Thursday, March 31, 2005

Podcast Update

So I've been exploring the world of podcasts lately.
The most informative sites have been PodcastAlley.com (which has not only podcasts listed by genre but also a top ten chart), iPodder.org (another listing of podcasts), Podcast.net (yet another directory) and the most important of all: The New, New Podcast Review.

With The New, New Podcast Review one man is going through as many podcasts as humanly possible and reviewing them. He started in October of last year and has done quite a bit already. Of course, new podcasts spring up every day. Hundreds of them. So he's got his work cut out.

I, myself, have started with his October reviews and I'm going through each of the shows and giving them a listen.
So far I've tried out Evil Genius Chronicles, OpenPodcast.org, The Dawn and Drew Show and Tech Rag Tear Outs in addition to the shows I've tried out on my own, such as Up The Tree, Each Note Secure, Donewaiting and Hellthy's Indie Rock/Pop Feed.

Evil Genius Chronicles (number of shows available atm: 7) wasn't really to my liking. I even had a few difficulties downloading the episode as it stopped halfway and I ended up with a nineteen minute episode that seemed to be chopped up bits of the full show.

OpenPodcast.org (number of shows available atm: 30) is an interesting grab-bag of content. Just because of the sheer variety it has acquired a spot in my subscriptions. I have to say that the "Sound of the Day" is by far my favorite show.

The Dawn and Drew Show (number of shows available atm: 3) sounds like one of those shows that reminds me of co-workers. You know? When you first meet a co-worker you're kinda like "oh, hello" and you don't know anything about them and they know nothing of you. You just kinda exist in the same place. After a while of working together you start to feel a kinship or a familiarity that makes them sort of charming (provided they have a charming personality). That's The Dawn and Drew Show. I could care less about what's going on in their lives. But if I was to listen to it for a week or so, I would.

Tech Rag Tear Outs (number of shows available atm: 1) was just a little too computer and technology oriented for me. Great show if you're really into that sort of stuff, though.

Up The Tree (number of shows available atm: 2 -more available on website), Donewaiting (number of shows available atm: 6) and Each Note Secure (number of shows available atm: 6) are all great shows based on indie music and culture.
Hellthy's Indie Rock/Pop Feed (number of songs available atm: 22) is THE best source for new indie music for your ears and has given us Death Cab for Cutie, Iron & Wine and many more.

Other shows I've discoverd include Free Talk Live (which is a talk show (apparently) and is very free speech oriented as they're independent; number of shows available atm: 6) and Up Your Ass Headlines (if you like hearing news of weird and/or stupid stuff check this out; number of shows available atm: 10).
Up Your Ass Headlines quickly became one of my favorite things to listen to.

Links:
Evil Genius Chronicles
OpenPodcast.org
The Dawn and Drew Show
Tech Rag Tear Outs
Up the Tree
Donewaiting
Each Note Secure
Hellthy: Indie Rock/Pop
Free Talk Live
Head Up Your Ass Headlines

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

One of Those Movie List Thingies...

From Johnny Bacardi-

The RULES:
- BOLD movies you own in your personal video/DVD library
- ITALICS for movies you have seen
- Leave plain movies you haven't seen
- Pass it on to three people at the end

I added five to it.

The Big Red One (1980)
200 Motels (1971)
12 Angry Men (1957)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
28 Days Later (2002)
The 400 Blows (1959)
8 1/2 (1963)
Adaptation. (2002)
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1939)
After Dark, My Sweet (1990)
Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
Alien (1979)
All About Eve (1950)
Amadeus (1984)
Amarcord (1974)
American Beauty (1999)
The American President (1995)
American Splendor (2003)
The Animatrix (2003)
Annie Hall (1977)
The Apartment (1960)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
The Apu Trilogy (1959)
Around the Bend (2004)
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)
The Band Wagon (1953)
The Bank Dick (1940)
Barefoot Gen (Hadashi no Gen) (1983)
Batman (1989)
The Battle of Algiers (1967)
Battle Royale (Batoru rowaiaru) (2000)
The Battleship Potemkin (1925)
Beat the Devil (1954)
Beauty and the Beast (1946)
Being John Malkovich (1999)
Being There (1979)
Belle de Jour (1967)
The Bicycle Thief (1949)
The Big Heat (1953)
The Big One (1997)
The Big Sleep (1946)
The Birth of a Nation (1915)
Blade Runner (1982)
Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows (2000)
Blowup (1966)
The Blue Kite (1993)
Blue Velvet (1986)
Bob le Flambeur (1955)
Body Heat (1981)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Bound (1996)
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
Breathless (1960)
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
The Bride With White Hair (1993)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)
Broken Blossoms (1919)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Kabinett des Doktor Caligari, Das) (1920)
Casablanca (1942)
Chasing Amy
Children of Paradise (1945)
Chinatown (1974)
A Christmas Story (1983)
Citizen Kane (1941)
City Lights (1931)
Clerks
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
The Color Purple (1985)
Comic Book Villains (2002)
Conan the Barbarian (1982)
The Conversation (1974)
Cries and Whispers (1972)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Wo hu cang long) (2000)
Crumb (1994)
Damage (1992)
Daredevil (2003)
Day for Night (1973)
The Day of the Dolphin (1973)
Days of Heaven (1978)
The Decalogue (1988)
Detour (1945)
Die Hard (1988)
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Donnie Darko (2001)
Don't Look Now (1974)
Double Indemnity (1944)
Dr. No (1962)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Dracula (1931)
Duck Soup (1933)
Dune (1984)
E.T - The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
The Earrings of Madame de... (1953)
Easy Rider (1969)
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Ed Wood (1994)
Elektra (2005)
The Elephant Man (1980)
El Norte (1983)
Eraserhead (1977)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
The Exterminating Angel (1962)
The Fall of the House of Usher (1928)
Fanny and Alexander (1983)
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
Fargo (1996)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
F for Fake (Vérités et mensonges) (1976)
The Fifth Element (1997)
The Firemen's Ball (1968)
Five Easy Pieces (1970)
Floating Weeds (1959)
Four Rooms (1995)
Frida (2002)
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
From Hell (2001)
Gates of Heaven (1978)
The General (1927)
Ghost World (2000)
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
The Godfather (1972)
Goldfinger (1964)
Gone With the Wind (1939)
The Goodbye Girl (1977)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1968)
GoodFellas (1991)
Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)
Grand Illusion (1937)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Great Expectations (1946)
Greed (1925)
Groundhog Day (1993)
The Hand (1981)
A Hard Day's Night (1964)
The Hearts of Age (1934)
Hellboy (2004)
High Fidelity (2000)
Hoop Dreams (1994)
House of Games (1987)
The Hustler (1961)
Ikiru (1952)
In Cold Blood (1967)
The Incredibles (2004)
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Jackie Brown (1997)
Jaws (1975)
JFK (1991)
Jules and Jim (1961)
Juliet of the Spirits (1965)
Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)
Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004)
Killing Zoe (1994)
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
King Kong (1933)
L'Atalante (1934)
L'Avventura (1960)
La Dolce Vita (1960)
The Lady Eve (1941)
The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
The Last Laugh (1924)
The Last Picture Show (1971)
Last Tango in Paris (1972)
Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
Late Spring (1972)
The Lathe of Heaven (1980)
Laura (1944)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Le Boucher / The Butcher (2003)
Le Samourai (1967)
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
The Leopard (1963)
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
The Lion King (1994)
Lolita (1962)
Lolita (1997)
Lost Highway (1997)
M (1931)
The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
Mallrats
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
The Man Who Laughs (1928)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Manhattan (1979)
The Matrix (1999)
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Mean Streets (1973)
Metropolis (1926)
Mon Oncle (1958)
Moonstruck (1987)
Mr. Hulot's Holiday (1953)
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
The Music Room (1958)
My Darling Clementine (1946)
My Dinner With Andre (1981)
My Life to Live / Vivre sa Vie (1963)
My Neighbor Totoro (1993)
Nashville (1975)
Natural Born Killers (1994)
Network (1976)
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Nights of Cabiria (1957)
Nosferatu (1922)
Notorious (1946)
Not Without My Daughter (1991)
On the Waterfront (1954)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Orpheus (1949)
Out of the Past (1947)
Pandora's Box (1928)
Paris, Texas (1984)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
Paths of Glory (1957)
Patton (1970)
Peeping Tom (1960)
Persona (1966)
The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
Pickpocket (1959)
Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
Pinocchio (1940)
Pixote (1981)
Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
Playtime (1967)
Pollock (2000)
The Producers (1968)
The Prophecy (1995)
Psycho (1960)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Raging Bull (1980)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Raise the Red Lantern (1990)
Ran (1985)
Rashomon (1950)
Rear Window (1954)
Blue, White, Red (1994)
Red River (1948)
The Red Shoes (1948)
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Return to Glennascaul (Orson Welles' Ghost Story) (1951)
Return To Oz (1985)
Rififi (1954)
The Right Stuff (1983)
Roger & Me (1989)
Romeo and Juliet (1968)
The Rules of the Game (1939)
Santa Sangre (1989)
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Say Anything (1989)
Scarface (1983)
The Scarlet Empress (1934)
Schindler's List (1993)
Scrooge aka A Christmas Carol (1951)
The Searchers (1956)
Se7en (1995)
The Seven Samurai (1954)
The Seventh Seal (1957)
Shane (1953)
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Solaris (1972)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)
Spider-Man (2002)
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
Star Trek Generations (1994)
Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
Star Wars (1977)
The Straight Story (1999)
The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It (1977)
The Stranger (1946)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Stroszek (1977)
A Sunday in the Country (1984)
Superman (1978)
Sunrise (1928)
Sunset Boulevard (1950)
The Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
Swing Time (1936)
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
A Tale of Winter (1992)
The Tao of Steve (2000)
Taxi Driver (1976)
The Terminator (1984)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
The Thin Man (1934)
The Third Man (1949)
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Three Colors Trilogy (1994)
Three Women (1977)
Tokyo Story (1953)
Touch of Evil (1958)
Touchez Pas au Grisbi (1954)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
The Trial (Procès, Le) (1962)
Trouble in Paradise (1932)
True Romance (1993)
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)
Ugetsu (1953)
Umberto D (1952)
Un Chien Andalou (1928)
Unforgiven (1992)
Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election (2002)
The Up Documentaries (1985)
Vertigo (1958)
Victim (1961)
Walkabout (1971)
West Side Story (1961)
Where the Buffalo Roam (1980)
Wild at Heart (1990)
The Wild Bunch (1969)
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Wings of Desire (1988)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Woman in the Dunes (1964)
A Woman Under the Influence (1974)
A Woman's Tale (1992)
The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (Macht der Bilder: Leni Riefenstahl, Die) (1993)
Written on the Wind (1956)
X-Men (2000)
X-Men 2: X-Men United (X2) (2003)
xXx (2002)
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
A Year of the Quiet Sun (1984)
Yellow Submarine (1968)

Monday, March 28, 2005

College Radio Station of the Week

One of the things I love the most about the internet is the ability to listen to music from around the country. The world, even! Living in a town like mine you're pretty much left to listen to country, spanish or top-40 pop.

I remember, back before the internet, coming across the radio version of PBS a while back. NPR, it's called. Short for National Public Radio. Of course, most of the programming was news-oriented but I was introduced to something more. Blues, jazz, ambient electronica and folk music all had an outlet on this one station that I could barely pick up on my radio. I listened through the static and felt like I was connected to a whole other world.

With the internet I now have access to hundreds of stations. Some NPR, some commercial and a lot of individuals.

My acceptance of NPR led me to find a slew of college stations that broadcast over the internet. Now I had the ability to listen to real cutting edge music and programming and also get a feel for the society in the area. There's nothing else really like it.

One of the things I like most about college radio is how each dj has his or her own show, usually based on one extreme genre or another. The variety is amazing. No commercial crap here.

I'm going to be spotlighting a college radio station each week as I explore the vast world of the alternative. Usually on Sunday or Monday I'll post about the station that I plan to listen to for the rest of the week. As I said previously about the djs each having extreme genres, you simply cannot listen to a college station for just a few minutes and get an accurate profile of their programming. You must listen for a few days at least. It's very eclectic.

This week, in light of the coming Aggie Con, I've decided that the first college station to be put under the spotlight is the one from College Station, TX. (Shout out to Arno!)
KANM broadcasts on 1690 AM and 99.9 FM from the campus of Texas A&M.

From their website:
"KANM is Texas A&M's only student run radio station. We strive to enrich the Bryan/College Station community by making unconventional and non-mainstream music available to the general public."

And that they do.

Take a look at their programming schedule.

While their programming is full of variety it is a surety that they focus on indie music as can be seen by their online zine and their top music chart.

I'm looking forward to going to Aggie Con next month and listening to KANM makes me feel like it's just next door.
And they have great taste in music.

Give them a listen. They have three streams to choose from: a 32k wma, a 128k mp3 and a 192k mp3 stream. I usually listen to the 192k stream but for some reason I'm having trouble today with net congestion.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Uh-Oh! It's Magic...

While looking for any info on Grant Morrison and Ryan Sook's ZATANNA series, I came across the following pic:


This was done for some lucky schmuck at a convention last year. No wonder Sook was tapped for ZATANNA.
Homina!

For more info about Grant Morrison's SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY, check out my continually updated feature.

Review: Guardian #1


I had read this book rather hurriedly when I first picked it up because I wanted to read it before driving back home. And really it kinda hurt the book to do that. After I got home I read it again to take in everything the way it was meant to be.

So the new Guardian is Jake Jordan, a former cop and he's a mascot for an Enquirer-style newspaper in Manhatten. Of course, this being the DC Universe, "Enquirer" isn't all that outrageous. Space-monsters and four-headed freaks are bound to be real in this reality.

The concept is a great one and Morrison adapts Jack Kirby's original character ideas into a more modern vessel. He even makes the Newsboy Legion practical! And useful!! Kirby would be proud.

I was expecting more of a cartoonish look from Cameron Stewart, who I loved on CATWOMAN a while back and who's also just recently worked with Morrison on SEAGUY. His art in GUARDIAN is not only surprising but incredible.


I must also say that I really like the Guardian's outfit as it's actually more of a uniform than a traditional costume. It sorta reminds me of Judge Dredd's look. And for this character it works.

I was a bit bothered by how the pirates in the story call each other by their names constantly. Of course they're pirates, I can't blame them for over-acting.

As the story progressed I saw more of Morrison's great skill of getting you to like characters by showing just the right amount of information. And Jake's life and problems became more real.

The "interview" was predictable and I'm sure Morrison expected that from the readers as the importance wasn't on the outcome as much as it was on Jake's reactions to it. The Golem fight gave a bit more insight into Jake's personality, as well.

Reading this story it didn't seem like it was anything above standard comic storytelling. Until about page seventeen or eighteen. The introduction of the car and the costume was part of it but what really clenched it was the appearance of the Newsboy. It kinda hit me as part GLOBAL FREQUENCY and part Silver Age comics. That's when I realized it. When the kid's giving his bike to the hero to help him get the bad guys. It was a sense of community. Something that was prevailant in the Silver Age but replaced with reclusion and loner vigilantism in the '80s and '90s. That's when I stepped back for a second and took a look at what I was reading from a different perspective.


GUARDIAN is a modern day telling of an old Golden Age and Silver Age archetype- the People's Hero. Someone that you can root for.

Although I found the ending to feel a bit "staged" as it just happened to involve his family it also left me with questions and suspicions. There's a part of me that thinks his father is part of the Newsboys (or was).

Guess I'll have to wait until next issue to find out.

For more info about Grant Morrison's SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY, check out my continually updated feature.

DC Brings Back the Western


This Fall DC Comics will be unveiling two new ongoing series and both of them are westerns. One will be headlined by a classic character the other by a modern marvel at writing.

The first one is JONAH HEX which brings the well-known western character back to monthly comics. Something that's been missing since about the time of DC's CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. After which he was catapulted into the future and turned into a sci-fi western bounty hunter in a short-lived series titled simply, HEX. It was an interesting concept that would probably sell much better today that it would have in the '80s.

This new series will be written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray (HAWKMAN,MONOLITH) with an artist to be announced. Covers will be done by guest artists. The first of which is Frank Quietly.


The second new western title debuting this autumn is LOVELESS, written by Brian Azzarello (100 BULLETS) and drawn by Marcelo Frusin (HELLBLAZER). There's not much info about this other than a very promising cover pic. If you're interested if Azzarello can write a western read EL DIABLO, a mini-series he did a while back. It was probably one of the best non-100 BULLETS projects he's done.

With both of these series starting at about the same time one would wonder if there's any chance that their being even considered is due to the success of HBO's Deadwood.
It's quite possible. We've seen shows like the Sopranos make an impact on comics.

But then, it's also possible that Jonah Hex has been waiting in a desk in DC's office for years wanting to get into a book again and only now is there an audience that will accept him and his brethren.
I may actually saddle up.

Lee Becomes Aware of Podcasts

I was wasting some time online yesterday and found out about podcasts. What is a podcast? Here's the definition that I read.

I'm quite familiar with RipCast and ReplayRadio -both useful tools to catch online radio shows and listen to them whenever (or wherever) you want. Podcasting is just the same, except that they're already recorded and can be downloaded whenever you want.

I quickly installed iPodder and retrieved a list of all available podcasts.

While the shows are organized by theme there's still some factor of the unknown as you have to test out a podcast to see if you like it. And since they're almost all in mp3 format they run about 20 mbs per show on average.

I did find a few useful ones, though.
Tracks Up The Tree was the first one that I discovered and led me to check out the whole podcast scene.
Each Note Secure has a lot of great sounds.
Donewaiting is a podcast I found through Each Note Secure. Another great indie show.

Other podcasts I've subscribed to:
vinyl podcast
Reel Reviews Radio
IndieFeed: Alt/Modern Rock
KCRW's Muscic Exchange
KCRW's Film Reviews
KCRW's Martini Shot
IndiePodcasting.com
Helthy: The Best of Helthy
Helthy: Live in NYC Tonight
Helthy: Indie Rock/Pop
Free Talk Live
FML Jukebox
Coverville

This list will probably morph quite a bit before I settle into a steady listening habit.

Robbers on High Street


So I made my bi-weekly trip to the record store a few days ago and picked up Robbers on High Street's cd, Tree City.

I've come across a bunch of reviews for Robbers on High Street that have written them off as a copy of Spoon. Since I have not heard Spoon, I can't say.
I've also read comparisons to the Strokes. While that may be possible, I don't really see it as much. If anything they sound more like a young Billy Joel fronting Maroon 5 after listening to a bunch of Dave Matthews.

I had heard "Japanese Girls" on the radio and thought it was pretty catchy. However, the real highlights are "Beneath the Trees" and "The Price and Style", the latter of which brought forth images of a dusty independent film with a foreign lady shuffling her feet in a small apartment to the music while clothes hang out to dry.

Another great track is "Killer Bees" with it's twangy and dirty sound. It's dingy beauty at it's best.

My only real complaint about Tree City is that most of the songs are under three minutes which is normal for punk rock, but I'd love to hear them play something a bit longer. Maybe get crazy with the instruments for a bit.

I also came across a free online indie music magazine called Underrated. I first ran upon them by seeing Warren Ellis plug them on his blog. I didn't really think much of it at the time. I just sorta filed it away as reference. Then I discovered that Robbers on High Street are interviewed in #5. So I went and downloaded all the issues. And since they're not that big I could print them out for offline viewing. Of course with a black cartridge the cover comes out looking kinda crappy, but the rest of the issue is easier on the eyes.

Now for the music:
Beneath the Trees
Hudson Tubes

For more MP3s and info go to Robbers on High Street's myspace page.

I also found a blog with one of their older songs, "Hot Sluts (Say I Love You)". Go here to find it.

March's Wallpaper



And here we have March's wallpaper... A fantastic piece by Liam Sharp. Sharp first came to my attention back in the '90s when Marvel was producing the UK/Marvel line of books. He was the artist on a series called DEATH'S HEAD. His art really was remarkable and I remember going ga-ga over it. Unfortunately the UK line didn't work so well and when it dissolved it seemed to take Sharp with it.

However, years later I found him illustrating a new MAN-THING series for Marvel under yet another ill-fated imprint, Strange Tales. His style had changed quite a bit and was darker and seemed more abstract. It was kinda like seeing George Perez leave and come back drawing like Mike Mignola. It was a bit... awkward. After it's quick demise I hadn't seen him again.

Until now. This pic is from the cover to Mamtor Publishing's new book, EVENT HORIZON. It's scheduled to be out around May and was in last month's PREVIEWS. Sadly though, I couldn't see myself spending around twenty bucks just yet. If you're interested, Mamtor does have a downloadable preview.

February's Wallpaper



Moving right along, here's Febuary's wallpaper as promised. It's a promo for the Nox role-playing game which I've never played. I just thought it was a friggin' cool piece. Great painting. Awesome painting.

As I've never played the game, I'm not too familiar with the setting. However it conjures images from my days of playing Oriental Adventures and Al-Qadim with DnD.
Ahhh... the deserts... And evil djinn...

The Best Damn Comic Artist Gallery On The Web!


Without a doubt, the best gallery I've found is Comic Art Community.

I came across their site recently looking for some Dave Stevens art. Not only did I find Stevens but a bunch more great artist, to boot! Including Darwyn Cooke, J.H. Williams, Ryan Sook as well as all the Wizard poster-boys.

I found my first wallpaper of the year there, which is the Stevens illo above. I was considering posting each of my wallpapers as I retire them so I'll soon be posting February and March's here on my blog.

Anyway, back to Comic Art Community's Gallery... There's literally hundreds of pics online, all categorized by artist. And, what's better, if you feel that something's missing you can register (which is free) and upload pics into that artist's gallery. Before you think that it sounds crazy, don't worry as it's moderated. Each submission is looked over before actually getting posted.

I've actually submitted pics to the gallery for Dave Johnson, Phil Noto and Ryan Sook.

I definitely suggest checking it out. There simply is no better place for comic art to be found. Period.

More Free Comics!

Many of you may remember my recent post on DC's online posting of a few Alan Moore books. Well, I've been doing some investigating and I found that they have more!
Well... not Alan Moore... But more free comics.

These are all complete first issues that give a nice taste of each series and may make you want to continue reading.
Here's what I've found:

(you cand find the free issues on a link on the left of each one of these pages)
HELLBLAZER #1
FABLES #1
LUCIFER #1
Y: THE LAST MAN #1
HUMAN TARGET #1
EX MACHINA #1
STORMWATCH #1
PLANETARY #1
SLEEPER #1

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Tonsils Are My Bane!!!

Well... I managed to do my bi-weekly shopping today and I've acquired some new stuff to review. Namely Guardian #1 and a cd by Robbers on High Street.

Unfortunately, while I had planned to post a bunch of stuff, I don't have the attention span for it at the moment thanks to a recurring fever. And I won't have a day off until probably Sunday. So look forward to a large group of posts either Sunday night or Monday morning.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

More 'Nuther World Comics Pages

Been sleeping most of the day away as my fever's been in full swing. Already taken eight tylenols, bottle warns not to take more in 24 hours...

So here I am, waking up again and I realize that I had planned to post the next set of pages over at my 'Nuther World Comics blog.

So there they are...

Damn... I'm hungry now...
And I gotta be at work in eight hours...
Oh, well...

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Countdown to Aggie Con

With Aggie Con less than a month away, I'm going to start talking more about it and my previous convention experiences. Please bear with me as my tonsils have decided to remind me that they're back and I just got through spending my entire day off watching the second half of Alias: Season Two.

I first started going to conventions back in 2002 with Aggie Con 33. Neil Gaiman was at this one and I got to see the back of his head. At the moment I wasn't all that interested to meet him.

Then in 2003 and 2004 I went to both Aggie Con (in the spring) and Wizard World Texas (in the fall). I've heard of another convention in Dallas that I may add to my yearly schedule this fall, income permitting.

Between now and April 21st I'm going to be posting info on who and what I'm looking forward to seeing at Aggie Con as well as commenting on previous cons and their guests. Not to mention the great treasures I've found at them.

I'll be posting sketches I've acquired (the whole one sketch!) and I'll plug some books by indie comic creators I've met.

And I may even post something about my work that I hope to be handing out this year.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Review: Ring Two


  • I went ahead and previewed Ring Two last night. Mostly because it's been a while since I went to see a movie. And a little because I think the Ring and Grudge were both a breath of fresh air (or horrendous stench if that's more of a compliment) in horror films.
    There may be spoilers in this review. Be ye therefore warned...

  • The movie does a great job of keeping the suspense built and despite a few shortcomings does manage to pull off a large amount of creepiness. You expect something to happen just like in a normal horror show, but at most times it occurs just before the usual expected moment.
    There were some scenes that kinda didn't seem right (and these were the normal scenes), but they didn't really hinder the overall movie.

    I like how they use the stop-motion effect on the film during certain events (like when Aidan was watching the kids play). That effect really fucks with the viewers perception. I know it did mine. Especially if it's just barely noticeable. I was still adjusting my eyes after the movie was over.

    And like I said, the film is creepy. The horror aspects of the movie are completely fleshed out and believable. Surprisingly, the times that I felt I had to suspend belief the most was when Rachel got into the ambulance and back out (with no one noticing) or when people started to die and no one investigated. Or how she so easily got to talk to the girl at the beginning.

    Samara, however, is done fantasically. She was just as effective in this outing as she was in the first. Unfortunately, the grotesque-looking expression on people's faces wasn't as shocking this time around. Perhaps anticipating this, it's used as a plot device more than as a shock factor.

    I will say some parts of Ring Two were predictable. But then some parts were just as equally unpredictable. Two scenes in particular were done rather well, with one in particular quite possibly changing the way I drive through wooded areas.

    Despite it's few flaws, I still think it was a very decent film. There were some plot-holes (again not from the horror element, but from the real world reactions and interactions) but I think it did a splendid job of keeping me on edge for the duration of the showing.

    I even saw some possibly underlying themes involving sacrifice that came into play effecting Rachel twice. That may have been just me but it gave the film a bit more depth.

    I give Ring Two a B+.

    New Movie News


  • To be written and directed by Joss Whedon (Buffy, Firefly).

  • Teaser poster by Adam Hughes.

    Thursday, March 17, 2005

    Happy St. Patrick's Day!

    Another New Feature...

  • I just added a spot on the right of my blog, called "Indie Music Spotlight". This will showcase the indie cds I think are worth checking out and will change aproximately every two weeks to coincide with my payday.

  • It will include a link to my review of the album once one is completed.

  • Plus, I just noticed that the archive list is back. It disappeared there for a while and now it's just popped back up. Take advantage of it while it's here and see what you've missed. I can't guarantee that it'll be there for long. Blogger's been ill...
  • Wednesday, March 16, 2005

    Shadowrun 4th Edition


  • From their official website:

  • "In August 2005, Shadowrun gets a new edition for the 21st century ­and beyond! The Fourth Edition of this highly successful cyberpunk-fantasy game still has the same high-tech, low-life mix of man, magic and machine that has made Shadowrun one of the top-selling roleplaying games of all time, along with many new features:

    * The core mechanics are completely revised to be simpler and more streamlined for quicker, easier and more consistent play.
    Matrix 2.0! An all-new level of wireless “augmented reality” overlays the real world, unleashing hackers to be mobile digital wizards.
    * The year is 2070 ­five years since the System Failure took down the old Matrix, nine years since the passing of the comet unleashed wild and unexplained magic in the world. The Sixth World has changed. Some of the players are familiar, but there are new faces­and new forces­at work in the shadows.
    * Complete rules and world information in one volume ­ playable the day you buy the book!

    With an all-new graphic look and streamlined rules, Shadowrun is still the game you love ­only better! Humans, dwarfs, elves, orks and trolls use bleeding-edge technology and magic to survive the mean streets of tomorrow, while sprawl-dwelling shadowrunners dart their way through a dystopian future ruled by megacorporations."

    I wonder how compatible it will be with first or second edition... I never bothered with third. Fourth, however, does sound interesting. Go to their site to read more about it.

    Tuesday, March 15, 2005

    On Work, Blogs and Aliens

  • Work sucks, completely drains me. 'Nuff said.

  • On another note, I've done a bit of remodeling here as I've made a designated spot on the side to the right for my "Comics This Week" feature. Previously, I was doing a weekly post about what I was planning to get. Since I tend to write about the books again when I review them it was starting to feel monotonous.
    So I gave them their own little space that will be viewable all week. And then when I actually get them and review any of them it won't seem like I'm repeating myself.

  • I also added a new site tracker. And the best thing about it? I finally know why my Alien Vs. Predator review gets so many hits from Google. People, lots of people, are searching for pics of aliens and my picture on the review is coming up in their searches.

  • Yay! A mystery is revealed!

    Monday, March 14, 2005

    Review: Shining Knight #1



    I have been holding back on posting this because I wasn't sure if I wanted to review the series issue-by-issue or as a whole.
    I've decided to go with the former as I get to show more of the beautiful artwork by Simone Bianchi this way...

    When I picked up Shining Knight #1, the first mini-series involved in the grand Seven Soldiers of Victory epic, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. I had read the first few pages of the preview that introduced the Knights, but that was it.
    I found that I was pleasantly surprised.

    Again, Morrison introduces more characters with just enough background to make them interesting. Justin and Vanguard are quickly grasped by the reader. I was a bit put off at first by the talking horse, but this does start off as a fantasy story. Why can't there be a talking horse?
    The Knights, themselves, came off as living characters who had years of stories behind them.

    The Sheeda are starting to take form and become more comprehensible to the reader as we get a face to put on the villainy with Gloriana Tenebrae. And even then the art only gives us parts of her at a time. Keeping most of her in shadows or just out of view. Making her all the more mysterious.
    The scene with her biting an apple brought forth an image of the evil sorceress from Snow White.


    With all this talk of fairies, magick, Camelot, a flying pegasus that talks, Castle Revolving, the Harrowing of Avalon, the Catacombs of Oethanoeth, King Arthur, the Inexhaustible Cauldron, Caliburn, the Queen of Terror... It just goes on and on...
    This is great fantasy in and of itself.

    Justin's arrival in Los Angeles may have seemed a bit cliched at the time, but Morrison handles it well with the few twists he's added. And the pacing is excellent. It doesn't seem like it's being padded to fit a trade paperback and it isn't coming off forced to fit within four issues. It just seems to be flowing naturally. And that's a sign of a great storyteller.
    (As an aside, one of those twists reminds me of two of the best Swamp Thing stories I'd ever read, "Pog" and "Mysteries in Space". I wonder how it'll effect the overall story.)

    Simone Bianchi's art is a wonder to behold as I spent quite a bit of time after I read it just marvelling at his work. Especially the opening pages with Lancelot and the Knights of the Broken Table and the scene with Justin confronting Gloriana.
    I can't believe that Bianchi hasn't been snapped up sooner. Definitely someone DC needs to get an exclusive on before Marvel does.

    Matter of fact, reading this book reminded me of the best work that came out of Crossgen. You have an oft-unused and neglected genre mixed with fantastic writing and very solid art. Overall, the first issue of Shining Knight proved to be fun to read and great for the eyes. And I hope that, if anything, it will succeed in showing that one issue of a comic can be just as entertaining as a story that's stretched out for four issues or more. Maybe even more so.

    Some would say that padding a book to fit it into six issues is good because you can have more art, with several full page splashes to show off the artist's talent.
    I dare them to look through Shining Knight #1 and tell me how un-talented Bianchi is because he doesn't pad it with needless pin-up art.
    Pin-ups are for walls. And, unless you're a cave-man, we do our storytelling with panels.


    For more info about Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers of Victory, check out my continually updated feature.

    'Nuther Update

    Four more pages of my lil' indie comic, 'Nuther World Comics are now up over here.

    Sunday, March 13, 2005

    Gamers No Good For Warfare?

    (From ICv2)
    The Israeli Website Ynet has published an article by Hanan Greenberg that details the Israeli Defense Force's discrimination against recruits who admit to playing Dungeons & Dragons. According to the IDF, D&D players are "detached from reality and susceptible to influence," so the IDF prevents fantasy gamers from being considered for sensitive posts by only giving them a low security clearance. Greenberg quotes an IDF official as saying, "These people (gamers) have a tendency to be influenced by external factors which could cloud their judgment. They may be detached from reality or have a weak personality -- elements which lower a person's security clearance, allowing them to serve in the army, but not in sensitive positions."

    Perhaps they're afraid of rules-lawyers questioning the range of the weapons or crying in disbelief that "No! The rulebook states that I get a leave this weekend!"
    I guess even drill sergeants can meet their match...

    Comics Pre-Order For May 2005


    What comics I pre-ordered for May:

    DC:
    Gotham Central #31
    Legion of Super-Heroes #6
    Seven Soldiers: Guardian #2
    Seven Soldiers: Shining Knight #2
    Desolation Jones #1
    100 Bullets #61

    Marvel:
    Daredevil #73

    Magazines:
    Comic Book Digest #8
    Comics Revue #230

    Free Alan Moore Comics!


    DC has the first issues of Top Ten, Tomorrow Stories and Tom Strong all available for download on their website to promote Moore's newest book, Top Ten: The Forty-Niners.

    I haven't really read any of these as I've missed out on pretty much all the America's Best Comics line. Something I'm correcting now as I read Promethea Vol. 1.

    I think I'll definitely check them out, though!
    Go here for more info and to download the comics.

    Sin City On It's Way



    Everyone's been posting about it and now it's just a few short weeks away...
    Here's a nice site with images and stuff.

    Let your appetite be whetted.

    Funky Takes On Controversy



    If you're not reading Funky Winkerbean at the moment, shame on you!

    Start with March 3rd and work your way back to today.

    Internet Radio

    Current selections:

    KANM 1690 AM
    KSCR Los Angeles
    90.9 FM KSLU
    SomaFM

    This Week's Comic Purchases

    Here's what I got over the weekend:

    Seven Soldiers of Victory: Shinig Knight #1 -It's no surprise that I was looking forward to this- the first mini-series that continues the Seven Soldiers story. And it does rock! Simone Bianchi's art is fantastic!
    Gotham Central #29 -I almost don't miss Lark... almost...
    Swamp Thing Vol.3: The Curse -I have books one and two and I've been wanting to continue my trade collection. And I finally had enough money left over to get it!
    Promethea, Book 1 -something else I've been wanting to get. I had #'s 1, 3 and 13 and figured it'd just be easier (and cheaper) to get the trades. And with J.H. Williams doing Seven Soldiers, I finally succumbed.
    Grimjack: Killer Instinct #1 and 2 - comic shop owner is swearing by them... unfortunately they seem much overpriced. Maybe if they used a lighter paper... Haven't read them, yet, but I hope they're worth being $4 each.
    What If Karen Page Had Lived? -now we're going back to stuff I missed. Lark. Lark. Lark.
    Black Widow #5 and 6 -finishes the series. Really good story.
    Adam Strange #1 and 2 -Hastings surprisingly had the first two issues of Adam strange on the shelf. And for 75-cents each!!! Worth a try (and balances out those Grimjacks). Adam Strange is another one of those Seven Soldiers-inspired buys as Ferry is using the same art technique he's developed with Adam Strange on Mister Miracle.

    MP3: The Arcade Fire

    Speaking of Seven Soldiers of Victory...



    I've decided that I've been needing some new music to help inspire me when I'm being creative. And there's generally only so many genres of music that can be inspiring.
    One is classical music, but it can put you in a rut. Same with ebm or industrial.

    The only music I've found that has a wide variety of emotion and still be inspiring is indie music. And some punk.

    So I set out the other day to buy me a new indie cd at Hastings. Yeah, I know I would have fared better if I went to a real record store. But we don't have any of those here.
    Unfortunately, I hadn't made a mental note of who I was looking for and I kept waivering between indie music or singer/songwriter stuff. Almost picked up a Beth Hart cd that was on sell. Almost picked up Joss Stone. Almost picked up Tori Amos' new album. Incidentally, I love Tori, but her album packaging makes me want to go lift a bunch of weights, get laid by two girls and beat somebody up before I buy it.

    Luckily, Hastings, in their ever-growing wisdom, has set up an "indie music" listening station. And the first thing that popped in my head was "it can't be truly indie. not here". The place is far too commercial to be selling real indie music, much less have a listening station devoted to one.

    The station usually has five cds that you can listen to at your liesure. At the moment the cds were:
    1. Smoosh - She Like Electric (Amazon link -has samples)
    2. Bright Eyes - Digital Ash in a Digital Urn (Amazon link -has samples and two song downloads)
    3. Robbers on High Street - Tree City (Amazon link -no samples)
    4. Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (Amazon link -has samples and two song downloads)
    5. The Arcade Fire - Funeral (Amazon link -has samples)

    One problem, however, was that someone forgot to put most of the cds in the player to be listened to. Only Digital Ash and Funeral were available when I was there.
    And since I wasn't really that familiar with any of the bands I went with the most logical choice: the one with fewer copies.

    And since they only had one copy of The Arcade Fire's Funeral, that was the one. I listened to a few of the tracks on the station and shortly left with my cd.

    On the way home (it's a thirty-five minute drive), I listened to the album. I was quite pleased with my selection, even if my process was a bit awkward. Arcade Fire has a great sound and energy.
    At times it felt like a mixture of Talking Heads and Bjork. Sometimes down-to-earth and sometimes ethereal. I found it to be very entertaining through out the whole trip.
    It's amazing that these seven people can work together in such a seamless fashion.

    When I came home and turned on my (internet) radio, I heard one of the djs commenting on them, saying that Funeral was one of the best indie albums of last year. And one of the best indie debuts. "What a coincidence", I thought.

    After a bit of looking online, I discovered their website. While there's really nothing there, if you go to the flash site there's a really cool "zen moment" with a painting that you can view from the inside or the outside. Oh, God, would that make a great screensaver!

    With a bit more searching, I found a whole live set that a kind soul has posted. It's from a show in December.

    I also found a few low bitrate tracks here.

    Plus, there's a fansite, called Us Kids Know, that not only carries the most information on the band available but also has a demo version of "Power Out" that you can download.

    And doing my part, here's my contribution:
    Haïti
    Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)
    Both are from Funeral.

    Wednesday, March 09, 2005

    Hard Case Crime Update

    Hard Case Crime has released info on the next three books after Stephen King's COLORADO KID.


    THE GIRL WITH THE LONG GREEN HEART is written by Lawrence Block (GRIFTER'S GAME) and has a remarkable cover painting by Robert McGinnis. McGinnis is one of the best pulp novel cover painters and previously did the cover to Hard Case's LITTLE GIRL LOST.
    If you missed the link to an exhaustive gallery of McGinnis' work, here it is again. Truly inspiring.

    This book has me pretty excited. I'd previously read some Block stuff in a compilation, called MAMMOTH BOOK OF PULP FICTION and I really enjoyed GRIFTER'S GAME. McGinnis doing the cover is like icing on the cake. (Ships November 2005)
    Preview THE GIRL WITH THE LONG GREEN HEART here.


    THE GUTTER AND THE GRAVE, by Ed McBain, looks to be an interesting ride, as well. I'm familiar with McBain's name but I've never read any of his work. The cover is by Richard B. Farrell (THE CONFESSION, HOME IS THE SAILOR). (Ships December 2005)
    Preview THE GUTTER AND THE GRAVE here.


    NIGHT WALKER, written by Donald Hamilton, has all the makings of a very nice suspense novel. This one's cover is by Tim Gabor, a newcomer to Hard Case Crime. (Ships January 2006)
    Preview NIGHT WALKER here.

    Tuesday, March 08, 2005

    My Scanner's Working!!!

    I'm so excited!
    Of course, I had to reformat my computer and lose everything I had saved...
    But Dammit!!!
    My scanner's working!!!

    To prove it, here's a page of art that I had done for a comic that someone else was writing. Unfortunately, between my getting discouraged after an inking error on a page (and a slight lack of interest in the story), as well as the writer putting the project on hold during this discouragement... it just never got finished.


    Also, over at my blog devoted to my comic, 'Nuther World Comics, I've begun posting pages from issue #1.
    Currently, the first three pages of #1 and all of #0 is up for viewing.

    Monday, March 07, 2005

    MP3: Pinback


    I heard Pinback on an indie station that I listen to frequently on my computer. I thought they sounded pretty good. Unfortunately, the song I heard, "Penelope", isn't available for download. I did find the following two tracks on their website, though:
    Lyon
    Manchuria

    Sunday, March 06, 2005

    This Week in Comics - Shipping 03/09/05

    Now that I'm caught back up with my comic orders, it's time to bring back this little feature of my blog.
    This is where I pick out the books shipping this week that I think are worth checking out.
    And, yes, these are generally books I'm planning to get, myself.

    This week we have:


    SEVEN SOLDIERS: SHINING KNIGHT #1
    Written by Grant Morrison
    Art and cover by Simone Bianchi

    (1 of 4)
    Get ready for a miniseries best described as The Lord of the Rings meets The O.C.! Visionary writer Grant Morrison and artist Simone Bianchi (Marvel Italia's Conan the Barbarian, The Ego Sum Trilogy) continue the 30-part SEVEN SOLDIERS saga with the 4-issue SEVEN SOLDIERS: SHINING KNIGHT, a modern fantasy epic!
    Though twilight and red ruin falls on Camelot, the Knights of the Broken Table stand ready to battle the forces of the Beyond. Little do they realize that the only one within their spent and bloodied ranks who can save what remains of their world is 16-year-old Sir Justin, a teenaged warrior who, with his winged horse Victory, finds himself thrust into the maddening world of the 21st century to save the future of all mankind! And the best place to start the battle? Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, of course!
    32 pg, $2.99

    It's no surprise that I'm looking forward to this- the first mini-series that continues the Seven Soldiers story. And from what I've seen of the preview, it's gonna rock!
    I read somewhere that another side to this event is that DC hopes that Morrison can turn at least one of these characters into a strong enough lead to carry their own book. So this could be the beginning of something big here. Besides the already epic-sized story, of course.
    Preview SEVEN SOLDIERS: SHINING KNIGHT #1 here.


    GOTHAM CENTRAL #29
    Written by Greg Rucka
    Art by Stefano Gaudiano
    Cover by Michael Lark
    Montoya and Allen must pursue the origins of an abandoned lab in Gotham...even if the trail leads them to Keystone City, home of The Flash! Meanwhile, the policeman transformed after entering the lab has begun evolving again . . . but into what?
    32 pg, $2.50

    I don't know if this Dr. Alchemy story is my cup'a'tea... But it is an interesting take on criminals and their hideouts. I just wonder if Rucka can continue Gotham Central without Brubaker and Lark.
    It would appear that Stefano Gaudiano is doing a good job of filling Lark's shoes, but I can't help feeling something's missing.
    Preview GOTHAM CENTRAL #29 here.

    Review: Be Cool


    What do you get when you have Uma Thurman, John Trovolta, Harvey Kietel, Cedric the Entertainer, The "Rock", Christina Milan, Aerosmith and the Black Eyed Peas in a movie?
    A high production cost.
    Which leads to finding a way to cover those costs.
    Easy problem solved: Sign on a bunch of products to be displayed and be sure to give the soundtrack a lot of show time. Maybe then you can find some way to fit in the story, written by a very talented Elmore Leonard. But only after the advertising is done.

    Guess that would explain why Be Cool comes off as more of a two-hour commercial rather than a movie. Between product placements that became more evident as the movie went on and the music video breaks for Black Eyed Peas and Aerosmith, I was beginning to wonder if I was watching a movie or MTV. And with MTV actually appearing in the movie for an awards show, it filled in both areas of advertising.
    Even The Associated Press commented on how it was making the hybrid cars look "cool".

    The story, what little there was sandwiched in between these marketing ploys, appeared to be nothing more than a sketch comedy with caricatures for characters. Everybody's role was over the top. And that was really it's saving grace. The actors and actresses, all very gifted, surely had fun making the movie.

    Inside jokes were the order of the day and were used mostly to bring characters into the movie or explain their appearance. Steven Tyler saying he'd never be in a movie... The opening scenes about sequels... You get the idea.

    It was nice, however, to see Uma and John dance again. They definitely have a chemistry which is noticeable from the first scene they share in the movie. Uma looks to be taking a shot at being John's best leading opposite, replacing Olivia Newton-John. And Uma's never looked better.

    The dance scene was a mixture of character development and music video as it also served to give the Black Eyed Peas a video in the movie (the song, "Sexy" is available on the soundtrack). Sergio Mendes joins them for the song and the way the camera lingers on him rather than the stars of the movie is proof that they were a) excited to get him and b) trying to sell the soundtrack.


    The "Rock" could be said to have stolen the show with his portayal of a gay bodyguard/wannabe actor, however with the screen time he had it looks like he was given the show. His part really was the funniest in the movie, drawing most of the laughs from me. (His song, "You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)", is also on the soundtrack.) Of course, I think most of the humor stemmed from who was playing the character.

    Overall, I think the movie could have benifitted from much tighter editing. Doing away with a few scenes here and shortening a few there. It suffers the most because the movie plays like a joke that's drawn out too long.

    Even with Uma, John and the Rock's outstanding performances, Be Cool really comes off as watching an episode of Saturday Night Live, complete with music guests and commercials.
    Just with a higher budget.

    I give it a C+.