Friday, March 31, 2006

Friday Meme

Via Sara, a Google Game:

"Dave needs to..."

Dave needs to be kept abreast.

Dave needs to start paying more attention to what Judi does around here.

Dave needs to learn how to interact with people like a human.

Dave needs to have that mole looked at, man.

Dave needs to come back home.

Dave needs to finish the login page.

Dave needs to inject some major caffeine into his team.

Dave needs to walk around a bit.

Dave needs to know what kind of information on phosphorus should be included.

Dave needs to take a nutrient-rich carbohydrate.

Dave needs to realize that money will not solve his problems.

Dave needs to straighten himself out, find the bullseye, and hit it.

Dave needs to win and him beating the odds makes him much more of a superstar.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Quick Boom! Reviews

Planetary Brigade #2
by Keith Giffen, J. M. DeMatteis, Fabio Moon, Zid of Ifs, Joe Abraham, Alfa of Ifs

Pretty much more of the same as the first issue. Most of the issue centers around a fight between the dysfunctional team and a batch of Lovecraftian nasties. Even though Giffen & DeMatteis through some character bits in, I still don't have a good feel for the team members, although the woman with the third eye is starting to develop a personality. I couldn't name any of them out of a line-up. The art round-robin continues as well, and even though this time there's a greater degree of consistency, I still think that a regular artist would be a better idea.

Rating: 2.5 (of 5)

Jeremiah Harm #2
by Keith Giffen, Alan Grant, Rael Lyra & Joe Prado

Harm arrives on Earth, hot on the trail of the three escaped mass murderers, and after a stop-off in an inner-city clinic to introduce some secondary characters, much mayhem ensues. If you enjoyed the Lobo-esque violence and mayhem of the first issue, you'll like this too.

Rating: 2.5 (of 5)

Zombie Tales: The Dead #1
by lots of people

A collection of six unrelated short stories about zombies. They're all pretty well done, good examples of how you can tell a decent story--world-building and all--in a short page count. My favorite of the bunch is Johanna Stokes and Cynthia Martin's "Zoombies," which features a monkey leading a group of zoo denizens against a zombie hoard--I would tially read a regular series based on this. This collection is strictly for zombie fans, but if you like zombie comics you'll like this.

Rating: 3 (of 5)

(review copies of these comics were provided by the publisher)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

New This Week: March 29, 2006: Best Week Ever!

I am hereby proclaiming this, the final week of March, 2006, the Best Week Ever for new comics!

Normally I point out a Pick of the Week, that one item you really should get. Sometimes the pickings are slim, but I usually manage to come up with one.

This week however, there are just too many damn good comics to choose from.

At the very top of the list is the collection of Root Nibot & Colleen Coover's Banana Sunday, last year's best miniseries. All of you who claimed you were waiting for the trade, now's your chance. If you don't like Banana Sunday, you just don't like comics.

Also in collection is the Alias Omnibus, collecting every issue of Bendis's Marvel/MAX series in one big honking hardcover. Yes, $70 is a bit steep, but to but all 28 issues individually would have cost you $84, so it's a bargain (and if you shop around you can get it for less...). And if that's not enough Bendis for you, Marvel also have the final trade collection of his Daredevil run.

But that's not all! There's also the bargain-priced edition of the Superman Archives, vol. 1. And also Lost in Space: Voyage to the Bottom of the Soul, which finally completes Bill Mumy and Michal Dutkiewicz's story, collecting the first previously published issues with the final six issues that never saw the light of day when Innovation folded.

Manga? Yes, we have that too, with the final volume of Osamu Tezuka's Buddha hitting the stores.

You say you want comics? Those regular old floppies? There's great stuff there as well, starting with the fourth issue of Kevin Huizenga's Or Else, bringing what is sure to be more inspired cartooning from the master craftsman.

Also in comics there's the third issue of Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely's All Star Superman. And a new Star Wars: Tag & Bink comic. And the long-awaited return of Queen & Country to comics (did you read the novels--they're quite good!) And a new issue of Middleman...

And to top it all off, Becky Cloonan steps out on her own with the debut of her TokyoPop OEL title East Coast Rising.

So how's that for a huge bunch of Picks of the Week?

There are other comics of interest too, such as:

Antarctic have a new issue of Gold Digger (#73--#72 just came out last week...)

Dark Horse have a new issue of Usagi Yojimbo (#92).

DC continue the OYL fiesta with Action Comics (#837), Blue Beetle (#1), and Green Lantern (#10); and also have new issues of Lucifer (#72) & JLA Classified (#19); plus a collection of the Lady Constantine mini and a new Will Eisner's The Spirit Archives (vol. 18).

IDW have Peter David-ness with Fallen Angel #4 and Spike vs. Dracula #2.

Image have collections for The Ballad of Sleeping Beauty & Sea of Red (vol. 2); and new issues of Gødland (#9), Invincible (#30), and The Walking Dead (#27).

Marvel have the Captain America 65th Anniversary Special, the third New Avengers handcover, and new issues of Ultimate Spider-Man (#92) & X-Statix Presents Dead Girl (#3).

Top Shelf have the final issue of The Surrogates (#5).

See, what did I tell you? Best Week Ever! Just be sure to bring along your credit card when you visit your FNLCS--you're going to need it!

More Go-Go Adventures Make Dave's Heart Happy!

"Maybe we'll do a Go-Go adventure as a minicomic."

Publisher's Weeekly interviews Colleen Coover & Paul Tobin (aka Root Nibot) on the release of the collection of Banana Sunday, last year's best mini-series.

Manga News Round-up

Baltimore Sun: "For fans of manga, it's more than a comic"
Once publishers persuaded chain bookstores (as opposed to comics shop) to carry their manga girls could find it easily.

The Japan Times: "Modern teaching tools capitalize on 'Japan cool'" playing on the current cachet of Japanese culture, teachers create an invaluable association between learning and fun.

Fort Worth Star Telegram: "East meets West at the library":
Alisa Mask, 13, of Double Oak sat next to a stack of 18 borrowed mangas Sunday. She said she appreciates the realism of mangas because they help her deal with problematic situations.

Monday, March 27, 2006

New Library Comics: Week of March 20, 2006

Here are the comics we got in for our library collection last week:

Davis, Vanessa. Spaniel rage /Oakland, Calif. : Buenaventura Press, 2003-2005.

Eisner, Will. Will Eisner's The Spirit archives. /New York : DC comics, c2000-c2001. v.1-4

Feininger, Lyonel, 1871-1956. The comic strip art of Lyonel Feininger /Northampton, MA : Kitchen Sink Press, 1994.

Moore, Alan, 1953- Promethea /La Jolla, CA : America's Best Comics, c2000-c2005. v.5

Pini, Wendy. ElfQuest archives /New York : DC Comics, c2003- v.1-2

Prohias, Antonio. Spy vs. spy : the complete casebook /New York : Watson-Guptill Publications, 2001.

Runton, Andy. Just a little blue /Marietta, Ga. : Top Shelf, 2005.

Takahashi, Rumiko, 1957- Ranma 1/2 /San Francisco, CA : Viz Communications, c2003- v.32

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Monkey Covers

Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

Today we feature the 1957 cover to Tales of the Unexpected #14, drawn by Sheldon Moldoff. You know, things like this seem to happen to me all the time...

(Standard disclaimer about green gorillas not really being monkeys applies.)

Image courtesy of the GCD. Click on the image for a larger version.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

More on Super-Hero Trademarks

Over at Comics Should Be Good, Brian Cronin has a very good Q&A about the whole trademark thing.

Had I known that Brian was going to write all that, I probably wouldn't have bothered with my own little rant in the first place, as he does a much better job.

As a side point, if you're ever wondering why sometimes Marvel or DC will produce a one-shot or a mini-series with a b- or c-list character, it is often done in order to preserve the trademark. Unlike patents, which last for 20 years from the time of issue, or copyrights, which last Life + X number of years from creation (until/unless Congress extends them again and again and again...), trademarks have no set time limit before they expire. A trademark can theoretically last forever, as long as the owner continues to use it. But if the owner goes a certain period of time without using the trademark, it becomes abandoned and anyone can use it. So if every few years Marvel puts out a comic with the Colossus logo slapped on the cover, they continue to protect their trademark.

Team-up comics used to be great for this. Put out a comic with Batman, Superman or Spider-Man teaming-up with your lesser known characters, slap their logos on the cover, and you're all set.

(Again, I am not a lawyer, just a librarian.)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

YACB Bulletins

ITEM! Garfield is funnier when Garfield doesn't think/speak.

ITEM! Kryptonite Monkey!

ITEM! Looking at the list of manga titles in the April Previews over at Love Manga, my immediate thought is that just about every single publisher is putting out twice as many titles as they should be...

ITEM! A big welcome back to the comics blog-o-sphere to Kevin Melrose, whose new blog, Comics, Covered, is all about comic book covers.

New This Week: March 22, 2006

Based on the NCRL list for this week's comics shipping from Diamond, here are a few things to look for at the local comic shop tomorrow:

The Pick of the Week is the paperback edition of Alan Moore & Gene Ha's Top 10: The Forty-Niners from ABC/WildStorm/DC. The hardcover was my pick for Favorite Original Graphic Novel last year, so those of you who balked at the hardcover can now save your $7 and get the softcover.

In other comics:

Antarctic have a new issue of Gold Digger (#72).

DC have the second Seven Soldiers of Victory collection; OYL titles Batman (#651), Catwoman (#53), Hawkgirl (#50), Manhunter (#20), and Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes (#16); and new issues of American Way (#2), Hellblazer (#218), and Testament (#4).

Fantagraphics have the third volume of Mome.

IDW have the second issue of Supermarket.

Image have a new issue of Noble Causes (#18).

Lobrau have the debut of Toupydoops.

Ludovico have the third issue of Living in Infamy.

Marvel have the latest Runaways digest (vol. 5); the final issue of Supreme Power: Hyperion (#5), just in time for the debut of the non-MAX Squadron Supreme; and new issues of Captain America (#16), Daredevil (#83), Nextwave (#3), She-Hulk 2 (#6), Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane (#4), and X-Factor (#5).

Rebellion bring you classic Alan Moore with DR & Quinch Complete.

Viz debut ROD: Read or Die.

Enjoy your new comics!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Who owns 'Super-Hero'?


Every so often some fanboy gets in a tizzy because he learns that DC & Marvel have a trademark on the term 'super-hero'.

The latest is this stupid item over on, which refers to a two-year-old posting on Newsarama as if it were brand new news and manages to get just about every point wrong, including which aspect of intellectual property law is at issue ("DC/Marvel Copyrighting 'Super Hero'"). (screenshot here in case SciFi comes to its senses and fixes it.)

(Update: did indeed remove the news story after I sent them an email pointing out their errors. Kudos to them for rectifying the situation, although an actual correction notice would be better.)

Here, folks, are some salient points:

  • DC/Marvel are not "trying to copyright the term 'super hero.'"
  • One cannot copyright a phrase.
  • DC & Marvel hold a joint *trademark* to the term super-hero for use in publications, and have held it for many years. The registration number for the applicable trademark is 1179067 (see this).
  • Holding a trademark on 'super-hero' means that they are the only companies who can use 'super-hero' in the title of their comic books. It does *not* mean that no one else can ever use the term 'super-hero'.
  • DC & Marvel are required by law to defend their trademark in order to keep it, and that is what they did in this instance.
  • If you're going to publish your own comic book series, it would be prudent to do a trademark search before choosing a title.
  • If you would like to know more about trademark law, Nolo's Website has a good introduction.

I really hope that this will be the last time this goes around, but I suspect it won't be.

(Dislaimer: I am not a lawyer; I am a librarian at a US Patent & Trademark Depository Library. My comments are my own and do not necessarily represent the view of my employer.)

New Library Comics: Week of March 13, 2006

Here are the comics we got in for our library collection last week:

Aragones, Sergio. Sergio Aragones the Groo library /Milwaukie, OR : Dark Horse, c2001.

Brown, Chester, 1960- The Playboy : a comic book /Montreal : Drawn & Quarterly, c1992.

Brown, Jeffrey (Jeffrey David), 1975- Bighead /Marietta, GA : Top Shelf Productions, c2004.

Drawn & quarterly showcase. Book 1 : [an anthology of new illustrated fiction / Kevin Huizenga, Nicolas Robel] /Montreal, Quebec, Canada : Drawn & Quarterly ; San Francisco, CA : Distributed in the USA and abroad by Chronicle Books, c2003.

Kuper, Peter, 1958- Speechless /Marietta, Ga. : Top Shelf Productions, Inc., c2001.

Lutes, Jason. Jar of fools : a picture story /Montreal, Quebec, Canada : Drawn and Quarterly, c2003.

McMillan, Stephanie. Attitude, featuring : Stephanie McMillan : minimum security /New York : NBM, c2005.

Moore, Alan, 1953- Promethea /La Jolla, CA : America's Best Comics, c2000-c2005. v. 1-4

Talon, Durwin S. Comics above ground : how sequential art affects mainstream media /Raleigh, NC : TwoMorrows Pub., c2004.

Tijuana Bibles : art and wit in America's forbidden funnies /New York ; London : Simon & Schuster, 2004.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Monkey Covers

Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

Today we feature the 1957 cover to Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #24, drawn by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye. Wouldn't it have been cool if Jimmy Olsen stayed as a gorilla, then became Elastic Lad, and he'd be an Elastic Gorilla? Just me, huh?

(Standard disclaimer about gorillas not really being monkeys applies.)

Image courtesy of the GCD. Click on the image for a larger version.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

YAMR: Alt Country - Music from the Edge

It seems like forever since I've updated Yet Another Music Radio, but I've finally gotten around to it.

The new playlist is Alt Country - Music from the Edge, over three hours of music that goes against the grain of mainstream country radio.

You'll hear music from:

16 Horsepower; Adrienne Young & Little Sadie; Allison Moorer, The Be Good Tanyas; The Derailers; The Duhks; Gillian Welch; The Greencards; Jenny Queen; Jim Lauderdale; Julie Roberts; Kasey Chambers; Kathleen Edwards; Kelly Willis; Kim Richey; Laura Cantrell; Lori McKenna; Lyle Lovett; Maia Sharp; Mary Gauthier; Matraca Berg; Mindy Smith; Miranda Lambert; Neko Case; Patricia Vonne; Patty Griffin; Robert Earl Keen; Rodney Crowell; Son Volt; Terri Binion; Tift Merritt; and Todd Snider.

That's over 50 tracks of downhome joy!

Friday, March 17, 2006

YAFQ: Create an Anthology

Yet Another Friday Question:

What kind of comics anthology would you create to attract a newsstand audience?

Archie have their digests, Disney & Nickelodian have occasional comics-only issues of their magazines, and Viz have done very well with their Shonen Jump & Shojo Beat anthologies. But still there is not much of an effort by comics publishers to target the newsstand--and by extension non-regular comics readers--with a thick value-priced anthology.

My recommendation would be for DC to put together an anthology for kids. They have a lot of reprint material to draw on from the past 10-15 years: Scooby-Doo, Bugs Bunny, Cartoon Network, and the animated Batman/Superman/Justice League. Add into that classic Sugar & Spike comics and they could easily put together a 128-page color monthly anthology in the $5-$6 range I should think.

Any other ideas out there?

Dave's Dozen: Collections/GNs

Concluding my look through the March Previews (for items supposedly shipping in May), here are a dozen collections and graphic novels that I feel are worth your attention:

Skrull Kill Crew
(Marvel, $16.99, p. M105)
Grant Morrison reunites with Aztek parter Mark Millar and Zenith artist Steve Yeowell for a story that takes a throw-away event from an old Fantastic Four comic and runs with it to its madcap violent conclusion.

(Dark Horse, $14.95, p. 36)

Two of my current favorite creators, brothers Fabio Moon & Gabriel Ba, put together a collection of short stories. Easily one of the top picks of the month.

Wonder Woman: Destiny Calling
(DC, $19.99, p. 91)

The fourth collection of George Perez's now-classic post-Crisis Wonder Woman. Feature guest art by Art Adams, Brian Bolland, and others.

Five Fists of Science
(Image, $12.99, p. 138)

I've been waiting for this OGN to hit for what seems like forever. Mark Twain & Nikola Tesla team up to bring about world peace, but standing in their way is Thomas Edison and an evil science cabal. Pure steampunk joy.

Tezuka's Buddha vol. 1
(Del Rey, $14.95, p. 262)

Osamu Tezuka's masterpiece is now available in an affordable trade paperback, so now you have no excuse for not picking it up.

Gorilla Gorilla vol. 1
(Disney Press, $4.95, p. 279)

Art Baltazar's Gorilla Gorilla strips from Disney Adventures get collected into an kid-friendly affordable digest.

Castle Waiting
(Fantagraphics, $29.95, p. 284)

Yes $30 may seem like a bit much, but it's really a bargain for a hefty hardcover collection of Linda Medley's charming medieval fantasy. If you only buy one graphic novel this month, make it this one.

Alan Moore: The Complete Future Shocks
(Rebellion, $21.99, p. 315)

These stories from 2000 AD will give you a good look at the early work of a writer who would go on to become one of comics' top talents. Nothing deep here, but a good deal of fun.

Aoi House vol. 1
(Seven Seas, $10.99, p. 318)

A great high concept for a harem manga: two college boys are kicked out of their dorm, and end up living in a house with a bunch of yaoi-obsessed fangirls.

BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad vol. 4
(TokyoPop, $9.99, p. 332)

Rock 'n' Roll and teen angst. One of my current favorite manga series.

Oddly Normal vol. 1
(Viper Comics, $11.95, p. 349)

I enjoyeed the first issue and decided to wait for the trade, which is now here. Yay!

Phoenix vol. 7: Civil War
(Viz, $15.99, p. 358)

Anytime there's a new English edition of Tezuka's work, you should make a grab for it. Each volume in this, his magnum opus, is self-contained, so you don't need to worry about coming in on part 7--just dive right in!

That concludes Dave's Dozen for this month (previously I covered mainstream comics and indy comics). Come back next month for 36 (or so) picks.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Dave's Dozen: Indy Comics

Continuing my look through the March Previews (for comics supposedly shipping in May), here are a dozen indy comics that I feel are worth your attention:

Aya #1
Jalila #1
Rakan #1
Zein #1
(AK Entertainment, $2.95 ea., p. 213)

These are those Arab super-hero comics you've probably heard about. I have no idea if any of them will be any good, but at the very least they should be interesting.

Rex Libris #4
(Slave Labor, $2.95, p. 218)

Yes, James Turner uses a lot of words in this comic. But he uses so many that he ends up being very funny sometimes. Do any of you non-librarians enjoy this comic?

Wonderland #1
(Slave Labor, $3.50, p. 218)

This is yet another of those 'what happened after Alice in Wonderland' stories, but since this grows out of Slave Labor's odd Disney license it is based on the Disney version, not the original. Also, it has art by Sonny Liew, which makes it worth picking up right there.

Gold Digger #75
(Antarctic Press, $2.99, p. 222)

Celebrating 15 years of Gold Digger with a special 75th issue--which is actually #129 if you count all three series, making it the longest currently-running creator-owned & operated comic. There's actually lots of Gold Digger this month, with a new mini-series, Throne of Shadows; a new Pocket Manga collection; a Swimsuit Special; and, if you want to catch up on everything Gold Digger, a 2-disc DVD-ROM set that contains every single Fred Perry-produced Gold Digger story to date.

Tinn Man #1
(Atlantis Studios, $2.95, p. 226)

Any comic that stars a smart African-American teen girl programmer and her AI robot is worth a look in my book.

Supermarket #3
(IDW, $3.99, p. 299)

Man, but wasn't the first issue the bomb? Best thing that Brian Wood has written, I think. And the art by Kristian Donaldson was supper spiffy and well-served by the high production values. Worth the $4, I should think.

Borrowed Time #1
(Oni, $6.95, p. 311)

Guy comes back from a trip to the Bermuda Triangle to a worls that is subtlely different from the one he left. I really like these sorts of stories, so here's hoping that Neal Shaffer & Joe Infurnari do a good job.

Queen & Country #30
(Oni, $2.99, p. 314)

Tara Chase is back in comics after the two novels where her life was put through a complete wringer. Rucka's mainstream work pales in camparison to Q&C, but I guess a guy has to pay the bills.

Thrud the Barbarian #1
(Thrud Comics, $2.95, p. 321)

Brit Carl Critchlow's barbarian spoof comes to the new world. Think Groo by way of Keith Giffen (in his Trencher days) and you'll get an idea of what this is like.

That wraps up my look at indy comics. (Sorry it took so long, but work and life have been kicking my ass these past couple of weeks.) A few days ago I highlighted mainstream comics, and in a few days I'll put up my Collections/GNs picks.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

New This Week: March 15, 2006

Based on the NCRL list for this week's comics shipping from Diamond, here are a few things to look for at the local comic shop tomorrow:

The Pick of the Week is Puffin's adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula by Gary Reed and Becky Cloonan, in a kid-friendly manga-sized black & white volume.

In other comics:

Antarctic have a new issue of Ninja High School (#136), the Oz the Manga Epilogue, and the 7th Gold Digger Pocket Manga volume.

Archie have the latest issue of Sabrina (#74).

Boom! have the second issue of Planetary Brigade.

Dark Horse have the 9th Samurai Executioner volume, collections of Chronicle of Conan (vol. 10) and Concrete (vol. 4), the debut of Conan: Book of Thoth, and the latest issue of the regular Conan (#26).

DC make silver age Superman fans happy with Showcase Presents Superman Family & Superman: Daily Planet collections, along with the OYL Superman #650. The rest of y'all will just have to make do with new issues of 100 Bullets (#70), DMZ (#5), JLA Classified (#18), Majestic (#15), Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer (#4), Infinite Crisis Secret Files 2006; and the OYL titles Birds of Prey (#92) & Green Arrow (#60).

DR Masters have the 17th(!) volume of Iron Wok Jan.

IDW have the penultimate issue of Angel: Old Friends (#4) and the debut issue of Spike vs. Dracula.

Image have new issues of Beyond Avalon (#3), Girls (#11), and The Walking Dead (#26).

Marvel have a collection of the better-than-you-thought-it-would-be Drax the Destroyer: Earth Fall; an Essential Godzilla collection; and new issues of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man (#6), Fury: Peacemaker (#2), and Runaways (#14).

Oni have Hope Larson's Gray Horses.

Viz have the 6th volume of Tezuka's Phoenix.

And that wraps things up for this week. Enjoy your new comics!

Monday, March 13, 2006

New Library Comics: Week of March 6, 2006

Here are the comics we got in for our library collection last week:

Abnett, Dan. Inquisitor ascendant. Book 1, The taint of Nicodemus / [Nottingham] : Black Library, 2002.

Boy trouble : gay boy comics with a new attitude /Seattle, WA : Boy Trouble Books, c2004.

Campbell, Eddie, 1955- Graffiti kitchen /Paddington Q, Aus. : Eddie Campbell Comics, c1998.

Eisner, Will. The contract with God trilogy : life on Dropsie Avenue /New York : W.W. Norton, c2006.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Monkey Covers

Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

From 1975, it's the cover to The Jungle Twins #14, as Tono & Kono fight to save a damsel in distress from mutant gorillas. Mutant Gorillas! I love comic books!

(Standard disclaimer about mutant gorillas not really being monkeys applies.)

Image courtesy of the GCD. Click on the image for a larger version.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Yet Another Music Moment

Albums I've purchased recently:

Chaotic Resolve, the new album by Plumb. Plumb is basically singer/songwriter Tiffany Arbuckle and whomever she gets to play along with her ona particular album. It's 'inspirational' music (i.e. Christian) for folks who don't normally like inspirational music. Nearly on par with her excellent 1999 album candycoatedwaterdrops.

Todd Snider's East Nashville Skyline actualyl came out back in 2004, but I somehow missed it; because, well, I'm an idiot I guess. Anyway, it is easily his best studio album, stripped down and reminiscent of his live shows. Funny, poingant, and clever. (His best album is, of course, Near Truths and Hotel Rooms Live, which combines two of his live performances, one of which I was at.)

Neko Case's new album, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, is alas her weakest album to date. She's found a sound, and she's sticking to it, god bless her. But it makes for an album that isn't bad, but just too much of the same sound, and there isn't a track that grabs the listener. For a much better Neko Case experience, seek out her live album, The Tigers Have Spoken.

Completely unrelated, but still music-related: in my dream last night, a room full of people suddenly burst out into song, singing "Sing"; amazingly, everybody in my dream knew the lyrics. And when I woke up I went online to check the lyrics, and lo and behold I rememebred them correctly in my dream. It's this kind of stuff that's taking up space in my brain (along with things like how each color of Kryptonite affected pre-Crisis Superman...) that keeps me from remembring to do important stuff...


Not too long ago, I stumbled across a nifty Website that was basically an index for nearly all comic trade collections; it told which collections were availble for which titles, and which issues those collections contained.

Alas, I seem to have neglected to bookmark the site, and my librarian super-powers are failing me in finding it again.

Does anyone know which site this is, and what its URL is?

Update: Never mind, I found it; it's at (And reader/commenter Canton found it under an alternate URL.) I'll stick it in my links so I'll never lose it again!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Review: Ganges #1

Ganges #1
by Kevin Huizenga
Fantagraphics, $7.95

Let's get one thing out of the way: This is the fifth volume in Fantagraphics' Ignatz line and, as such, it's printed oversized with two-color ink and on high quality paper, with a dust jacket no less. Yes, it's nearly $8, but it's an excellent package and well worth the cost--provided you like the material.

So, is the material any good? Yes, it is indeed. Huizenga gives us several short stories illustrating his oft-used protagonist Glenn Ganges and his internal life. If you've enjoyed Huizenga's other Glenn Ganges stories, you'll find much to admire here.

I tend to enjoy novel uses of structure and storytelling in my comics, and at this point in my comic-reading experience I appreciate coming across a comic that plays with the form in new and intersting ways. Huizenga is becoming a master and playing with conventions and using the comics page to explore the relationships between objects, space, time, and thought.

Take for instance the first story, "Time Traveling." It's a quick five-pager that finds Glenn walking to the library on a Saturday afternoon, feeling a sense of deja vu, and pondering the existance of parallel universes. Not a very exciting description perhaps, but Huizenga presents it in a novel way with a touch of humor.

Detractors may claim that the internal life of Ganges that Huizenga is presenting is not terribly original and, perhaps, a bit boring. That misses the point, I think. Glenn Ganges' thoughts and ruminations are of the same kind that most of us have. It is in exploring the common through novel illustration and storytelling that Huizenga's work is strengthened.

As a reader, experiencing these stories illustrates the reach of possibilities of the comics form. The stories that Huizenga tells here are not only effective as comics, but are more effective because they are comics.

Rating: 4.5 (of 5)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

New This Week: March 8, 2006

La PerdidaBased on the NCRL list for this week's comics shipping from Diamond, here are a few things to look for at the local comic shop tomorrow:

There are many good books coming out this week, but for The Pick of the Week I'm going with Jessica Abel's La Perdida collection from Pantheon. I've read the first two (of 5) issues that are included here, and it's very good, presuming you like the slice-of-life/fish-out-of-water angsty indy comics stuff.

In other comics:

Brian Fies's Eisner-winning Mom's Cancer is just now being solicited in the current Previews, yet apparently is shipping this week? Very odd...

AD Vision have a new volume of Cromartie High School (vol. 5).

Aeon have the penultimate issue of Matt Howarth's Keif Llama: Xenotach (#5).

AiT/PlanetLAR have a new Sky Ape one-shot: King of Girls.

Amaze Ink/Slave Labor have a new Lenore collection (vol. 3).

Dark Horse solicited Dare Detectives, vol. 2: The Royale Treatment over a year ago, and now it's finally showing up in stores.

DC have a Birds of Prey collection: Between Dark and Dawn; two Seven Soldiers issues: Frankenstein #4 & Mister Miracle #4; the last issue of Alan Moore's Tom Strong (#36); a couple of OYL titles: Firestorm, the Nuclear Man #23 & Teen Titans #33; and new issues of The Exterminators (#3) and Fables (#47).

IDW have a new issue of Maze Agency (#3).

Illusive Arts havea new issue of Dorothy #5).

Image have adouble dose of Ellis with the fourth issues of both Dawn & Fell; the Socom: Seal Team Seven OGN; the first Rocketo collection (with two issues that apparently will never be published); and new issues of Bomb Queen (#2) & Invincible (#29).

Marvel debut the Fantastic Four: First Family mini; celebrate the 100th issue of Thunderbolts; and have new issues of Powers (#17), The Pulse (#14), and Ultimate Spider-Man (#91).

Moonstone have the Cyclone Bill and the Tall Tales OGN.

TokyoPop have the first volume of Ross Campbell's OEL manga The Abandoned.

Viz have a ton of stuff too (some of which may have reached your store last week...)

You could easily spend of ton of money this week, so good luck with your choosing!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Yet Another Oscar Wrap-up

So... The Oscar telecast wasn't so bad. Jon Stewart didn't bomb outright, and there were a few good bits--I especially like the fake campaign ads--though Stewart was much finnier when he was speaking off-the-cuff than when he was going through the prepared material. Starting the telecast half an hour earlier was a good move--I actually got home before midnight! Too many darn montages though, with no rhyme nor reason for why they were there (or sometimes which movies were included!)

AS far as my picks go, I had 99 points on the Joe Janes Oscar Scoring System*, which wasn't very good, but was enough to tie me for second place at the party. I was 15 for 24 overall, so let's take a look at where I went wrong (based on my picks which I posted yesterday):

Everybody at the party chose Brokeback Mountain, so it didn't affect my standings, but really I should have seen this one coming. It used to be that Best Picture/Best Director never split, but ever since the Shakespeare in Love/Saving Private Ryan debacle they've done it more often than not, especialyl where there are two movies going neck and neck. But after Crash picked up the Best Original Screenplay consolation prize I figured that Brokeback had this locked up, forgetting that Brokeback took home the other screenplay award.

Supporting Actress
I was counting on the Academy to not go for the obvious and opt for Amy Adams, but they did and went with Rachel Weisz.

Original Song
Okay, the only thing I can think of is that the Academy voters thought it would be funny for Jon Stewart to have "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" (and to his credit, Stewart took the gag and ran with it). This truly was the biggest surprise of the night.

Live Action Short Film
Maybe had I gotten around to watching these on iTunes I would have known better. But at best this is a crapshoot every year, and this year was no different.

Animated Short
Is this the start of a Pixar backlash?

Sound Mixing
This is the other category that surprised me, but I guess the Academy went for King Kong--because if there's one thing that movie did have, it was sound. Lots of it too, all mixed together.

I shouldn't have gone for a dark horse pick, I guess. Plus, I in no way saw coming a Memoirs of a Geisha run at the tech awards.

Documentary Short
See Live Action Short.

Costume Design
See Cinematography. I was right about a period piece winning, I just chose the wrong period piece.

So I don't think I did half bad, but it could have been better. I'll have to wait a whole year to reclaim the travelling Oscar trophy back from Patricia!

(* What, doesn't everyone use the Joe Janes Oscar Scoring System? It's: 15 point for picture; 10 for the acting & directing categories; 7 for screenplays & animated feature; 3 for the shorts & documentaries; and 5 for everything else.)

New Library Comics: Week of February 27, 2006

Here are the comics we got in for our library collection last week:

Anderson, Ho Che. Young hoods in love /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics Books, c1995.

Baker, Kyle. The Cowboy Wally show /New York : DC Comics, c2003.

Benton, Mike. Masters of imagination : the comic book artists hall of fame /Dallas, Tex. : Taylor Pub. Co., c1994.

Crumb, R. The complete Crumb. Volume 14, The early ’80s & Weirdo magazine /Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics Books, 2000.

Diaz Canales, Juan, 1972- Blacksad : Arctic-Nation /Barcelona : Norma Editorial, 2005.

Diaz Canales, Juan, 1972- Blacksad : un lugar entre las sombras /Barcelona : Norma Editorial, 2004.

Eichhorn, Dennis P. The legend of Wild Man Fischer /Atlanta : Top Shelf Productions, c2004.

Gagne, Michel, 1965- Zed /Burbank, CA : Gagne International Press, c2002- vol. 1

Goulart, Ron, 1933- Over 50 years of American comic books /Lincolnwood, Ill. : Publications International Ltd., c1991.

Knight, Keith, 1966- The passion of the Keef /San Francisco, Calif. : Manic D Press, c2005.

LaRiccia, Michael V. Black mane /[S.l.] : One Time Press, c2005.

The new comics /New York : Berkley Books, 1988.

Toth, Alex. Toth : "one for the road" /San Francisco : Auad Publishing, 2000.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Yet Another Oscar Picks List

I know you're all just dying to know who I'm picking for winners in tonight's Oscar race, right? Okay, maybe not. But still, I usually finish first or second in our annual picks contest that's been going on for 10+ years now, so even though I haven't seen most of the nominated movies (Oscar and I disagree on what makes for an essential theater-going flick), if you have a contest of your own to participate in, I offer these up as choices:

Brokeback Mountain, because nothing can stop the momentum of the only one of the nominees this year that has entered popular consciousness (even if few people actually saw it).

Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain. See above.

A rather weak slate this year, so I'll go with Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote.

Everyone says it's going to be Reese Witherspoon for Walk the Line, and who am I to argue?

Supporting Actor
George Clooney in Syriana, because they'll want to reward him for something.

Supporting Actress
Conventional wisdom says that this is Rachel Weisz's, but this is the one category that typically goes against expectations, so I'm picking Amy Adams in Junebug.

Visual Effects
King Kong. It has a giant monkey fighting dinosaurs, and how can anyone resist that?

Original Screenplay
Aka the consolation prize, so it'll go to Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco for Crash.

Adapted Screenplay
Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana for Brokeback Mountain, because you can't stop the momentum.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, mainly because Cinderella Man and Stars Wars Episode III are fit for an Oscar snub this year.

Art Direction
John Myhre & Gretchen Rau for Memoirs of a Geisha, because it's the kind of movie that usally wins this category.

Original Score
A tough one, actually, so I'll go with the mo' and pick Gustavo Santaolalla for Brokeback Mountain; even though he only wrote about 13 minutes of score music for the movie, it's the only one of the nominated scores where when you hear a few bars you instantly know what movie it's from. Plus the voters will want to reward Santaolalla for having been robbed of a best song nod due to an unfair rules ruling. Plus, the Academy has been snubbing John Williams for many years now.

Oringial Song
"Travelin' Thru" from Transamerica, because the voters like Dolly Parton.

Live Action Short Film
I meant to watch a few of these through iTunes, but never got around to it this week. So I'll pick Ausreisser (The Runaway), for no good reason other than it's a gut pick.

Animate Short
Pixar's One Man Band, because they're Pixar.

Animated Feature
Actually three strong nominees this year, but I'll go with Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

Sound Editing
King Kong. Because if there's one thing this movie had, it was sound, and lots of it.

Sound Mixing
Walk the Line, because this category usually goes to musical bio-pics.

Film Editing
A tough one, but Crash, with it's interlocking stories, seems the correct pick.

I'm going for the dark horse pick here: Emmanuel Lubezki for The New World.

Foreign Language Film
Tsotsi from South Africa has gotten the most ink, so since hardly anyone actually goes to see these it'll probably take the statue.

Documentary Feature
Conventional wisdom is to not go with any film that anyone has actually heard of in this category, but I think the trend will be bucked this year and March of the Penguins with waddle away with the golden statue.

Documentary Short
God Sleeps in Rwanda sounds like the title of a film that typically wins this category.

Costume Design
Jacqueline Durran for Pride & Prejudice, because period pieces nearly always win this category.

So those are my picks. We'll know in 11 hours or so how good they are...

Monkey Covers

King Kong #3Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

In honor of the Academy Awards ceremony this evening, here's the cover to 1991's King Kong #3, featuring the big ape himself putting the smackdown on a dinosaur. (Peter Jackson's King Kong remake has four nominations this year.)

(Standard disclaimer about giant apes not really being monkeys applies.)

Image courtesy of the GCD. Click on the image for a larger version.

Friday, March 03, 2006

YACB Bulletins

ITEM! Cartoonist Jules Feiffer was on the Diane Rehm show on Tuesday morning. He's mostly there to discuss his new kids book, A Room with a Zoo, but he also spends some time talking about his early days as a cartoonist. (Real Audio & Windows Media mormats)

ITEM! The Comic Book Network is holding a V for Vendetta Trivia Contest, where you can win some swag from the upcoming movie by answering a few Alan Moore-related trivia questions.

ITEM! Jessica Abel has revised her Website, and it's worth taking a look. I especially like the illustrations in her gallery that she's done for YM (via Tom)

ITEM! Catherine Leamy, who is fast becoming one of my favorite mini-comics creators, is featuring all through the month of March brand new one-page Invitation to Madness cartoons on her blog. The first one went up on Thursday.

ITEM! Pal Jim Ottaviani is interviewed about Bone Sharps and his other science comics over at Newsarama.

YAFQ: The Ten Best Ideas in Comics

Yet Another Friday Question:

This one is Kevin's fault.

He recently claimed that the three best ideas in comics are:

1. Sole survivor from a doomed planet
2. Gorilla with a jetpack
3. A Nazi made out of bees

My question for you all on this Friday is:

What other ideas would you nominate to be in the Top Ten Best Ideas in Comics?

I've previously made claim to one that I think should be in the Top Ten: A giant ape with Kryptonite eye beams.

So, what are your nominations?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Dave's Dozen: Mainstream Comics

Each month I go through Previews to highlight twelve items worthy of attention in three categories: Mainstream Comics, Indy Comics, and Collections/GNs.

First up for the march Previews (comics supposedly available in May) are the following dozen mainstream comics picks:

Marvel Adventures The Avengers #1
(Marvel, $2.99, p. M41)

Marvel's all-ages line expands with an Avengers title from writer Jeff (Interman) Parker, who has quietly been making MA Fantastic Four the FF title to read over the past few months. Sure, the team's line-up (Storm, Wolverine, Giant-Girl, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Hulk, Captain America) doesn't resemble and 'real' Avengers team, but will that really matter as long as the stories are entertaining?

NextWave #5
(Marvel, $2.99, p. M52)

The first issue came out of nowhere to be one of the most entertaining super-hero comics of the young year. Okay, not exactly from nowhere, but it's been a long long time since Ellis's Marvel work was this enjoyable. Issue #5 kicks off a new storyline, which makes it a perfect place to jump on if you haven't already.

Punisher: The Tyger
(Marvel, $4.99, p. M81)

Legndary artist John Severin joins writer Garth Ennis to tell a double-sized tale of Frank Castle's dark youth on the street of Brooklyn. Sure to be worth it just for the art alone.

Haunt of Horror: Edgar Allan Poe #1 (of 3)
(Marvel, $3.99, p. 82)

Richard Corben adapts the stories and poems of Edgar Allen Poe. Could you ask for a better match?

Conan #28
(Dark Horse, $2.99, p. 33)

The Goon creator Eric Powell joins writer Kurt Busiek for a done-in-one tale of Conan doing those things that Conan does so well.

All Star Superman #4
(DC, $2.99, p. 68)

Jimmy Olsen, as filtered through Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely. The mind boggles!

Crisis Aftermath: The Spectre #1 (of 3)
(DC, $2.99, p. 73)

Will Pfeifer & Cliff Chiang bring the Spectre to a new host, one who is closer to the character's roots: the late Detective Crispus Allen from Gotham Central. Hopefully we'll get a good deal of down-to-earth detecting along with the supernatural action. Plus, any comic that gives me Cliff Chiang's art is worthy--hopefulyl this will sell well enough to become a regular series.

52 #1-4 (of 52)
(DC, $2.50 ea., p. 77)

C'mon, you know you want it. Have Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid ever let you down? Okay, maybe on occasion, but I suspect that all four will be bringing their A-game to this.

Secret Six #1 (of 6)
(DC, $2.99, p.86)

They went in with six? What were they thinking?! You always go in with seven, or possibly five, but never six! Gail Simone returns to the mileau of her successful Villains United series with more tales of villains caught between a rock and a hard place.

Negative Burn #1
(Image, $5.99, p. 142)

The classic anthology series returns to monthly format. This first issue includes work from Brian Bolland, James A. Owen, and Eric Powell.

Archie & Friends #101
(Archie, $2.25, p. 224)

Andrew Pepoy returns to writing and drawing comics with a new Katy Keene feature.

Battlestar Galactica #0
(Dynamite Entertainment, $0.25, p. 259)

DE puts out a licensed comic I may actually be interested in--what the heck, it's worht a quarter to see if it approaches the quality of the tv series. Too bad about that photo cover though.

Look for the other two parts, Indy Comics & Collections/GNs, sometime over the next week.