Sunday, January 30, 2005

What's Up?

Me, I'm just staying busy with work. I've been spending less time on the computer this last week to force myself to make time to work on my comic. I can't seem to find the time thanks to my current job but if I cut down on a few other things (like surfing the net and eating) I may get the next issue done before Aggie Con.

Meanwhile, I missed posting last week's comic picks. So here's last week's picks and this week's:

January 26, 2005:
Legion of Super-Heroes #2
Sleeper Season 2 #8
Black Widow #5

February 2, 2005
Deadshot #3
Question #4
Shanna the She-Devil #1


I don't have a day off this week. I'm working every friggin' day. But I'm trying to establish a timeframe or schedule to fit around my work so I can at least get something done.
Visitors of the blog devoted to my comic, 'Nuther World Comics, can now view the complete issue #0 online. Or will as soon as I post the one-page "Money Matters" in a few minutes. :-)

I'll be posting more news over there.

I also came across two more great resources on comic strips. The first is another website that serves as a list of links to syndicated strips online: Stu's Comic strip Collection.

The second is a book I found at Barnes & Noble. Called "100 Years of American Comic Strips", it presents samples of comic strips from the 1800s to today. Seperated into sections defined by period, this book is a beauty to behold. I highly suggest checking it out. Even if you don't buy it... Just thumb through it. It's simply amazing!

Saturday, January 29, 2005

MP3: The Church

The Church had one of the few songs that really touched me when I was growing up.
Along with the Cure's "Pictures of You" and "Love Song" and Love and Rockets's "So Alive" the Church's "Under the Milky Way" became one of those songs that I'll have in my collection for the rest of my life.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Daily Comic Strips

One of the great things about the internet is that we can get everything that we usually get from the newspaper in more variety, more volume and it's more accessable.

Take for instance comic strips.

Over here is King Features Syndicate's comics. These include:
Amazing Spider-Man
Blondie
Dennis the Menace
Flash Gordon
Hagar the Horrible
Mandrake the Magician
Mother Goose and Grimm
The Phantom
Popeye
Prince Valiant

Creators Syndicate offers the following strips:
Andy Capp
Archie
B.C.
Heathcliff

Comics.com has several more, including:
Alley Oop
Liberty Meadows
Ripley's Believe It Or Not
Peanuts
Tarzan

uComics has a few more:
Annie
Dick Tracy
Garfield
Too Much Coffee Man

And over here you can view every daily Archie comic that's been printed since December 2000.

How's that for comics entertainment?

Saturday, January 22, 2005

How Many Bloggers Does It Take To...

...Meltdown Blogspot.com?

I've been having a hellacious time trying to get into my dashboard. I usually go in by clicking on the "Blogger" Icon in the top left of the page. And I've been getting an error saying, "document contains no data".

So I just started clicking the "get your own blog" link and signing in through there. Haven't had any problems there.

I wonder if anybody else is experiencing these problems. Of course, since it is a free service I really can't complain. So I won't.

Meanwhile I was reading in the news that bloggers are becoming very influential.
The Associated Press reported that "According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 27 percent of adults who go online in the United States read blogs. And blogs have greater impact because their readers tend to be policy makers and other influencers of public opinion, media experts say."

And they also state, "The growing influence of blogs is raising questions about whether they are becoming a new form of journalism and in need of more formal ethical guidelines or codes of conduct."

Hmmm... something to ponder about...

DCU #1



DCU #1, published by Excaliber Press, is the first issue of a fanzine devoted to DC Comics and their characters. The first issue focuses on the Doom Patrol, with articles about every incarnation thus far, including the latest controversial version by John Byrne.

One of these articles, "Doom Patrol: The Original Hard-Luck Heroes", was written by me and deals mostly with the first team that made it's debut in My Greatest Adventure.
DCU #1 is 32 pages and priced at $3.95.

Contents:
  • The New Old Doom Patrol! (a look at Byrne's revival)
  • The Doom Patrol: The Original Hard-Luck Heroes*
  • Kingdom of the Weird: Morrison's Doom Patrol
  • Hero History: The Golden Age Robotman
  • 8 Against Infinity (The DP/Challengers X-over!)
  • Villain Vital Statistics (The Brotherhood of Evil)
  • Byrne-ing Down the House: John Byrne's Other DC Work
  • Review: The Doom Patrol Archives
  • The Lost Doom Patrol (a look at the FIRST DP revival)
  • SUPERMYTHOLOGY (iconic images in DP)
  • Collecting DC (column by Jim Main on collecting DC merchandise)
  • PLUS: Trivia! Little known facts! and Fan Art!


  • I'm anxiously awaiting my complimentary copies so I can read all the other articles. I'm not only a writer... I'm a reader, too.

    To order a copy or get more information about DCU #1, go here.

    Friday, January 21, 2005

    MP3: The Clash


    So here I am looking for good punk music and I come across the Clash. Staying together for just ten years, the Clash made a big impact on the British punk scene. Using a bit of reggae in their music even helped spur the birth of ska-punk in the mid-'80s.

    Here is "Rudie Can't Fail" for your enjoyment.

    Thursday, January 20, 2005

    Fanfic: Moon Knight - Night of the Demon, Chapter Three: Dance With the Devil

    Continued from here.

    Moon Knight finds himself overwhelmed by the sheer force of the demon-man's attack. His foe is more powerful than any normal man. Could it be, he thinks to himself, that the man he fights truly is a demon? And how could he know about Khonshu? Unless... He is a demon!

    In the midst of their fight, Moon Knight sees the three men return from their search, followed by the others he had seen previously. They look on. He thinks he hears one of them call the demon, "Master".

    Knowing now that his opponent is not human, he begins to use more deadly attacks. Taking one of his crescent darts, he slashes the demon's face.

    "Aaarrggh!"

    It appears to do nothing more than aggravate the demon.

    "The anchor!" Lady Florence shouts out. "Destroy the anchor!"

    "What!?" Moon Knight exclaims as he gets a severe punch to the left side of his face.

    "The crystal pendant!" she explains, "It's keeping them here. Like an anchor."

    In his fight with the demon, he searches for the pendant. Seeing it hanging from his neck, Moon Knight reaches for it.

    The demon quickly catches his hand, and says, "Not that easy, Fist of Khonshu!"

    The demon squeezes. He can feel the bones in his right hand begin to break.

    "Destroy the anchor!" Lady Florence says again, "Do it now!"

    "Shut up!" the demon says, glancing over to her.

    With his hand screaming in pain, Moon Knight butts his head against the demon's. Reaching up with his other hand, he grabs the pendant and snatches it off of his neck.

    Seeing this, the demon goes to grab his other hand. Moon Knight drops the crystal pendant to the floor and crushes it under his foot.

    "Nooooo!" the demon screams.

    Immediately the demon's strength began to wane. Moon Knight could feel himself overpowering his foe now. When the other men see that their "Master" is losing, they all join in to save him.

    He feels swarmed by these men. Their punches come from every direction. He feels them crushing against his back. He can feel the air being knocked out of him. He can feel the punches getting faster and faster. He can feel the punches getting harder and... softer?

    Moon Knight tries to focus his fight dazed eyes. Looking more closely at his foes, he discovers that they're starting to disappear. They are fading into nothing.

    When his foes are completely gone, he stumbles over to Florence.

    "Thank God you happened upon me." She says, "If they had stayed in physical form past midnight, the spell would have been irreversible."

    "What... What were they?"

    "Demons from another realm. From what I gather, the leader's name was Valcur. They had intercepted an attempt of mine to find someone." She explains, "You see, I have been studying about Houdini and the seances that he and his wife performed to talk beyond the grave. They weren't successful, mind you, but I think I might have found something. Or so I thought."

    "Everything seems alright now." Moon Knight said. "Might I suggest a bit of caution before doing something like this again?"

    "I figured the protection spell was all that was necessary. But I was mistaken." Florence looks at his broken hand. "I'm truly sorry."

    "Damn you, woman! Why don't you listen?"

    "Huh?" she looks at his face. It seems distorted. Twisted. Almost as if... He's changed.

    He goes to grab her but is held back by an invisible force.

    "Lady," he says to her, "you don't know what you've done to this man. The Fist of Khonshu. I might not be able to harm you with that spell you have up, but he is a different story."

    "No!"

    Moon Knight's face goes blank and his body falls to the floor. She could see tears begin to roll down his face. She feels that she can hear his soul cry out.

    ...to be continued...

    (Moon Knight is copyright 2005 Marvel Comics)

    Shanna the Naked She-Devil!


    Here are some pages from Shanna the She-Devil #1, coming out soon from Marvel Comics.

    The originals:



    And here are the (ahem) "corrected" pages:



    And here's the cover to #2:




    Looks like Marvel's finally discovered how to make a "mature readers" book. Or at least one that the under-18 crowd can be envious of.

    Shanna the She-Devil is written and drawn by Frank Cho (Liberty Meadows), which is reason enough to get it.
    #1 will be out on February 2nd with a Mature Readers tag and will sell for $3.50.

    Wednesday, January 19, 2005

    The Pulp Action Continues


    In my last two blogs about Hard Case Crime I reported of their first four books, Grifter's Game, Fade to Blonde, Top of the Heap and Little Girl Lost. Somehow I managed to skip over talking about the two books released in November.


    "Two For the Money" is written by accomplished crime-fiction writer Max Allan Collins (Road to Perdition), who's written not only crime novels but his share of Batman books. The cover is done by Mark Texeira, also known for his comic work, especially his run on Wolverine.

    Here's the blurb for the book:
    "To wipe the slate clean with an old enemy, professional thief Nolan agrees to pull one last bank heist — but when he’s double-crossed, he’ll stop at nothing to get back what’s his. Fortunately, Nolan has a couple of things going for him: an uncanny knack for survival and an unmatched hunger for revenge..."

    It sounds like a fun ride.


    Then we have "The Confession", written by Domenic Stansberry with a cover by Richard B. Farrell. I don't know much about these creators, but the book does look to be interesting:

    "Jake Danser has it all: a beautiful wife, a house in the California hills, a high-profile job as a forensic psychologist. But he’s also got a mistress. And when Jake’s mistress is found strangled to death with his necktie, it’s up to him to prove he didn’t do it. But how can he, when all the evidence says he did?"

    I must add that Hard Case Crime has a sample chapter, usually the first, for each of their books available online. Read a few and see if they're to your liking.

    The next set of books are due to be released in March.

    Hard Case Crime is one endeavor that I hope to see make it work. It would be nice to see an outlet for hardboiled crime-fiction that's not only enjoyable and easy to afford but also easy to find. I don't think I've ever seen a pulp cover in a Wal-Mart before. But now I have. And maybe that mass distribution will not only find the eager hands of those who starve for such entertainment but it may also lead to several others becoming new fans of the genre.

    Me, Myself and U

    I know I don't spend enough time on my blog posting about me and my personal experiences. What do I do? Who am I, really?

    Well... let's see... where to begin...?

    Guess I'll just fill in the blanks at the most logical areas first.

    From the Republic of Replicants Who's Who files:


    (Picture taken from top secret surveillence)

    Name: Leroy ("Lee") Stone
    Alter Ego: Kossori
    Occupation: small time corporate wage-slave
    Marital Status: Single
    Known Relatives: a mother, a father (wherabouts unknown), stepfather (deceased), a brother, an aunt, an uncle (deceased) and several cousins
    Group Affiliation: Junior Chamber of Commerce, Krogers Plus, Blockbuster
    Base of Operations: Somewhere in East Texas
    First Appearance: November 20, 1971
    Eyes: Hazel (switch from blue to green)
    Hair: Brown (usually buzzed)


    (modified version of the original 'Nuther World Comics logo)

    History: Lee Stone was born in a small town deep in the hidden regions of Texas. Growing up in a disfunctional family that made the Simpsons look normal, Lee discovered that he had a fondness for comics.

    His first attempt to draw something was a crude redrawing of a cover to Power Man & Iron Fist.

    Later, while in the fourth grade, Lee began to show interest in writing as well when he started to do what he later discovered to be called "fan-fiction"- writing stories of the characters from Star Wars.

    Not really receiving much encouragement, aside from the usual motherly "he draws so wonderfully", Lee had pondered about giving up on it. Whatever "it" was. But then, in the eighth grade, he began to really focus on art. Doing a sketch of Jody Watley for a classmate, Lee found that if he disciplined himself and put forth an effort, he could create pieces of worthwhile art.

    But alas, this was shortlived as Lee suffered from a severe allergy that would keep him out of school most of his eighth grade year. And when his art teacher, whom he respected more than anyone else, accused him of missing school because of drugs, Lee quit school.

    And then got a GED.

    After a while of trying to decide what to do next, and enjoying the freedom that comes from no school (and not yet having a job), Lee decided that he would go to college. But not just any college... An art college!

    First came the ambition. Lee began to draw a lot more. He checked out books from the library about creating and presenting portfolios. Then came the disappointment.

    Lee called the art college and, although met with a cheerful encouragement, was forewarned that he may want to get some art credits at a high school or junior college before making the trip.

    So then came another milestone in Lee's life as he did the unthinkable: He went back to school. While his original class was graduating, he was entering the ninth grade.
    Here began the great friendships that Lee has kept longer than any others.

    Also at this time, because of his age, Lee was seen by many of the school's lower caste as a narc and was treated very nicely. Which he thought was pretty cool. He even played with the idea, since no one really confronted him about it and it was kept pretty much to whispers behind his back. He even went to school a few times with a fake P.I. badge attached to the inside of his denim jacket. Letting it fall into the view of select persons at various times.

    Lee also had a few girlfriends in high school. None really all that important now, but back then they seemed much more than they were.

    While Lee went back to school just to get art creds for college, he was faced with a decision. He had to take the basics: math, english, history, etc. but found he had to choose a second elective. Art was the first. The second? Drama.

    And so the next problem arose.

    Drama and art were both becoming Lee's favorite studies. So much that now he was torn. He couldn't decide if he wanted to continue pursuing the art degree or go into acting. And then there was the one that snuck in from nowhere: the writing.

    To help clear up his head about this matter he set out to use each of his talents in a UIL competition. A UIL competition was generally a Drama/Theatre competition that incorporated several aspects of the theatre from writing to acting to make-up and was participated by the High Schools of the set district.

    For this specific competition Lee wrote a one-act play, performed a monologue, took part in a team improv and created a promotional poster. What Lee determined would be the deciding factor would be whichever he was to do best in.
    Unfortunately, he did equally well with everything, receiving blue or red ribbons for each of his endeavors.

    And then something else happened. His girlfriend at the time dropped out of school. And just like any other guy who had spent the last few years planning his college experience would do, he followed suit.

    After school Lee started working various jobs. At this stage he didn't have any responsibilities and any money he made went on entertainment. Thus, the jobs were mostly short-lived. As was the relationship that got him to leave school again.

    However, he eventually found that waiting tables was the perfect job for him and continued to do so for roughly seven years before adding managing and bartending to his skills.

    During the last few years, Lee has been looking for the one job that will get him back out of debt. Debt which hit him all at once back in the end of 2001 and beginning of 2002 when his stepfather died of cancer and his mom suffered a severe heart attack five months later. She got better, but she was in ICU for over a week.
    Lee missed much work during this time. About two weeks each time.

    The first time set him back on his credit card bills. Bills he hadn't even had until 2001 when he discovered what "credit" was. Then he had to consolidate through CCCS.

    The second time set him back again and he missed his CCCS payments which didn't help his standing with the creditors.

    Then five months later his uncle died of cancer, as well. Which was even worse for his mom since it was her brother.

    Although there was one good thing that occured during this time. And that was that Lee began to take the time out to write and draw again.
    Buying "Understanding Comics" and "Writing the Action/Adventure Movie" gave him something to read while staying the days at the hospital that was miles from home.

    He had dipped into writing a year or so earlier when he wrote a Moon Knight fan-fic that was posted on the internet. Now he had decided to bring something he had originally toyed with in high school into reality- 'Nuther World Comics.

    In high school, Lee had an art teacher who, like all art teachers, considered comics a waste of talent. When he suggested the idea of a classroom comic that could be used as a means to promote their works as well as generate excitement about art in general, she met him with doubt. She didn't feel it would be "artistic" enough. However, she said that if he wanted to go ahead and do it, she'd love to see the result.

    He was in the process of doing that very thing when he dropped back out.

    So then, years later, Lee chose to bring back 'Nuther World Comics and use it as a means of entertainment, putting to use the things he had learned from writing and drawing. And it was pretty much like movies but with a cast that you didn't have to hire.

    Getting a job as a night auditor at a local hotel, he found he had plenty of spare time in the wee hours of the night and began working on his first comic. He also started to study the works of Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, Mike Allred, Howard Chaykin, Bill Sienkiewicz and Jay Stephens.

    His first comic, 'Nuther World Comics #0, started out as a web-comic. It was posted on a regular basis every other day or so. Once he had enough pages, he printed them into a digest-sized comic and took it with him to his first ever Comic Book Convention.

    'NWC #0 gave an indication of what he needed to work on and he soon found that a sure sign of growing is seeing your mistakes. And once #0 had been out for a while, Lee began to focus more on anatomy.

    A year later, 'NWC #1 was released, featuring characters that had appeared in #0. While his anatomy was getting better, he had started to pay less attention to backgrounds which would become his next obstacle.

    Meanwhile, Lee has also found that it's real hard to find the time to write or draw when you have a full-time job.

    Currently, he's hard at work on the next issue of 'NWC with hopes of getting more than one issue out this year as well as a side project which he's keeping a secret until he knows it's done.

    Also recently he's begun a blog where he posts ramblings, reviews and commentary about various things, including comics.


    (do we really know the extent of Lee's abilities?)

    Powers/Weapons: Lee has been known to persuade people. Usually it can only work on one person at a time. But he has been known to manipulate more than one person given the right circumstances.

    He also has the keen ability to hide at a second's notice. This often occurs when he's with friends at a store or mall, or at a festival of some sort.

    Another one of his powers has been to jinx someone into having a funny occurence happen to them. These are generally harmless and tend to be just him showing off his abilities.

    Lee also has a knife that he has never really used, except for widdling, which he once threatened to chase down and kill a dog with the night his cat got mauled on his front porch.

    And he's also adept at using bow and arrows.

    Unfortunately, Lee suffers from night blindness due to being near-sighted and must wear corrective lenses. Especially when driving at night.

    And he stares too long at computer screens.

    Monday, January 17, 2005

    Gravedigger: The Scavengers


    After a long wait, I finally got Gravedigger: The Scavengers. For those not familiar with it, Scavengers brings Christopher Mills and Rick Burchett's Pulp-filled Gravedigger web-comic to the printed page.

    Mills is no stranger to pulp or webcomics as he has been doing Femme Noir with the very talented Joe Staton on art.

    I have something of a fondness for adventure comic strips like Tarzan, Flash Gordon, Phantom, etc. And when you add the element of pulp fiction, something that can really milk the constant cliffhangers, you got me hooked.

    The printed version of Gravedigger is done in "widescreen" format (where you turn the comic sideways to read it) to allow for the comic to be reproduced with no alterations.

    Only problem I have with it is that now after the printed version is out, you can't find the original online anymore.

    I remember when it, Athena Voltaire and others were easy to find.

    Here's hoping that someone will put Mills' Femme Noir series into paper form, too.

    Gravedigger: The Scavengers has been named the Best One-Shot (Adult) comic of 2004 by Alan David Doane of Comic Book Galaxy, and the Best Crime Noir comic of 2004 by Andrea Speed of Comixtreme.com.
    It's one hell of a fun ride.


    For more information or to order your own copy go to Gravedigger Comic.com.

    MP3: Joss Stone


    It's hard to listen to Joss Stone and not come away with a sense of awe. This young lady sounds just as accomplished as any musical vocalist. If not better.

    Hearing her you can see that talent is what her career is based on, as opposed to pop demographics.

    Now with two albums under her belt, she has yet to give in to the commerciallism which is Britney or Christina. I like to think of artists such as her, Norah Jones and Jill Scott as a spark of hope that the music does still matter.

    Here is Joss Stone's cover of The White Stripes' "Fell in Love With a Girl", retitled "Fell in Love With a Boy".

    This Week in Comics - Shipping 01/19/05

    Time once again for the comic book round-up, featuring my three picks of the week.


    BIRDS OF PREY #78
    Written by Gail Simone
    Art by Tom Derenick & Bob Petrecca
    Cover by Ryan Sook

    Part 3 of the 4-part “Hero Hunters,” with action-packed guest art by Tom Derenick (SMALLVILLE) and a cover by Ryan Sook (ARKHAM ASYLUM: LIVING HELL)! In this issue, the Birds face the terrifying, life-stealing vigilante Harvest, and one member of the team may pay the ultimate price for her past!

    On sale Jan 19 :: 32 pages :: $2.50 US

    Birds of Prey is one of the few fun, super-hero buddy books. And it has some of the most clever and witty writing out there thanks to Gail Simone.

    Ms. Simone has made such an impression with her creative talents that DC has given her one of the Superman books and a JLA run. Congratulations to her. And I hope it doesn't have the same effect that Brian (100 Bullets) Azzarello's Batman and Superman runs had on him.
    There were no previews available for BIRDS OF PREY #78.


    TRIGGER #2
    Written by Jason Hall
    Art and cover by John Watkiss

    The thrill-packed ongoing series continues as Deirdre Myers — a no-nonsense investigative reporter for the daily newsfeed The Relative Truth — looks for answers to a series of mysterious murders and their relation to the shadowy Triggers.

    On sale Jan 19 :: 32 pages :: $2.95 US :: MATURE READERS

    I still have yet to get the first issue to this. It's sitting in a box at the distant-local comic shop.

    However, the story, which had been hyped as a Blade Runner-inspired one, has really gotten my attention. And with art by Watkiss, a former artist on Sandman Mystery Theater, it has to be at least checked out.
    There were no previews available for TRIGGER #2.


    DAREDEVIL #69
    Written by Brian Michael Bendis
    Art & Cover by Alex Maleev

    "Golden Age" Part 4 (of 4)
    With Daredevil down for the count, a new hero must rise!!! Who carries the legacy of the White Tiger? The Eisner award-winning team of Bendis and Maleev continue to tell the story of the original Kingpin!
    January 19 :: 32 pages :: Marvel PSR :: $2.99

    It's the end of the Golden Age story, featuring the Kingpin-before-Kingpin.

    This series just keeps on entertaining. It's too bad that Bendis and Maleev are leaving the title at the end of the year. They've really turned the book into a must-read title.
    Preview DAREDEVIL #69 here.

    Review: Elektra


    I went and saw Elektra the night before it was released thanks to my friends al the local movie theater.

    It was not bad. But it wasn't very good, either.

    I thought they could have done better with a smaller cast of villains and an attempt to continue the story past the midpart of the movie.
    They could have dropped two of the villains easily. Stone and whatshisname...? The guy with the coin? Does anyone know what his name is?

    It started out (slow) with a story then turned into mindless fighting and then they pretty much cleaned up the set and revisited the story for an ending. And the fights were either overdrawn (like Kirigi, or whatever his name is) or anti-climatic, like Stone and Tattoo.

    Way too simple of a movie where the filmmakers thought by adding more characters would give it a level of complexity. Which it didn't.

    None of the villains had any characterization. Unless you count slo-mo posing during their intro, or the slo-mo Typhoid forest walk or the Typhoid-Elektra slo-mo kiss.

    Kirigi had a hint of character when he first talked to his dad. Then... nothing. And his connection to Elektra could have made an interesting angle. But it was pretty much treated as insignificant compared to the fight scenes.

    And the only other character to show promise was Typhoid, who after all the posing came off to me as someone attempting to bring Janet Jackson's fashion sense to the big screen. She teased us with the "I was once the chosen one", only to be killed minutes later. Yes, Typhoid was pretty cool, but nothing really quite substantial came of her. She just looked good.

    So... what do we have?

    Too much stuff thrown into one movie which keeps any of it from seeming important. Leaving the viewer with little care for any of the characters.

    I give it a C. And that's because it is a decent movie, as far as superhero movies go. But it's not a good movie that could beat out anything non-superhero.

    I just hope Jennifer Garner got paid a lot for this film, because it may not have been the best movie for her career.

    Thursday, January 13, 2005

    Some More Art

    While I was cleaning out my old 'Nuther World Comics website I found these pics that I had almost forgotten about.

    Both of these are what I would call studies as I used actual photgrapghs as reference.
    And as you can tell, back in 1990 I thought Madonna was hot. At least she made a great model. :-)


    Cover to single "Vogue".


    Cover to single "Keep it Together".

    I think the best drawing I did around that time was a pencilled portrait of Jody Watley that I did for a girl in school. I even photocopied it so I could have a copy to show. But I don't know what ever happened to it.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2005

    Vertigo: First Taste


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Official Press Release

    Six thrilling VERTIGO #1 issues are collected at the low price of just $4.99 in VERTIGO: FIRST TASTE, a 160-page trade paperback coming in April!

    This VERTIGO primer serves as a great introduction to six acclaimed VERTIGO series, and features tales by Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Brian K. Vaughan, Brian Azzarello, Warren Ellis, and Si Spencer, with art by Eduardo Risso, Chris Bachalo, Steve Bissette & John Totleben, Pia Guerra, Darick Robertson and others.

    "For those readers who haven't gotten a taste of these incredible titles, your excuses are up!" says Karen Berger, VP - Executive Editor, VERTIGO. "This is the perfect opportunity to get the first bite of some of VERTIGO's definitive and popular series, and experience the first sensation of some powerful and riveting work."

    "FIRST TASTE is a tremendous value for readers," says Bob Wayne, DC's VP - Sales & Marketing. "$4.99 is a great price for six classic stories - in fact, it's less than the price of two new VERTIGO titles."

    The stories collected in the VERTIGO: FIRST TASTE TP are:

    * 100 BULLETS #1, written by Brian Azzarello with art by Eduardo Risso
    * THE BOOKS OF MAGIC: LIFE DURING WARTIME #1, plotted by Neil Gaiman & Si Spencer and written by Spencer with art by Dean Ormston
    * DEATH: THE HIGH COST OF LIVING #1, written by Gaiman with art by Chris Bachalo & Mark Buckingham
    * SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #21, written by Alan Moore with art by Steve Bissette & John Totleben
    * TRANSMETROPOLITAN #1, written by Warren Ellis with art by Darick Robertson & Jerome K. Moore
    * Y: THE LAST MAN #1, written by Brian K. Vaughan with art by Pia Guerra & José Marzan Jr.

    The VERTIGO: FIRST TASTE TP will be solicited in the February issue of Previews (Volume XV #2). It is suggested for mature readers, and is scheduled to arrive in stores on April 6 with a cover price of $4.99 U.S.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I highly reccomend that you check this out. Six books for five dollars! 160 pages! Five dollars! All first issues! FIVE DOLLARS!!!

    Now, I've read most of these books collected and can shed a bit of light on them.

    Everyone that's been reading my blog knows that I really like 100 Bullets. This has the first issue which introduces us to Dizzy and Agent Graves. 100 Bullets, like I've said before, is best read in trades. If you find yourself liking this representation of Azzarello and Risso's breakthrough hit go out and find First Shot, Last Call, the trade paperback reprinting the first several issues.

    Books of Magic: Life During Wartime didn't really click with me. And I was one of the people who read, and enjoyed, the previous Books of Magic series. I don't know why, but it just didn't have the same charm. The original mini-series (written by Neil Gaiman) can be found in one book, Books of Magic and I would reccomend that one to start with instead. Then go into the first regular series with Bindings.

    Death: The High Cost of Living was THE book that announced Vertigo as an imprint to be reckoned with. Sandman, Shade the Changing Man, Animal-Man, the Doom Patrol, Hellblazer and Swamp Thing had all been going for a while before they were brought together (thanks to editor Karen Berger) under the umbrella that became Vertigo. You cannot read this book without wanting to read more stuff by Neil Gaiman. And if you do, check out the first collection of his Sandman series, titled Preludes and Nocturnes. And there's a trade collecting the full three issues of The High Cost of Living, also.

    Saga of the Swamp Thing, by Alan Moore is one of the books that led to not only the creation of Vertigo but also the emergence of comics into a serious literary form.
    If it wasn't for Swamp Thing we wouldn't have had Watchmen. Moore's run on Swamp Thing won several awards and is just an amazing thing to read. Swamp Thing Volume 1: Saga of the Swamp Thing brings issues 21 through 27 under one cover.

    Transmetropolitan is a strange beast. Either you really love it or you really just... don't get it. I was one of the ones who didn't get it. I guess I just didn't spend the time needed to actually get to know the lead character. But if you do find the story entertaining, and Ellis is good at entertaining, check out the rest of Transmetropolitan, beginning with Back on the Street.

    Y: The Last Man is a recent gem in Vertigo's crown. It has garnered a lot of fan praise and critic acclaim. The story of one man left alive after a plague wipes out mankind from the planet. Sounds bleak, doesn't it? Notice I said MANkind. The women were left alone. So... you have one man... and a planet of women... What could go wrong? If you want to read more, Unmanned is the book to get.

    I was surprised that a few books were left out of First Taste: Hellblazer, Preacher, Fables and Lucifer. All three are worthy of inclusion. Of course, I can see the release of the Hellblazer trades the previous month covering ground for it. But Fables and Lucifer are both books that deserve attention. For a good impression of Hellblazer check out Constantine: The Hellblazer Collection. Timed to co-incide with the movie it includes reprints of key events in the series as well as the movie adaptation.

    Preacher is a book to be read to be understood. The lead character is literally a preacher who gains the power to make people do what he suggests. Call it "motivational". The series lasted a good long time and began with Gone to Texas.

    Fables is a book about all the different fairy-tale characters going AWOL and moving into the real world. It reads better than it sounds, trust me. You can pick up Legends in Exile to see what the fuss is about.

    And Lucifer is about... well guess. Actually a spin-off from Sandman, the main character, Lucifer Morningstar, is out to reclaim his throne. I never really read any of the issues. Just didn't appeal much to me. It has, however, become pretty popular. You can check it out with Devil in the Gateway.

    One series that I loved, Sandman Mystery Theater has only recently been focused on in trades and I would suggest anyone who likes pulp magazine fiction to try it out. The Tarantula is the first book reprinting the series. Set in the 1930s with a 1990s mentality (written by Matt Wagner), the book lasted over five years. The character, Sandman, unrelated to Neil Gaiman's Sandman, was a costumed mystery man who fought crime much like the Shadow or Batman when he was first created. The difference being the higher level of subject matter and the deep characterization that filled the book. The Sandman ended up in more adventures during this series than he was in his original title back in the '40s.

    One last book to tell you about. This one isn't available in trades, yet. It's Shade the Changing Man. Starting with issue #33 (the first under the Vertigo imprint) Peter Milligan and Chris Bachalo told a fantastic tale of a slightly psychotic hero and those around him. During this run the lead characters discovered that they acted as magnets for weird and strange beings or occurances and decided to set up shop in an old hotel. If ambient was a term to define comics, this would be one of the books to be listed. Too bad it's not in paperback. But it can still be found in it's original form.

    A word of caution: Vertigo can cause impairment of reasoning. And it can also result in temporal reality shifting. Read some and see if I kid.

    I remember the first time I read any Vertigo comics. I was there when it begun. It was around the same time as I started listening to electronica. It was almost like being on drugs. But without the drugs.

    MP3: The Pixies


    "If Man is five... and the Devil is six...
    Then God is seven..."

    Fans are a strange breed. They'll do anything to get other people to check out the things they like. Even give away stuff.

    I recall the first time I ever heard The Pixies. I was at a party and everyone was pretty sloshed. Anyway, the conversation of music came up and once I mentioned that I liked stuff like '80s-'90s Modern Rock/Post Punk, preferrably The Cure, Depeche Mode and Siouxsie, this one weird guy goes "Dude!! You gotta check out The Pixies!!"

    And after a bit of a dig in his truck he comes back with a cassette. And gives it to me.

    Never heard of the guy since.

    However, I did listen to the cassette. And given the weird presentation I was not sure what to think of them. I will say that now, years later, they have gained my respect and are slowly finding their way into my musical tastes. It was just odd that I had never really heard of them before.

    Not actually. I think I do remember hearing about them on MTV's old 120 Minutes show. But nothing that stood out to me at the time.

    And I'm really surprised. Songs like "Monkey Gone To Heaven" have a distinct sound and charm to them. Listening to it again, I get a kind of Cure/White Stripes feel from it now. Definitely post-punk. But with a bit more punk. And a little more post.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2005

    Big Brother's Watching...

    Oooohh... Look at the cool lil' toy I found...

    Some of you may notice that I now have a tracker at the bottom that shows where people are coming from. It's called a referral listing program.

    I saw one of these over at Psychbloke's website and over at
    Loki's website so I just had to get my own. :-)

    Not only will it allow me to give credit where credit is due, but also points me to sites that I wasn't familiar with, myself.

    Also... something else I found out about through Psychbloke a while back was a place called Kinja. Kinja is a weblog guide that you can set up to track specific blogs for you. As the blogs are updated it shows an excerpt of the post with a link to it. And it's free.

    One of the easiest ways to stay up to date with as many blogs as you want.
    Here's mine.

    Monday, January 10, 2005

    Watch This Space!


    I've set up a second Blog for my comic project, 'Nuther World Comics.
    As I work on the current issue, I'll be posting the pages of the previous two issues.
    Here's the link: 'Nuther World Comics.

    Some Art

    As you can see, I've started posting the rest of my Moon Knight fanfic.
    I also dug out some old drawings to share with everyone.

    I'm beginning work on my next comic and I should be revealing something about it pretty soon.

    In the meantime, here's a few drawings I've done of a few DC and Marvel comics characters.


    Marvel's Juggernaut


    DC's Death


    Marvel's Black Cat

    Fanfic: Moon Knight - Night of the Demon, Chapter Two: Meetings

    After running for several blocks, Moon Knight finds the man he's looking for. But there's someone else with him now. He looks just like the first guy. They appear to be identical in every way.

    He decides to stay back and see what they are up to. Maybe he can find out something that will give him an upper hand.

    There's something strange about these men, he thinks. Like they aren't all there. Something in the eyes. Like they're hollow.

    Wait...

    Someone else is approaching them.

    It's another one. He also looks the same as the others.

    Moon Knight wonders at the strangeness of this situation. How can there be three of these men who look exactly alike? And what is it about their eyes that disturbs him so?

    They're moving now, going north up the street. He decides to follow them quietly in hopes of finding the answers to his questions.

    After about ten minutes of trailing the men, they arrive at the front of a curio shop, named "Lady Florence's". The glass door has been shattered.

    He watches as three more men meet them. They, too, look just like the first man.

    As they are making their greetings, another man appears from inside the shop. After a few words, they follow him into the darkness of the store.

    "Hmmm..." Moon Knight thinks out loud, "This is seriously odd. Now I'm not quite sure which one attacked the man, but I see a greater mystery developing. I wonder if there's another way in..."

    Darting into the alley next to the shop, he searches for the rear entrance to the store. Once found, Moon Knight attempts to unlock the door without arousing any attention.

    After he successfully picks the lock, he slowly opens the door.

    Glancing in, he sees a small room with boxes and various other packages lying around. It appears to be used for storage. At the other end of the room is another door.

    Quietly making his way across the room, he hears voices.

    "Tell me or I'll let you live your life out in pain and misery."

    It was a deep and commanding voice, full of power. It makes the threat seem plausible.

    The door was shut but not locked. Carefully turning the knob, he opens the door just enough to see into the next room.

    What he does see in there is a site not soon forgotten. In the corner of the room, lit by dozens of candles, stands a woman. She seems frightened. He could also see three of the men he was following. They're standing around a chalk hexagram on the floor looking at old books, ripping out pages. Then there was him. The one who Moon Knight believes made the boisterous threat. This one was different from the others and had an aura of assertiveness about him.

    Lady Florence looked at the man before her and said, "I'll tell you nothing, demon!"

    Demon? Moon Knight thought to himself, what have I stepped into?

    "Really?" the one called "demon" replied, "We'll have to see about that..."

    Taking one of the candles, he goes to torch some papers.

    A crescent dart finds itself stuck in his wrist and he drops the candle. Surprised, the "demon" turns to see who would do such a thing. He sees nothing but a half open door.

    Not wanting to leave his prey, he sends the other three men to find the cause of the interruption.

    Outside, Moon Knight watches from a fire escape as the men go searching for him. When they are far enough away, he reenters the building.

    "Now, Lady, " the demon-man begins, "you will tell me what I need to know."

    "I will not!" she exclaims, "It was a mistake to even go this far. You cannot hurt me. I've seen to that."

    "You did well to cast a protection spell upon yourself, Lady. It was the only wise thing you did, I must say. However, there are others who do not share your gifts. One in particular, A budding new flower that I shall cut down before it's grown too big."

    "Eddie..." she says, realizing who he is talking about, "You will not harm the boy!"

    "Ah... But if you do not be more cooperative, I will have to do unthinkable things to him. You wouldn't want that, would you?"

    "You wouldn't dare!"

    "Do you wish to see? Would you like to try me?" the demon-man looks at her with an evil grin, "I really have nothing else to do."

    Well, let's see if I can find something for you", Moon Knight says, making his presence known.

    "A follower of Khonshu." The demon-man says, "You will be easily dealt with. Especially on a night like this, when your strength is at its weakest."

    He lunges at Moon Knight, "And mine is at its fullest!"


    ...to be continued...

    Read the last part here.

    (Moon Knight is copyright 2005 Marvel Comics)

    MP3: Tori Amos

    I wasn't planning on running another Tori MP3 just yet.
    However, I've come across a performance of one of her new songs.
    The song was "Hoochie Woman" and it was broadcast on French radio France Inter, Jan 6, 2005.

    I've also heard the single for "Sleeps With Butterflies" and it sounds very catchy.
    I reccomend everyone to check it out.

    I'm only going to post one of the two songs.
    Ah, hell!
    Here's both of them:

    "Hoochie Woman"
    "Sleeps With Butterflies"

    These won't be up long. I'll be leaving "Hoochie Woman" up until I need space for something else, but "Sleeps With Butterflies" will only be up until the end of the week.

    Both songs are from her upcoming album, Beekeeper. Be sure to pick it up if you like what you hear.

    This Week in Comics - Shipping 01/12/05

    Time for this week's selections of four-color excitement!


    GOTHAM CENTRAL #27
    Written by Ed Brubaker
    Art by Jason Alexander
    Cover by Michael Lark

    Featuring guest artist Jason Alexander (Queen and Country)! After a robbery gone wrong, Catwoman is the prime suspect in the murder of a televangelist. Josie Mac knows better, but how can she tell her partner the evidence points elsewhere?

    On sale Jan 12 :: 32 pages :: $2.50 US

    We get art from Greg Rucka's co-hort from Queen and Country as we wonder what will become of this title now that Lark is gone.
    In the meantime we get a wonderful cover by Lark featuring one of the characters Brubaker's best known for writing.

    Catwoman was one of the most innovative comics when it was relaunched a few years ago with a crime-noir style. Between it, Gotham Central and Sleeper, Brubaker has set himself up as a superior crime writer. Unfortunately, DC decided to return Catwoman to the status quo of her previous series with #25 and the pulp flair was all but gone.

    It's a real treat to see Catwoman in the pages of Gotham Central. Too bad Lark couldn't do the interiors as I think he has done a great job re-interpreting DC's minions of Gotham in a way that makes them all the more real. The cover is nice, though.
    There's no preview available for GOTHAM CENTRAL #27.


    100 BULLETS #57
    Written by Brian Azzarello
    Art by Eduardo Risso
    Cover by Dave Johnson

    This is it: the shocking conclusion to “Wylie Runs the Voodoo Down!” With the stage set and the major players in order, it’s now time for the big showdown between Wylie, Sheppard, Dizzy and Graves. The trail of bodies has been a long one so far, but not as long as the trail of tears will be…

    On sale Jan 12 :: 32 pages :: $2.50 US :: MATURE READERS

    Yay! The Wylie story is ending.

    Wait... Before you misunderstand me... I'm not saying it's a bad story. Really.
    You see...

    I haven't read any of it, yet.

    Let me explain.

    I read 100 Bullets in trade paperback form up until "Chill in the Oven" which was the first story that I picked up in regular form. The reason? Batman.

    Oh... Another cause that needs explanation...

    You see... I was quite content with reading 100 Bullets in trade and I previously had only select issues in original form (#26 and 27 -because they were my first exposure to the title and #9 -Cole's first appearance). Then one day Azzarello and Risso decide to do Batman. Good for them. Bad for 100 Bullets as it gets put into a bi-monthly schedule until their run on Batman is completed.

    Now these trade paperbacks I've been reading... They reprint a whole story, usually months after it's finished. And I was content with that, like I said. However, when 100 Bullets started coming out bi-monthly, I knew that it was going to be that much longer before it's collected into book format. So I did the most logical thing: I bought the individual issues.

    Only problem with that is something that any reader of 100 Bullets will tell you. It reads better in trades. So... I got into the habit of letting the issues sit until I had the full story before I read it.

    Which brings us to the current issue. Seeing that it's the final part of the Wylie story, I finally get to read it. Yes, it's a strange way to go about doing things, but it has it's good points.

    I get to read the whole story in one sitting and I don't have to wait longer for the paperback version.

    BTW- For those who are either new to the series or just need a frequent refresher, I present to you two very good resources.
    The first one, 100 B.U.L.L.E.T.S is a great fansite that includes detailed information on each of the characters as well as recent news about the series.
    Then we have "Catching Up" with 100 Bullets, a fantastic primer on everything that's happened so far. WARNING: Full of spoilers if you haven't read any or all of the series.
    And, of course, I guess I could mention my own recent review, also.
    Preview 100 BULLETS #57 here.


    ULTIMATES 2 #2
    Written by Mark Millar
    Pencils & Cover by Bryan Hitch

    "Gods & Monsters" Part 2 (of 5)
    Who leaked the most terrible secret the Ultimates keep, and what does it have to do with Banner? Captain America takes matters into his own hands and confronts ex-Ultimates member Mighty Thor! Plus — a bizarre session between Bruce Banner and the most powerful telepath on Earth — Charles Xavier!

    January 12 :: 32 pages :: Marvel PSR+ :: $2.99

    Man, I'll be soooo glad once I get caught up on my comic orders.
    I still have Ultimates 2 #1 sitting in a box at the comic shop waiting for me.

    Anyway, this book easily made it into my top three books of the week.

    I have yet to read the first issue, as you may have guessed, so this is all based on my thoughts of the last series as well as preview art I've seen for the current run.

    Millar, while not the best of writers, does manage to balance widescreen action with down-to-earth characterization. And Hitch's art is just fantastic. If it wasn't for the way this team of creators meshed so well together I could quickly forget about Marvel's Ultimate line. It's the only thing that really interests me.

    And Warren Ellis' Ultimate Trilogy looked good. Up until they had someone fill in for Trevor Hairsine on Ultimate Nightmare. That was the main reason I was picking it up.
    There's no preview available for ULTIMATES 2 #2.

    Saturday, January 08, 2005

    MTV Renews Real World Until 2008

    MTV has decided to run Real World another three years.

    Oh, please! Let it end!
    Once the Real World gets the boot then we'll see the rest of 'reality tv' follow suit.
    I stopped watching network television because you can't ever find a drama or comedy. Everything I find now is just a different variation of the same Real World crap.

    However, I will say the parodies of 'reality' shows like Reno 911, Drawn Together and Surreal Life can be entertaining. At least something good did come out of this barren wasteland of lack of imagination.

    In good news, MTV may be giving Road Rules the axe.

    And, no, I don't watch MTV. Real World was the cause of my tuning it off. Now, MTV Hits, on the other hand... If I absolutely, positively have to watch music videos... That would be my choice.
    But I don't really find the desire to watch them anymore.

    Will Eisner 1917-2005


    Will Eisner, creator of the comic character The Spirit, passed away Monday night from complications after a quadruple bypass surgery. He was 87.

    My first exposure to his work was through Kitchen Sink Comics' reprints of his comic strips. Even then I saw that there was something he had. Something that somehow had been lost by other creators.

    He developed his characters with just enough distinction to where they were just shy of being caricatures of real people. They almost spilled with characterization, even without words.
    And his design and layout kept getting more and more unique as he continued working.

    The Spirit, probably his most popular creation, started in 1940 as a seven (later eight) page weekly strip that was the lead feature of a sixteen page newspaper insert.

    Will Eisner will always be an inspiration to cartoonists -those who write and draw comics or comic strips.

    Cartoonists have a certain charm that can't be duplicated by any artist/writer team. A cartoonist is in full contol of the story, from the story to the pictures the reader sees. It's completely his or her own creation.

    And Will Eisner showed us how it was done.

    DC Comics' Eulogy
    Will Eisner Bio Page

    Oh, the Horror!!


    Why is it that when I look at this picture I think of beached whales..?
    Is there anyway I can help with the cleanup?

    Monday, January 03, 2005

    MP3: Tracy Chapman


    While "Give Me One Reason" was probably the song that put Tracy on the map, the one song that stands out to me as her best work is "Fast Car". This song still commands my attention even after over fifteen years. It just overflows with feeling and truth.
    If anyone's lived a normal life with interaction with real people, have a neighborhood with wood houses and families struggling with bills, yet smiling because they have today... you can probably relate.

    I live in a small town and this song could easily be sung by almost everyone in it. There's very few people here who have it made. And most of those have moved out.
    But the ones that stay make the most out of it.

    I've seen some who have succumbed to the hopelessness. People on drugs or in gangs (yes, we have those). I've lost a few friends inadvertently because of such things.

    If anything, this song gives reason for blues as a musical genre. Some think that blues is meant to depress, by telling of depressing stories. Music to get drunk by, as some would say. In actuallity it is given to instill hope by hearing someone else who's facing such harsh conditions still look forward to a brighter day. Surely if they could then maybe we, with lesser problems than they, could, too.

    This Week in Comics - Shipping 01/05/05

    Here's another week of comics...


    THE QUESTION #3 (of 6)
    Written by Rick Veitch
    Art and cover by Tommy Lee Edwards

    The Question rains terror upon the Subterraneans’ criminal operations through Metropolis — striking those that fall “beneath” the eyes of the Man of Steel. Meanwhile, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen get the scoop on Luthor’s motivations behind the Science Spire.

    On sale Jan 5 :: 32 pages :: $2.95 US

    I'm reading this book and I think it's going pretty well. The artist's approach to the character and his perception of reality is innovative and tells the story nicely.

    It's a shame it's only a mini-series. We could use more books like The Question, Ms. Tree and Sandman Mystery Theatre.

    I just hope that the presence of comstume-clad super-heroes will be kept to a minimum. I don't generally like the two worlds mixing so freely. I had a similar problem with an issue of Daredevil that had the Avengers in it. Just didn't mesh.
    Preview THE QUESTION #3


    NEW AVENGERS #2
    Written by Brian Michael Bendis
    Pencils & Cover by Young Guns Artist David Finch

    "The Raft" Part 2 (of 5)
    It’s high-octane Avengers action from the ongoing creative team that makes you trade your aunt Betty to Johnny down the block if you miss an issue! Think you saw it all in Disassembled? As Doom would say, "bah, fool!"

    December 29 :: 32 pages :: Marvel PSR :: $2.25

    After reading Avengers Disassembled I was determined not to give this book a try. Kinda hard to do when it's written by one of the best writers at Marvel at the moment.

    I've been hearing great reviews for this new series. And most of them from the very people who dissed the Disassembled story. So perhaps it's safe to pick it up.

    And Finch's art is great to look at.
    Preview NEW AVENGERS #2


    CAPTAIN AMERICA #2
    Written by Ed Brubaker
    Pencils & Cover by Steve Epting

    Cap is awakened in the dead of the night by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. who need the kind of help only he can provide. But the corpse he finds on the Heli-carrier brings him face-to-face with the unthinkable, and opens doors to terror and manipulation that he never dreamed possible. Award-winning writer Ed Brubaker and phenomenal artist Steve Epting kick it into high gear, and fans will be stunned!

    December 29 :: 32 pages :: Marvel PSR :: $2.99

    Another book I wasn't planning on checking out. Surprising, considering it's written by another one of my fave writers.

    What finally got me to give it a look was the positive reviews on Brubaker's story and the inclusion of Michael Lark as artist as he's drawing all the World War II scenes while Epting does the modern day scenes.

    For those who don't know, Brubaker and Lark both worked on another favorite book of mine, Gotham Central. And this book gives me a little more of Lark's art before he takes over Pulse in March.
    Preview CAPTAIN AMERICA #2

    Sunday, January 02, 2005

    Alias Returns January 5th

    And I'm still in the middle of season 2.
    I really need a day off...
    Oh, wait that's what today was...

    LOL.

    Well... I can only get 40 hours at work. So surely I'll be spared a day this week. I'll have to spend that day watching Alias.

    Most likely, I'll be recording them to watch later.

    Plus, I heard Lost was created by the same guy who created Alias, which got my attention. And ABC is scheduling it and Alias back-to-back. I may start watching it, too.

    Happy New Year!!!

    I was hoping to get some stuff done around the house but just got called into work again.
    I'm really starting to understand the phrase "all work and no play".

    Anyway, enjoy the new year and plan for something positive. I know I am.

    And pray for the victims of the recent tsunami. And if you can, send a few dollars to help.