Thursday, December 29, 2005

Eye Am Getting Annoyed

Do you want to know what inconsequential detail of DC's latest mega-event has been bothering me of late? The way Geoff Johns is writing Brother Eye's dialogue in the best-selling uber-series Infinite Crisis. See, the killer satellite that controls the OMAC automatons was named Brother Eye by its creator, Batman. So Johns has been substituting the word "eye" for the first-person reference "I". For example-

Batman : For the love of mercy, Brother Eye, I created you! Stand Down!!
Brother Eye : Eye'm sorry, Father. Eye recognize your feelings of betrayal, and eye validate them. However, eye cannot stand down, as eye have much left to accomplish.
Batman (quietly sobbing) : Damn you.... damn you....

Um, my first issue is that all Brother Eye dialogue is spoken aloud, meaning there is no audible difference btween saying "eye" and "I". They sound exactly the same! It's just impossible that a listener could even tell that a visual pun was being made. Ridiculous.

But the larger issue, the bigger problem, is that, even if you accept through some serious logical gymnastic that there is, in fact, a noticable difference btween "eye" and "I", you must then come to terms with the fact that Batman programmed Brother Eye this way on purpose.

Let's explore that thought a little, shall we? At some point during the process of designing and programming a killer satellite in order to prevent some sort of super-hero motivated mass destruction or danger, Batman thought it would be cute to give Brother Eye a little vocal tic. I can imagine that this happened very late one night during the vocalization process, with Batman possibly being a little punch drunk or sleepy. I guess we're just lucky he didn't give Brother Eye a lisp or a stutter or something.

I fully realize that this is nitpicking....

or is it?

Is it possible that the Brother Eye "cutesy voice" was a subtle indication on Johns' part of the growing instability of Batman's grip on his emotions? Were these "eye-isms" the very clues that were paid off in Infinite Crisis #3 by Batman suffering a serious pout followed by a barely contained hissy fit?

No. Probably not.

Eye am not amused, Geoff Johns.

And, hey, now that I think about it, Brother Eye is nothing but an Ultron/Starro the Conquerer mash-up, which should be a lot cooler. But isn't.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

My Impending Dementia Is Great News!

As mentioned, I picked up Beck volume 2 with a portion of my Xmas gift certificates on Boxing Day. Now, Boxing Day night I read Augusten Burroughs' Dry, top to bottom. I've got to tell you, it had been quite a while since I went all gonzo and "one-day"ed a decent sized book. Dry, however, was so engaging that I just wanted to read alittle more... a little more... just a bit more... until I found myself reading the short preview of his next book at the back of this one!

Funnily enough, Tam was sitting next to me reading A Million Little Pieces while I carved through Dry, making it kind of a funny "hitting bottom/ stories of recovery" double feature. Well, not that funny, I suppose. More on the level of "interesting coincidence".

Anyways, back to Beck. I've read Beck. Lot's of Beck. In fact, most of Beck, or at least all that was scanslated at the time I discovered it. And I loved it. It's definately my favorite manga. It has those (seemingly) unavoidable slapstick, Benny Hill-esque panty shot jokes, but the story is primarily the slowly-told story of a young man's introduction into the world of music. Tanaka is an immature boy with absolutely horrendous taste in music (think low-quality J-pop) when the story begins, but a chance encounter with a slightly older, much, much cooler boy turns him down a path that will alter the very direction his life takes.

And what is most refreshing about this manga, besides the stunning art (especially the reproduction of actual musical instruments), is that Tanaka is emphatically not a wunderkind. He is a terrible guitar player when he begins, and in fact doesn't even begin learning guitar unitl well into the second volume. His skills are improving, otherwise this wouldn't be the story of a young man joining a band, but rather the story of a young man who plays along badly to records alone in his room. The key is that the improvement is realistic. He doesn't use some long-forgotten guitar technique called "Eleven-Finger Dragon Revenge" to battle other musicians, and ultimately defeat them.

He just practices, practices, practices... until his fingers are bleeding and he feels the swell of pride that comes from the burgeoning callouses that guitar players must develop in order to play successfully. It is awesome.

So, the point is, while I was excited to see Tokyopop releasing Beck, I thought it would mostlybe rehash for me. Then I began reading volume 2. I didn't remember any of it. It's like reading a completely new, if vaguely familiar, manga. Now, this would be frightening to me, if it weren't so enjoyable to read these stories fresh. Only problem is, now they can't bring out the bloody volumes fast enough for me. March 2006, my ass!

Monday, December 26, 2005

My Local Comic Store Sucks

So I was pretty psyched today, getting ready to spend some cash at the comic store. The store is having its regular big-time Boxing Day Sale, as I have previously mentioned. Superfiance even got me a gift certificate, after being told by store staff that nothing she bought for me would be returnable or exchangeable if it was the wrong thing. That's pretty lame in and of itself, but the capper is that, after paying cash money for the gift certificate, we were told today that not only could I not use it today for the sale, but it is only usable towards the purchase of full-priced merchandise!!

That is absolutely f**king stoopid. The bloody thing isn't a coupon, it was paid for! Tam almost blew a gasket. Consequently, there was no trip to the comic store today, as I was concerned that my docile fiance would ragdoll the store owner up and down the street.

I did go to Chapters though, and used 75$ in gift cards to bring home Dry, Never Mind the Pollacks, How We Are Hungry, a few more books, and the much-anticipated Beck volume 2! Plus Santa brought me even more great books/comics, including Adrian Tomine's Scrapbook, Buddy Does Seattle, and the McSweeney's Humor collection. I am truly a spoiled little brat.

You want to know what the greatest problem to have is? Too damn many new books to read!

Hope all your Christmases (Christmasi?) were equally supercool.

But comic store? You suck.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Countdown to Infinite Christmas

I'd like to wish all my fellow Blogizens a merry Christmas, and best wishes for a kick-ass New Year!

It'll be organized chaos in this neck of the woods, as my seven-month old niece tries to eat as much wrapping paper as she can jam into her mouth.

Thanks to everybody who stopped by this blog over the past few months, and a special thanks to everybody who left comments! It's nice to know that some people are taking the time to read whatever junk I've vented into the ComicsBlogoSphere.

By the way, Bulleteer #2 is a great example of how to do an infodump without boring the reader to tears or turning a character into a thinly disguised mouthpiece. Yes, I am looking at you, Mr. Johns. It seems like the 7S books are gearing up for the grand finale, while the IC books just get messier and more cluttered.

IC #3 was pretty jumbled, and even worse, a bit boring. Plus, Batman is just not a good fit for the "woe-is-me" role. I wish that the DC team, if they truly felt that their comics were getting too dark and gloomy, had just started writing better, brighter stories instead of feeling the need to knock us over the head with a multi-headed colossus of a "comics event" in order to make their point. I think at this point I'm just killing time until One Year Later, and that's kind of a bummer.

Anyways, here's looking forward to anther year of bitching about comics! Seriously, I can't believe how many great blogs are out there writing about comics. Don't tell me there's no good comics criticism on the internet, because it just ain't so.

Oh, and yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. His real name is Grant Morrison. And he rules.

I wish you peace!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Boxing Day Blitz

The local comic shop has an annual 50% off sale every Boxing Day sale, and I'm starting to construct my "Plan of Attack"... aka "shopping list". I try to pick up all the tpbs that I can during these sales, so I take the process very seriously.

Here's what I'm thinking about grabbing this Boxing Day:

DC Showcase Presents: Superman
Out of all the Showcase phonebooks, this is the one that made the cut. I gave serious thought to the JLA volume, but the sheer energy of the Superman stories contained in this volume make it irresistable. The old JLA stories have always come off a little bland to me when I've come accross any reprints. The Metamorpho volume made the short list because, even though I've never read any of Metamorpho's solo stories, the blogosphere seems to have embraced this volume as perhaps the zaniest, most out-there Showcase book thus far. Jonah Hex never had a shot, sadly, as I can only enjoy Western comics in very small doses. And most importantly, I used to love the early 80s Superman digest volumes, which were composed primarily of goofy stories from this period.

When a Superboy volume is published, I will buy it day of publication, as even Superman stories take a back seat to the Smallville Wonder when it comes to stirring DC Digest nostalgia in me.

Essential Marvel Team-Up
I love the Essential format because, when it comes to old-school Marvel, I find my enjoyment-to-price ratio is best met by huge, cheap books. I never really read Marvel during the late 70s/early 80s, so there isn't really a nostalgia factor coming into play, and therefore I read and enjoy the stories on their own merits, not on the feeling and memories they evoke in me. That said, Marvel books from that era have a limited entertainment value to me. I did enjoy the Essential Defenders volume, but I can't help but think that enjoyment would have been lessened if it had been a tpb of the first 6 issues or so. There's something to be said for having a stack of 25-odd issues sitting in front of you, waiting to assault you with with their oddness.
Marvel Team-Up was my Essential choice because it seems to have had a pretty good slate of artists during this period, and I think I'll enjoy mostly self-contained stories featuring the characters within. I love Spider-Man, but I've already read pretty much the entire run of Marvel Tales, so the best of the early stories are already very familiar to me. I guess I could try out the first volume of Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man, but it just doesn't look very good. I mean, Tarantula? Jeebus.

Cerebus: Church & State vol.1 & vol. 2
Better bloggers than me have attempted to analyze the relative merits and faults of Dave Sim's mammoth opus, but I don't think many people dispute that the earlier volumes contain some absolutely stellar story-telling (especially after Gerhard joins Sim on art duties). I've read High Society, Jaka's Story, Reads, and Flight thus far, and I think I'll take a bit of a breather after I read the Cerebus-as-Pope storyline. It it possible to read something, enjoy it, but have very little idea of what was going on? Because that pretty much reflects my feelings after finishing Flight. And I hear it only gets weirder.

Buddy Does Seattle
I have all but a couple of these issues in singles form, but they're all in storage at my parent's house, and I love the Buddy Bradley Chronicles enough to warrant a discounted buy on Boxing day. These stories are such an artifact of a specific time and place, much like another of my favorite indy series, Minimum Wage. I think these earlier stories, before Buddy left Seattle to make an attempt at domesticity back in New Jersey, are the strongest work Bagge's ever put out. There's a rawness here that allows the stories to veer into the cruel and vulgar wiothout seeming crass. Buddy might be one of the most enjoyable douchebags ever depicted in comics (well, him and Henry Peter Gyrich maybe). Plus, Hate is just laugh-out-loud funny.

Beck vol. 2
Best. Manga. Ever. I've read a ton of it in scanslation form before it got picked up by a North American publisher, and it's great to read it again in a much more convenient form. I love me some 20th Century Boys and Monster, but Beck trumps all. I even downloaded the CD Soundtrack. I am a Beck fanboy, no doubt about it.

Well, that's the preliminary list. Any glaring omissions you can see? And what are you planning on picking up at comic store sales this Holiday season, if anything?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Funniest Damn Thing I Saw on TV Last Night

I didn't watch all of last night's Saturday Night Live, but I was lucky enough to be watching when Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg performed in the digital short Lazy Sunday. It was f**king hilarious.

Watch it here. Seriously. Even if you hate SNL.


Samberg's comedy trio has a good website too.

X-Factor #1 - A good Mutant Book? Que?

Picked up X-Factor #1 this week. It's Peter David's new ongoing that follows up the situations established in his Madrox miniseries. Ryan Sook, fresh off a stint on Grant Morrison's Zatanna, handles the artwork, and it is very, very pretty.

Now, I should say right off the bat that I am not a Marvel Mutant fan in general. Outside of Morrison's New X-Men and the legendary X-Force/Statix, there are very few X-books that I have enjoyed. I've never even read the Phoenix Saga or Days of Future Past. Clearly I am completely unqualified to be reviewing a mutant book. But why would I let that stop me?

X-Factor #1 is great. Apparently Peter David has a bit of a reputation for being "cutesy" at time, and for relying excessively on puns in his lighter work. That may be true, I have no idea. I've read his Madrox miniseries and Fallen Angel, and both weren't excessively silly, to say the least. X-Factor does have a healthy amoount of humour, but it manages for the most part to keep from veering into parody. Jamie Madrox is a great lead character, especially now that he's been removed from one of Marvel's worst costumes.

David has surrounded Madrox with a grab-bag assortment of supporting characters, some taken from his earlier X-Factor run (which no, I haven't read) and some taken from more disparate corners of the Marvel Mutuant Universe. It seems like a good mix, but this issue didn't really have much of a chance to show too much interaction. With David in the writers chair, I have no doubt that the relationships will be revealed in full in forthcoming issues.

I thought House of M was utter pap, but I do think it was a good idea to clip the number of active mutants down to a reasonable amount. David is evidently going to explore some of the issues raised by the depowering of a significant portion of the mutant population, and I think I'll enjoy his examination of the new status quo much more than I enjoyed the initial House of M "mega-event".

One thing I didn't like about X-Factor #!? The inclusion of know-it-all super-mutant Layla Miller is a bad, bad idea. She was lame in House of M, and I don't see why a small child would seem like a logical addition to a hard-boiled detective pastiche.

Seriously, get rid of her. Please.

Ryan Sook does a dynamite job, using interesting panel layouts and very expressive (almost Kevin Maguire level) facial renditions. He's a keeper, that's for sure. Marvel did a great steal when they took him from DC. I usually am unhappy when an artist I like goes over to the House of Ideas (*cough*Pascal Ferry*cough), but if Sook is going to stick on this book long-term, I have no complaints.

hey, wow, I'm actually adding an X-book to my monthly take! Who says people don't grow and change!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Who's The Big Winner?!

Me, that's who!

I won a copy of Blood: The Last Vampire: Night of the Beasts courtesy of the good people at Love Manga, where there is an awesome Advent Calendar Giveaway happening. One trivia question a day, one book a day being given away. It's genius.

The only sad thing however, is that, as a winner, I can no longer attempt to answer any of the questions. I'll still be checking back to see what excellent books are being given away each day. (oh, and to read all the manga news, can't forget that the site does things besides give away sackfuls of free books).

By the way, today's book giveaway is the first volume of Barefoot Gen, widely considered one of the classics of manga, so get over there and give the trivia question a try!

Victory is mine!! Woot woo1!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Nice... Very Nice.

This was definately my favorite image included in the March DC solicits released yesterday.

If they can keep this one on the rails, in terms of both quality and release schedule, it will be just, um.. boss. It's really cool to have a new book to look forward to, what with Morrison's Seven Soldiers wrapping up early in the new year.

I may be a bit guilty at times of being a Morrison apologist, but when he (not to minimize the Quietly factor) provides stories that include images like the above, how can you not love him?

My main Morrison-related question is, now that Morrison is well along with his Seven Soldiers books, do you think anyone at DC will pick up the reins and tell new story utilizing the characters and concepts introduced therein? I understood Morrison's intent to be the revitalization of some dormant or underused DC properties. Sort of a "Hey, any character can be made interesting, look at what I do with these random character templates!"

So now that he's done it, are there any plans to carry the experiment further? Is anyone exploring the possibility of doing a Shining Knight story, or a Bulleteer ongoing series? Or is it still just too early in the project to do so, as no one has any idea whether the characters will still be in usable shape once the "series of minis" is complete?

Of the miniseries' leads, I think the character I'd most like to see explored further is probably Klarion, although a Guardian ongoing could scratch a Kirby-esque itch much in the same way the Kesel/Grummet Superboy run did.

Any thoughts?

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Seven Soldiers of Victory TPBs Are Trying to KIll Me!

From Newsarama:

Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Simone Bianchi, Cameron Stewart, Ryan Sook & Mick Gray and Frazer Irving
Cover by Stewart
The brilliant mind of Grant Morrison (THE INVISIBLES, JLA, ALL STAR SUPERMAN) is showcased once again as the collections of his most groundbreaking and ambitious project yet! Comprised of seven different 4-issue miniseries and two bookend Specials, this colossal 30-part tale of death, betrayal, failure, joy, loss, romance, triumph and redemption is being collected in 4 volumes!
This second volume features the continuing exploits of four of the seven soldiers, and collects KLARION #2-3, SHINING KNIGHT #3-4, GUARDIAN #3-4, and ZATANNA #3. Independently, each of these characters is featured in a story arc that redefines their purpose in the DCU. But their stories also interweave with the other Soldiers' tales, and tells a grander story of a devastating global threat to mankind. Together, these reluctant champions must arise and work together to save the world...without ever meeting one another!
On sale March 22 • 176 pg, FC, $14.99 US

"Hi, I'd like to have the Klarion the Witchboy miniseries in trade paperback form, please!"
"Sure kid. Only thing is that it's spread out over three seperate volumes."
"But it's only FOUR ISSUES!!"

I give up. Thank god I actually do want the entire thing in TPB, because if I only wanted a couple of them I'd be tearing my hair out.

Bloggosphere: Sword of Unpleasantness

I really don't get it. One of my favorite comic bloogers, Scipio of the Absorbascon, has taken such strong offense to the recently announced Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis revamp that his blog is of late composed primarily of bitter attacks (both overt and veiled) on both the concept and the people responsible. To say he dislikes the new book is quite an understatement. Without having read a single page of the new title, he has decided that it is utter crap, to the point of renaming his blog to take a derisive poke at the new Aquaman's title (which admittedly, is not the world's greatest comicbook title).

I'm just finding the whole thing kind of disheartening. I mean, I can understand being disappointed that one of your favorite characters is being replaced by a new version. I get it, I really do. It sucks that a character that you feel is so wonderful and has such great story potential is being thrown aside for financial reasons. I was pretty unhappy when Firestorm was replaced, and I was really ticked when Blue Beetle got a bullet to the head in order to make Max Lord come off as a bad ass.

But the plain truth of it is that Aquaman wasn't selling enough. I loved the Will Pfiefer run, and I'm really enjoying the current run as well. If I had my druthers, DC wouldn't be replacing Arthur Curry with a brand-new Aquaman. However, DC can't continue to publish books simply because I like them.

And further, the nature of the revamp makes it clear that the classic Aquaman isn't being "ruined" in the manner of Hal Jordan. Should this new book fail, as Scipio has guaranteed that it will, there won't be anything preventing some writer from returning Arthur to the Aquaman role with a minimum of fuss.

So basically, they're creating a new character, inserting him into a previously created characters milieu, and telling stories about the new character's adventures in that milieu. And they're not killing or "crazifying" the old character in the process. Would the new book still stink like death to some if they had just not used the Aquaman name? Because that would imply that it's not the new book that is being criticized, but the decision to shelve the old book. And in my opinion, that's a business and creative decision that DC shouldn't be insulted for making.

I might like the new book, or I might not. Just like I might like the new Blue Beetle title (I sure hope I do). However, if more people enjoy the new books, and especially if enough people buy it that it becomes financially successful title, then the correct decision was made. Comics are a democracy, and we vote with our dollars.

Honestly, I understand being pissed off. I just want to read the Absorbascon and not wince at the shots taken at DC. Scipio has absolutely no responsibility to me, and I respect his right to deal with any topics he wishes, in whatever manner he wishes.

I just miss the old Absorbascon.

Condo In Flux

Hey, who'd like to see the amount of damage that can result from unsafe welding on a mostly wood-based condo? More like who wouldn't?!

Casa Jhunt is trashed, folks, and let's all just give a big "Hell Yeah!" for insurance. It looks like we're going to come out of this with what amounts to a brand new condo. Now, if it wasn't for the incredible, immeasuarable pain in the ass that the process invloves, this would be a no-lose situation. Such is life, I suppose.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Y I'm Worried About The Last Man

Is anyone else getting concerned about Y - The Last Man? I'm a big fan of the series. I think it ihas often risen above it's high-concept inception to really explore some of the more interesting ramifications of a world without men. Brian K. Vaughan has created some really dynamic, well-rounded characters, and I was especially interested in the Yorick/Hero dynamic.

However, of late, it seems like the series may have lost it's way. The story is getting more and more dependant on wild coincidence, and seems to be most influenced by American soap-operas at this point. I'm still enjoying each month's new issue, but I'm getting, I suppose, a bit restless.

Does anyone know if BKV has an endgame in mind? Is this a series designed to run a (loosely) predetermined number of issues, a la Preacher & Sandman? I'd like to think he at least knows where he's going to end up, if not exactly how he'll get there.

In Yorick, BKV has created one of my favorite characters of the past few years. He's incredibly knowledgeable about some very random topics, but remarkeably uninformed in many quite basic areas. He's funny, self-centered, a little weak-willed, and has a surprising temper at times. I'm really enjoying his progression throughout the series, I just want a little reassurance that his progression is leading him somewhere.

The artwork of Pia Guerra never disappoints, though. She has a "clean-line" style that reminds me a little of a more refined Chas Truog, who I feel never got the attention he deserved for his run on Grant Morrison's Animal Man. I see a real benefit in having a simple, but effective artist controlling the look of Y. The storyline could easily devolve into standard Hollywood blockbuster type garbage under the reins of a lesser artist. The art is naturalistic, with none of the posing or teeth-gritting that mars many of today's comics (even some of the well-written ones).

I hope this doesn't sound like a "complaint post". I genuinely look forward to each month's Y, and I have a certain level of confidence that BVK is heading somewhere. And he has certainly earned a level of trust from me (as a reader) through his work not only on this title, but Runaways as well. Y is just feeling a little "loosy-goosy" lately.

Still, Y sure does have the prettiest covers of any DC book. And lady pirates are very awesome.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Gervais Update : C'est Bon!

I listened to the first Ricky Gervais podcast last night while watching the Seahawks absolutely manhandle the Eagles. (Go 'Hawks!)  What did I think of the show?  Well, I did get several recriminating glares from Tam, as she was sitting next to me trying to study Statistics in preperation for her exam in a couple of weeks.  The nasty looks were given because I was actually laughing out loud.

Now, I am not, by nature, a "laugh-out-louder".  The potent combination of my Canadian citizenship and British heritage has allowed me to develop a significantly developped sense of shame, as well as a general unwillingness to draw any sort of attention to myself.  So to luagh out loud, I must be amused to the point where I can't physically control myself.  Such was mu experience listening to the Gervais show.

Ricky Gervais is, to me, a bit of a troublesome performer.  His series, the Office, was genius.  Possibly the most subtle televised comedy I've ever seen, its greatest moments are among its quietest.  A glance held just a couple of beats too long, a mumbled comment that the viewer can barely register, it really is an immaculately created piece of comedy.  Gervais' stand-up however, while still very funny, has always struck me as a little self-congratulatory.  He can rarely keep himself from giggling at his best material, a trait that, while not enough to completely spoil my enjoyment, does lessen it somewhat.

So it was with a bit of worry that I clicked on the inaugeral episode of the Ricky Gervais Show.  Luckily, Gervais surrounded himself with two very complementary performers. He has an easy banter with writing/producing/directing partner Steven Merchant, which I suppose stands to reason, and they easily bounce and carry (seemingly) unscripted bits between them.  The true star of the Ricky Gervais Show is neither Ricky nor Steve, but producer Karl Pilkington.

Karl wearily proposes a number of off-centre sociological theories, including the reasons against a cure for cancer and his half-baked proposal for  the direction human procreation should take.  The  funniest moments of the program are Ricky and Steve's reactions to whatever Karl has just posited. 

Seriously, I giggled like a little girl with a secret while I listened to this show.  It's very, very funny.  And it includes a landmark discussion into the possible validity of Russian astronaut monkeys.  You just can't beat that with a stick.


Monday, December 05, 2005

Podcasts : Now With 100% More Gervais

Hey, remember how I was whining about wanting to find some really great podcasts to stuff into my brand-new MP3 player? Well someone up there likes me, because I just found out that the incomparable Ricky Gervais (of The Office fame) has begun to podcast his own show (from EW Popwatch). This is just awesome.

I haven't listened to the show yet (the first episode is now available), but I'm definately going to do so at the first available opportunity. This is even better than Harry Shearer doing le show. And Gervais will probably do slightly less Dubya-bashing. (As a registered bacon-carrying Canadian, I'm less than interested in most American-liberal venting. It's like, yes, he's quite terrible, isn't he. Tell me again why he won?) I just wish Shearer would do less reading the newspaper and tsk-tsking, and more entertaining segments.

I'm just as cranky and smug as Shearer, but I just don't feel the need to inflict my complaining on others through the magic of the internet. Um, except for when I vent in this blog. But come on, Tomb of Dracula is stupid!

However, I was not in Spinal Tap, so I think he wins on points regardless. As he should.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Want To Hold Hands?

So here's something I stumbled across at angry ogre. Well, it's far better than the "What Character From Lost Are You" I did the other day. This is apparently the type of Humanist I am-


You go out of your way to build bridges with people of different views and beliefs and have quite a few religious friends. You believe in the essential goodness of people , which means you’re always looking for common ground even if that entails compromises. You would defend Salman Rushdie’s right to criticise Islam but you’re sorry he attacked it so viciously, just as you feel uncomfortable with some of the more outspoken and unkind views of religion in the pages of this magazine.

You prefer the inclusive approach of writers like Zadie Smith or the radical Christian values of Edward Said. Don’t fall into the same trap as super–naïve Lib Dem MP Jenny Tonge who declared it was okay for clerics like Yusuf al–Qaradawi to justify their monstrous prejudices as a legitimate interpretation of the Koran: a perfect example of how the will to understand can mean the sacrifice of fundamental principles. Sometimes, you just have to hold out for what you know is right even if it hurts someone’s feelings.

What kind of humanist are you? Click here to find out.

Oh, and don't worry that this is going to become a "Quiz Blog" or some such... it's only two I've shared in the whole span of this blog! Frankie Sez Relax.

Parade of Linkblogging

Harvey Jerkwater has put forth an exhaustive (in the good way) account of his X-Men experiences, with special attention to the wonderfulness that was the Grant Morrison New X-Men run.

Another fun background easter egg on Lost this week, plus a comic cover tribute to boot! The Baboon Bellows has the details. By the way, is anyone else becoming increasingly paranoid that there's no possible way the Lost crew will be able to satisfactorily explain the dozens of mysteries they've currently got on the go? Tam and I watched this week's episode last night, and then spent the next half hour or so detailing all of the different plot threads that need resolving before the show could end. I hope to god there is some sort of endgame in play already, or those writers should plan to change their names and hide following the final episode.

Monitor Duty relays the welcome news that Chuck Dixon has some form of return to Green Arrow in the works. I think I've made my dislike for Oliver Queen (as he is currently written) fairly clear, but I would definately be up for Dixon telling another killer Connor Hawke/ Eddie Fyers story. Man, that was a fun run of books. Good times.

And the week's big dog... the blog post everybody is talking about.. is definately Chris Sims' in-depth examination at his Invincible Super-Blog of the most inadvertantly (I assume) homoerotic issue of World's Finest ever published. Possibly the most homoerotic mainstream comic ever. Wow, it's off the hook. Truly.

That's it for my time, thanks for yours.

Podcasts: Quality, Not Quantity

So I finally got myself one of those MP3 players the kids are all into these days. I grew up in the heyday of the clunky cassette Walkman, so I'm still completely baffled by how tiny the little bugger is. And it can hold like 350 songs? That's just insane.

Anyways, it's lots of fun, but most of my music collection is in storage (along with my computer) while our condo is rebuilt following FireFest 2005. As a result, I've been using it primarily to listen to Podcasts. What I have found, from my informal sampling of Podcasted shows, is that some are very good, and some are very, very bad. I'm not going to go into detail about the ones I haven't enjoyed very much, because hey, at least they're putting something out there, and who am I to judge it? I don't think I'd have the cojones to record myself blathering on about anything. I even cringe when I hear myself on an answering machine (seriously, who is that guy? he sounds like a massive tool).

The ones I've enjoyed thusfar are not even really Podcasts, but rather episodes of actual American public radio shows made available through Podcast technology. I use Juice, by the way, for my Podcast download needs.

And the cream of the NPR Podcast crop, by far, are those made available by KCRW. I am currently subscribed to no less than fourteen KCRW podcasts, including my favorites: The Treatment and Bookworm. I used to listen to these shows via RealPlayer at home while I did the dishes, but to have them in my pocket, ready and able to fill five minutes to an hour whenever I need them, is invaluable. It's like living in the freakin' future, people! (except for jetpacks. Where's my freakin' jetpack, Scienceticians?)

All I need now is for the BBC to fully embrace podcasting and I might never have to talk to another live human being again! They have a few available, but there are probably hundreds of shows on Radio Beeb that I would love to listen to at my leisure. Yes, yes, they DO have Listen Again, but I can't seem to get the bloody thing to work! And I needs my Jonathan Ross... it's like one of the members of Spinal Tap has his own morning show. It's very cheesy, very much "'ello, 'ello... Bob's yer uncle" but I honestly can't express how enjoyable I find the show. It's hypnotic to me. I could listen to Jonathan Ross read the phone book, I think.

Those are the podcasts that I am enjoying. What about you? Any that I should add to my subscriptions? I've listened to Fanboy Radio and The Pipeline Podcast, but I haven't really run across any top-notch comic related podcasts. Leeme know if I'm missing out on any hidden gems out there in Podland?