December 27, 2007

Changing Comic Book Habits

There are a number of reasons (though mostly because of money and time) that I’ve decided to stop buying monthly comic books starting in January 2008. It was decision I came to after a lot of thought and consideration, and it’s a course I plan to stick to for at least the next two years. I will still buy graphic novels and trade paperback collections, but the elimination of the monthly published titles that I currently buy (of which there are about 10) will dramatically alter my comic reading habits.

I plan to dig into my fifteen plus year stash of old issues and rediscover the books I’ve collected. It might even give me some inspiration for writing. Actually, I kinda hope that reading through these old books do provide some inspiration. Otherwise I’ll have to reconsider why I am hanging on to these back issues of comics.

cover to Atomic Robo #1In the meantime, I expect the first few months of my abstinence to be difficult. First I’ll have to break myself of the habitual desire to stop in at the comic book shop every two or three weeks. Then I’ll have to grow used to not having crisp new comics always sitting on the table next to the chair in our bedroom. Finally, I’ll have to learn patience when I read about great new books like the ones Red 5 Comics are turning out.

Thanks to a post in today’s Comics Should Be Good blog, I discovered Atomic Robo, a comic starring the Nikola-Tesla-built robot who has adventured his way through the years and now heads up the Action Science League to battle all sorts of crazy threats. Besides the glowing write-up, CSBG provides some scans of the interior of the comic, all of which had me sold on the book before I visited the Red 5 Comics website to learn more.

cover to midknight #1On the Red 5 Comics website I learned about Midknight, which is a book about a husband-wife crime fighting team who also has a three-year-old daughter at home along with regular jobs. I love the artwork I saw on display at the Red 5 website, and the reviews that I found spoke strongly about the series. Midkinght looks like another comic that would be perfect for my monthly comic pull-list, along with Atomic Robo.

If I was still going to have a pull-list in 2008.

So now comes my first test in patience. The cover of Atomic Robo indicates that the series is a limited 6 issue run. So hopefully Red 5 will collect the series in a trade paperback after the six issues are published. At which time it would move to the top of my list of trades to pick up. Midknight appears to have an open ended run, but maybe Red 5 will collect a first story arc into a trade. At which point I will be all over the book.

Keeping the Christmas Spirit Alive and Well

I'm not an expert theologian, but I'm pretty sure behavior like this will make the Baby Jesus cry.
BETHLEHEM, West Bank - Robed Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests went at each other with brooms and stones inside the Church of the Nativity on Thursday as long-standing rivalries erupted in violence during holiday cleaning.

The basilica, built over the grotto in Bethlehem where Christians believe Jesus was born, is administered jointly by Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic authorities. Any perceived encroachment on one group's turf can set off vicious feuds.

On Thursday, dozens of priests and cleaners came to the fortress-like church to scrub and sweep the floors, walls and rafters ahead of the Armenian and Orthodox Christmas, celebrated in the first week of January. Thousands of tourists visited the church this week for Christmas celebrations.

But the cleanup turned ugly after some of the Orthodox faithful stepped inside the Armenian church's section, touching off a scuffle between about 50 Greek Orthodox and 30 Armenians.

Palestinian police, armed with batons and shields, quickly formed a human cordon to separate the two sides so the cleaning could continue, then ordered an Associated Press photographer out of the church.

Four people, some with blood running from their faces, were slightly wounded.
And it's probably a good thing the Catholics weren't there. The Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests might have done fine with the brooms they were using to clean, but I just know the Catholics would have produced a knife or two.

December 26, 2007

End of the Year Writing Blahs

It's that time of the year that the writing juices sort of dry up. I don't have the daily Christmas Comic Book cover post to move me along, there aren't a whole lot of interesting stories going around, and the Bears aren't in the playoffs. I'm just sitting at work, in a nearly deserted office, struggling to be productive.

I tried some ideas (Favorite 5 movies from the last 5 years, discovering stories I had written back when I was 11 years-old), but I'm not feeling the inspiration. Maybe I will later.

So instead I'm writing about the difficulty in figuring out what to write about.

Guess it's back to writing Business Requirements.

December 25, 2007

Christmas Comic Cover 2007 - December 25

Santa Claus Funnies
Santa Claus Funnies

Today is Christmas!

And check out the other comic book advent calendars: Polite Dissent, Comics Should Be Good, and Yet Another Comics Blog

hollyMerry Christmas

December 24, 2007

Tom and Jerry & The Night Before Christmas

It's a shame cartoons like this aren't televised much any more. This level of artistry on display in this MGM production (directed by a young Hanna & Barbera) is beautiful.

Christmas Comic Cover 2007 - December 24

Christmas with the Superheroes
Christmas with the Superheroes


Christmas is tomorrow!

And check out the other comic book advent calendars: Polite Dissent, Comics Should Be Good, and Yet Another Comics Blog

hollyMerry Christmas

December 23, 2007

Bears Beat Packers, Again

adrian peterson scores a touchdownWe were at my Aunt Kathy's, so I didn't watch the game as closely as if I was at a home, but I still got to enjoy the Bears victory over the Green Bay Packers today.

It was a house full of Bears fans, so the game was on my Aunt's big screen. But with eating and moving about I never really got into the flow of the game. I did, however, see some of the key plays as they happened: the botched 10-yard punt by the Packers, Garrett Wolfe's 33-yard run that set up a Adrian Peterson TD, the blocked punt returned for a touchdown, and Brian Urlacher's interception that he returned 85-yards for a touchdown.

Sure, the Bears were pretty much playing only for pride, but the fact that the game had no substantial playoff implication didn't matter to me. It was the Bears and the Packers, outside, in sub-zero wind chills with snow blowing everywhere. It was what good old fashioned NFC football is suppose to be about. And the Bears won.

Christmas Comic Cover 2007 - December 23

Sugar and Spice #38
Sugar and Spice #38

2 days Until Christmas!

And check out the other comic book advent calendars: Polite Dissent, Comics Should Be Good, and Yet Another Comics Blog

hollyMerry Christmas

December 22, 2007

She She She She's A Bombshell

Funny


I need to spend more time hunting down animation on the web. There are tons of great animated shorts and films out there.

Christmas Comic Cover 2007 - December 22

The Spirit #12
The Spirit #12


3 days Until Christmas!

And check out the other comic book advent calendars: Polite Dissent, Comics Should Be Good, and Yet Another Comics Blog

hollyMerry Christmas

December 21, 2007

Animated Holiday Treat

This piece of animation, title 0708 and made by the folks at Imago, is wonderful. I watched it five times in a row.

I absolutely love the concept and the execution is inspired. I particular love the colors. It makes everything work together so beautifully.

0708 holiday greetingWatch it

Christmas Comic Cover 2007 - December 21

Batman #45
Batman #45

4 days Until Christmas!

And check out the other comic book advent calendars: Polite Dissent, Comics Should Be Good, and Yet Another Comics Blog

hollyMerry Christmas

December 20, 2007

Shatner vs Shatner vs Shatner

Most online polls I stumble across on websites and blogs are silly and pointless.

But this poll from one of my new favorite blogs, ExtraLife, finally poses a question that deserves to be answered.

Who would win in a fight: Captain Kirk Shatner, TJ Hooker Shatner, or Boston Legal Shatner?

Shatner - Shatner - Shatner
Go make your voice heard.

Christmas Comic Cover 2007 - December 20

Jingle Dingle
Jingle Dingle Christmas Stocking Comics

5 days Until Christmas!

And check out the other comic book advent calendars: Polite Dissent, Comics Should Be Good, and Yet Another Comics Blog

hollyMerry Christmas

December 19, 2007

Christmas Comic Cover 2007 - December 19

Impulse #45
Impulse #45

6 days Until Christmas!

And check out the other comic book advent calendars: Polite Dissent, Comics Should Be Good, and Yet Another Comics Blog

hollyMerry Christmas

December 18, 2007

Christmas Comic Strips

Both Sheldeon and Wondermark had funny Christmas-themed strips today.

Check them out.

Sheldon comic for 12.18.2007Wondermark comic for 12.18.2007

Over the weekend I experienced a moment with Ian similar to the one Sheldon's Grandpa encounters today.

Christmas Comic Cover 2007 - December 18

Jingle Belle #4
Jingle Belle #4

After yesterday's comic cover, I thought I would cleanse our palates with a cover from a more artist take on the concept of Santa's offspring. Jingle Belle is the rebellious teen-aged daughter of Santa Claus and the creation of Emmy, Eisner, and Harvey award winning writer Paul Dini (Detective Comics, Batman The Animated Series)

7 days Until Christmas!

And check out the other comic book advent calendars: Polite Dissent, Comics Should Be Good, and Yet Another Comics Blog

hollyMerry Christmas

December 17, 2007

Go Bears!

Kyle Orton shall lead us to victory . . .

kyle orton - quarterbacking god

Christmas Cookies

It seems like from December 10th onwards, Heather is always preparing or baking something in advance of Christmas. To point: Heather and the kids made some good old fashion Christmas cut-out sugar cookies on Saturday.

The finished cookies are delicious.

kids and their cookies
I participated strictly in an advisory / taste quality assurance role.

Christmas Comic Cover 2007 - December 17

Crissie Claus 02
Chrissie Claus #2

Chrissie Claus is Santa's "elfin granddaughter" according to Heroic Publishing, the makers of this fine comic. Personally, a statement like "elfin granddaughter" makes me wonder about the going-ons up at the North Pole and calls into question the employeer-employee relationship Santa is fostering. You can investigate it further, if you like, at the Heroic Publishing website where all of Chrissie's adventures can be viewed online.

8 days Until Christmas!

And check out the other comic book advent calendars: Polite Dissent, Comics Should Be Good, and Yet Another Comics Blog

hollyMerry Christmas

December 16, 2007

The Dark Knight Trailer

True to their word, Warner Brothers made the new The Dark Knight trailer available for viewing and download from one of the many viral websites that have been developed to promote this summer's Batman flick.

Sometime on Thursday or Friday www.atasteforthetheatrical.com noted that the much pirated trailer, which was running in front of this weekend's opening of I Am Legend, would be available.

I checked mid-day and there wasn't anything. But after helping the kids with their bath this evening, I found that the trailer was there for viewing and downloading.

scene from the dark knight trailer
Of course I've viewed it a couple of times and downloaded a copy to my computer.

scene from the dark knight trailer
The trailer focuses on the struggle between Batman and the Joker. I know from reports/stories that the film is going to involve more than a cat-and-mouse between these two characters, but that doesn't mean I don't love the trailer and it's singularity of focus on selling the film.

Bale still looks perfect as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Ledger's Joker is gloriously creepy. We get just enough sneaks at the other major characters - Alfred, Gordon, Lucius Fox - and a mysterious exclusion of an other - Harvey Dent - to keep things interesting.

Not that I needed any more incentive to see this movie, but it was a lot of fun getting to watch this tonight.

Old Time Christmas Radio

george burns and gracie allenThanks to BoingBoing, I learned about a ton of old time radio programs that have been turned into MP3 files and are now free for downloading.

Though there are plenty of shows to grab, the collections I've been listening to this week are all Christmas-themed shows.

I've downloaded a bunch and have been listening to them on the train in the evenings. My favorites so far have been the Burns and Allen Show and the Mel Blanc Show.

What these actors and actresses were able to do on the radio back in the 1930's, 40's, and into the 50's is remarkable. Using only their voices and sound effects they were able to weave compelling, entertaining stories, and the quality of their work is such that I think these programs hold up fifty to seventy years later. I imagine that I am enjoying the Mel Blanc Show on my iPod as much as I imagine someone back in 1946 did.

If you want to download and enjoy them for yourself, check out these sites.

Old Radio Fun: Christmas
Internet Archive: Christmas Archive #1
Internet Archive: Christmas Archive #2

Christmas Comic Cover 2007 - December 16

Patrick the Wolf Boy Christmas Special
Patrick the Wolf Boy Christmas Special

9 days Until Christmas!

And check out the other comic book advent calendars: Polite Dissent, Comics Should Be Good, and Yet Another Comics Blog

hollyMerry Christmas

December 15, 2007

The (Dark) Night Before Christmas

Batman learns a Christmas lesson.

Christmas Comic Cover 2007 - December 15

Captain Marvel Adventures #19
Captain Marvel Adventures #19

10 days Until Christmas!

And check out the other comic book advent calendars: Polite Dissent, Comics Should Be Good, and Yet Another Comics Blog

hollyMerry Christmas

December 14, 2007

Another The Dark Knight Update

I love the Internet. It's so easy to find all sort of information about The Dark Knight.

Up first, the newly released international teaser poster for the film.

The Dark Knight International Poster
I think this poster is remarkable. Very visually stunning and captures the whole "Bruce Wayne/Batman One Man Fighting For Gotham" vibe the is always an undertone of a good Batman story.

Next, it's news about a DVD hitting stores this summer around the same time the new film is in theaters.

Rumored to be titled Batman: Gotham Knight, the DVD will be a collection of 6 animated shorts the compliment or possibly lead into Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight.

screen shot from the animated Batman projectFrom the story I read, the animation should be top notch, but what has me excited about this project is the list of writers attached:
1. Brian Azzarello, comic book writer (100 Bullets, Batman: Broken City)

2. David S. Goyer, comic/screenwriter (Batman Begins)

3. Greg Rucka, comic book writer/novelist (Batman, Gotham Central, 52)

4. Jordan Goldberg, producer (The Prestige, The Dark Knight)

5. Josh Olson, screenwriter (A History of Violence)

6. Alan Burnett, writer/producer (Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Batman: TAS, Batman Beyond)
Except for Mr. Goldberg and Mr. Olson, I have read and thoroughly enjoyed the works of all these writers, so already things are looking good. Then considering the projects cited for Mr. Goldberg and Mr. Olson and I begin thinking this DVD will be a "must-have" for me this summer.

Christmas Comic Cover 2007 - December 14

Strangers in Paradise #70
Strangers in Paradise #70

11 days Until Christmas!

And check out the other comic book advent calendars: Polite Dissent, Comics Should Be Good, and Yet Another Comics Blog

hollyMerry Christmas

December 13, 2007

That's Emma

emma doing the craft thingOn her blog today, Heather does a wonderful job at illuminating the essence of Emma through just a few words and some funny photos.

Even if you don't know Emma, I think you will enjoy Heather's post: My Little Craft Princess

Winter in Chicago

We've already had some good storms here in Chicago this winter. A sizable amount of snow and then two weekends of ice storms. With forecasts calling for some snow showers scattered over the next few days, I think we might enjoy a white Christmas this year.

This week the Chicago Tribune published a gallery of great photos taken around the city during winters past. In particular I like the picture below, showing motorists stuck on Lake Shore Drive following a particularly hearty snow fall back in 1967.


From what I've read, that '67 storm was a real whooper.

The biggest snow storms I recall is the blizzard that hit Chicago back in 1979, which ended up costing a mayor his job, and the massive blizzard of 1996 that had Heather and I snowed in for a while back when we lived in Cleveland.

Hopefully we don't get anything quite that big in Chicago before Christmas.

Wiki Humor

All this week Dave Kellett, through his comic strip Sheldon, has been poking fun at Wikipedia. He started out by imagining what Wikipedia would look like if it was a person, but lately the focus of his humor has been on how the strength of Wikipedia is also its weakness.

Anyone can edit entries on Wikipedia, which means anyone can edit entries.


I love Wikipedia and use it plenty to research and find info quickly. However, long ago I learned to take most entries with a healthy grain of salt.

After all, what I'm reading on Wikipedia could have been written by Einstein, but it could also have been written by Mr. Diggins.

Christmas Comic Cover 2007 - December 13

Uncle Scrooge #160
Uncle Scrooge #160

12 days Until Christmas!

And check out the other comic book advent calendars: Polite Dissent, Comics Should Be Good, and Yet Another Comics Blog

hollyMerry Christmas

December 12, 2007

Now I Know I'm An Animation Junkie

How do I know? I love spending time reading the Animation Backgrounds blog, which highlights some of the wonderful background artistry that goes on in quality animation.

background from Mickey's Christmas CarolPlus, the blog has been showcasing backgrounds from various Disney Christmas specials and movies this month. Above is a background from Mickey's Christmas Carol.

Christmas Comic Cover 2007 - December 12

52 #33
52 #33

13 days Until Christmas!

And check out the other comic book advent calendars: Polite Dissent, Comics Should Be Good, and Yet Another Comics Blog

hollyMerry Christmas

December 11, 2007

The World Without Us

the world without usNot sure why the Chicago Tribune is running a story about Alan Weisman and tangentially his book The World Without Us now, but I'm glad they did.

Weisman's book contemplates what would happen to the Earth if humans suddenly vanished from the planet. He interviewed scientists and the such for research, and if the reviews are to be believed, turned out a compelling study of the force of nature and the Earth's ability to heal itself.

Just from reading the Trib article the book sounds fascinating. But my interested only grew after I checked out the website that promotes the book. (Make sure to check out the animation "Your House Without You.")

I've added The World Without Us to my reading list.

Oh, Shit!

Saw this photo on ChicagoTribune.com.

chicago tribune photo of girl about to be drenched by water from carWe're in the middle of some nasty cold and wet weather here in Chicago.

Rain, sleet, freezing rain - the whole smear. Hopefully this driver slowed down enough not to totally drench that poor girl. Nothing's worse than being cold and wet.

Christmas Comic Cover 2007 - December 11

Marvel Holiday Special
Marvel Holiday Special

14 days Until Christmas!

And check out the other comic book advent calendars: Polite Dissent, Comics Should Be Good, and Yet Another Comics Blog

hollyMerry Christmas