same time as the Marvel Comics stamps, with many of them, of course, from jack's pencil. Harry Abrams, the publisher has this oversized sampler to look at, drool over, and basically whet the appetite over the upcoming tome.

When I've gotten on my history kicks, I have developed the habit of reading three or four different books on the same time period as a way to get the fuller picture. After all, each writer has their own theories and pet areas of interest, as well as, sometimes, their particular axe to grind, and it helps to almost take in a time period from close to 360 degrees. There are more than enough excellent books on the start of world war two, for instance, for one to overcome the limitations of a single writer's viewpoint.

The same goes for the fascinating field that is the gestation and birth of the American Comic Book Field. The players in those early years, born out of the pulps in the gangster streets of New York are fairly well known by now, but the reality of the birth of National Periodical Publications, Timely Publications, Quality and Fox is a far greater and more interesting story than even Michael Chabon could concoct. Perhaps I'll pull out Men of Tomorrow back out, as well as The Dreamer and my Fourth World Omnibus.

In the meantime, I'll order the Caniff book, and delve a little deeper into the world of another cartoonist, despite my annoyance at the Steve Canyon strip. A few years of Terry is about as addictive as Pogo or Cerebus, especially if you have the habit of falling in love with Caniff's broad beautiful swathes of black ink.

You know, for a reviled bit of americana, the comic doesn't seem to be doing too badly these days.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

San Diego Comic Con: Princess Leia - Slave Girl Du Jour

Lis and I wandering around Comic Con when Lis stops in her tracks and is staring.

Me: What?

Lis: I never thought that I'd be staring at Princess Leia's stretch marks on her ass.

Me, just noticing the proximity of Leia's ass: Really.

We look for a second.

Me: And yet, if we were on a beach, and she was wearing a bikini, you wouldn't think anything of it.

Lis: True.

Me: Context is everything.

We move on to our next booth to pitch Pistoleras.

- -

I never quite got the sexual thing off of Leia. I was of the right age, oh yes, but somehow Carrie in the costume never did it for me. Now, Amidala in the body suite? Much sexier to me.

Clearly, I'm in the minority on this however. Valerie has some thoughts of her own on that I thought were great.

Borrowed this pic from occasional superheroine since I didn't snap my own.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

in Review of: Quasar #1 by Gage and Lilly

Delightfully cosmic is the key word here. And we live in the world that Starlin and Englehart created, generations ago. Mantis, the celestial madonna, is over in Star Lord, while the daughter of Captain Mar-Vell snogs Moondragon near the priests of Pama who have one of the Cotati at their hidden temple. While discussing the Elders of the Universe.

And to this I say: Yay!

And I didn't even mention the Super Adaptoid. Yes, the Super-fucking-Adaptoid.

We're on 4 issues into Annihilation:Conquest, and we already have 2 real winners (quasar and star lord), one just ok (nova), and one complete loser (wraith).

And, since we saw the spaceknights in the prologue issue, I have to say that I was really hoping that the Wraith book might have been a rogue Dire Wraith from the Mantloverse crossing over here. It doesn't seem that way from the first issue, but it still might go there. We'll see.

Gage's writing is fine, he has a lot to pack in, but it meanders less than your average '70's cosmic Marvel book, so that's actually a plus. Lilly's work as penciller is also solid, if a bit stiff at times. The only weak point that really jumps out is Bob Almond's inking. It may be a small nitpick, but I remember seeing Bob's originals when he was inking Sal Velluto, and I always thought that they had less weight that I thought that the pencil's justified. Here it's the same thing: Bob goes sketchy in some areas that I wish that he wouldn't. Just my taste I'm afraid. Peru's colors are pretty good here.

In any case, the story is moving along, and I'm for the duration on this crossover, for better or worse really, but i'm hoping better. the odds aren't too bad right now but a lot will depend on the overall defeat of the phlanx and how they archieve it, as well as what the political order will be when they're finished. And with the Skrull home planet destroyed, I have one question: where are all the Skrulls?

And does anyone out there know how the original Annihilation series is being collected?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Bootleg Iron Man Video!

OK, for as long as the video is up, here is the link to the devastatingly cool bootleg Iron Man video presentation from Comic Con. Robert Downey Jr. is beyond perfect as Tony Stark, and the Grey Iron Man armor is really amazing to see.

It may not be up for long, so go now!

Also, it has been one year and one day since I first started blogging. I want to thank the 10,469 people who have actually been interested in what I had to say for stopping by. Thanks.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

San Diego Comic Con - Notes from the Aisles #1

Notes and Bits from the aisles of San Diego-

Walking the half of the Comic Con with actual comics was far easier than walking the gaming half. Funny that. Perhaps the comic people need to spin their half of the convention off into its own little get together.

There were far less people in armor with long offensive weapons that would stick out and trip you in the aisle ways. Thanks costume people!

At what point did women decide that it was a good idea to create a shelf on their chest? When did those bras start coming out?

Is it attractive to have a shelf if you're a "B" cup? Or an "A" cup?

The toys that are available today kick such butt on the toys of yesterdays that it isn't even a fair comparison. Not just the Bowen busts and figures, which are terrific almost to a one (although why anyone would want the Bowen Warlock mini-bust as opposed to the Bowen full size statue is beyond me), but the DC 52 and Infinite Crisis figures, both of which came home with me for my girls (Wonder Woman and Batwoman). Wow, great toys.

DC's decision to give away tickets to give away the Watchmen movie posters was annoying.

If you're going to give away stuff, giving it away with a bag is clearly a good idea. Except for the fact that those yellow Smallville bags were so gigantic that they could engulf several small children. I watched a number of people struggle to figure out how to carry them.

The Con organizers have ended up creating an art have/have nots section on the far end of the hall. Near the front area, we had the haves, Adam Hughes, J.G. Jones, Geoff Darrow, Mike Mignola, Terry Dodson, etc with purchased tables I'm assuming, and on the far end, the long narrow tables with artist upon artist desperately trying to convince the people to walk past them. Honestly, a new arrangement is needed to help those guys. (And somehow those aisles have or were controlled by an impossible woman who never, despite my going there as a professional for a decade now, was able to find a spot for me when I wanted one. Thanks for nothing.)

I feel bad for the SCA people who used to do their mock fighting on the 2nd floor back promenade, as they've now been exiled even further from the con with the expansion of the autograph tents. Sadly, they've started to take away one of my favorite little oasises of calm in the maelstorm that is the convention.