Archive for March 29, 2011

Carnival of souls: Special “one week later” edition

March 29, 2011

* I started a tumblr dedicated to (SPOILERY) thoughts on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, in case you missed it.

* I reviewed Thomas Ott’s best-of collection R.I.P.: Best of 1985-2004 for The Comics Journal. I didn’t care for it.

* Over at Robot 6, I wrote about site stats for Wizard’s digital magazine.

* You’ve only got a couple more days to take advantage of an awesome sale on Lane Milburn comics. Go!

* Tom Tomorrow is Daily Kos’s new Comics Editor. Lots of intriguing possibilities there.

* Truth, justice, and the American way.

* Chris Mautner wrote a terrific introduction to the work of Frank Miller, listing the books to read first, the ones to read next, and the ones to avoid. I don’t agree with him on all of it, but it’s a cogent and at times passionately argued piece.

* Groovy Age of Horror indeed: Curt Purcell reviews Gossip Girl! Sometimes I think I have too much influence. Anyway, Curt brings his usual eye for unusual, revealing detail and his attention to structure and expectation to the proceedings.

* Curt’s also up to A Clash of Kings in A Song of Ice and Fire.

* Michael DeForge has been posting remarkable material on the daily lately. Here’s a few pages from a graphic novel he actually destroyed rather than finish and publish.

* Geoff Johns is writing an Aquaman series. Hooray!

* I’m saving this for when I have more time and energy, but Sean Belcher reviews Dragon Age II at length. I really have no idea what Dragon Age is, other than a thing a lot of people get excited about when it comes out, but I link to this anyway because the mere existence of this sort of writing seems to put paid to the notion that video games can’t be art. (Cf. this idiocy.)

* Buy more stuff from Tom Neely!

* Reach for it! J.H. Williams III channels funk for a Static Shock cover. Wouldn’t it be rad if more superhero artists did things you hadn’t seen before with color?

* Wow, this is a great Seth Fisher piece. Thanks, Corey Blake.

* Fresh from his triumphant run of drawing sexy women, Tom Kaczynski is now drawing ’80s action figures. It’s like he’s reading my mind.

* Robert Goodin covers Johnny Ryan. Indeed.

* Anders Nilsen reveals the cover for the collected Big Questions

* …and Anders Nilsen draws some covers for Richard Brautigan books.

* Really digging these promotional images for Strangeways‘ new online iteration.

* Well played, Iron Man 2.0.

* This Axe Cop kicker made me laugh and laugh.

* Uno Moralez, man. Uno Moralez. (Wait for it.)

* Sucker Punch as camp is one of the few reads of that film that could persuade me to see it. Nothing against Zack Snyder — until now he’s made three films, all of which I enjoyed, two of which I enjoyed immensely — but it occurred to me that lo and behold, I really don’t have any interest in schoolgirls fighting robot samurai. The fanservice failed to service me, in essence.

* Hey, congratulations to my old boss and friend Brian Cunningham on taking over the editorial reins for the Green Lantern line, DC’s biggest franchise.

* LOL: The Xorn retcon happened Grant Morrison didn’t write Magneto well enough. Well, they certainly showed him!

* It’s quite telling, but also strangely depressing given that he’s the person who introduced me to the phrase “Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen,” that Andrew Sullivan believes he must formulate and articulate a position on literally every issue of import. That’s simply crazy. You’re not an expert on everything; you’ll be outright stupid on some things. So I learned to my eternal regret.

* Real Life Horror: This chart is hilariously awful, just on a “something is obviously wrong with this picture” level.

* Real Life Horror 2: War oughta be fun! People really think this way about the enterprise of killing large numbers of people to achieve a political goal, and feel no shame about saying so. Fuck those people.

* On the other hand, I do enjoy the Captain America trailer. Rob Bricken is right: The emphasis it places on Steve Rogers having been a bullied weakling until very recently reveals an element of the character too often forgotten. (I find Ultimate Captain America all but unreadable any time I come across him now for that very reason.)

* Another Game of Thrones trailer? Don’t mind as I do.

* Finally, George R.R. Martin has finished two more chapters in A Dance with Dragons. He says the end is truly nigh.

Silent sentinel

March 29, 2011

The fifth page of “Destructor and the Lady” has been posted.

Music Time: Katy Perry feat. Kanye West – “E.T.”

March 28, 2011

I couldn’t tell you when it happened — maybe it was when I heard this chorus…

Kiss me
K-k-kiss me
Infect me with your loving
Fill me with your poison
Take me
T-t-take me
Wanna be your victim
Ready for abduction

…or when I heard this bit of Kanye West’s cameo…

I’m’a disrobe you
Then I’m’a probe you
See, I abducted you
So I tell you what to do

…or maybe it was the glossily futuristic minor-key stomp of the music, or the overall “lover as alien invader” metaphor—but at some point while listening to “E.T.” on one of the local pop radio stations in the car, I realized that if it had shown up on a mid-to-late-’90s album by KMFDM or Lords of Acid, I wouldn’t have batted an eyelash. The science-fictional lyrics, the conflation of love, death, and violence, the brinksmanship with nonconsensuality as turn-on, the notion that great sex is so scary you could lose your agency and identity to it, the shiny sleazy heaviness of the sound…it all sounds awfully familiar! Listen to “You Belong to Me” by Lords of Acid and “A Hole in the Wall” by KMFDM and tell me I’m wrong…

Carnival of souls: Special “this is gonna take a while” edition

March 22, 2011

* The interview with Phoebe Gloeckner about her Juárez project to which I link in this Robot 6 post is the must-read of the year. Great cartoonists like Chris Ware and Joe Sacco and Jaime Hernandez and Gilbert Hernandez are cutting closer and closer to the bone lately; this great cartoonist is already sawing through. Her next project will be a multimedia ebook for tablets, it seems. Christ, I can’t wait.

* Here’s some information on how you can help fund the next projects for Hans Rickheit (who recently lost his job) and Tom Neely, two of my favorite cartoonists.

* Whoa, Achewood is going on indefinite hiatus.

* Grant Morrison and (mostly) Yanick Paquette’s Batman Incorporated will likely face further delays, but it’s almost okay now that DC has signed Chris Burnham to an exclusive contract so he can draw more of it.

* There have been so very, very, very, very, very many bits of new news on Game of Thrones I hardly know where to begin. But I can tell you that none of them were more eagerly anticipated by me than Curt Purcell’s post-read review of A Game of Thrones. In all seriousness, every time I opened Google Reader during my little baby-hiatus, his was the first feed I checked for, just to see if this post had gone up yet. Worth the wait; I’ll have more to say about it at some point, I should think.

* Meanwhile I started my own A Song of Ice and Fire blog STRICTLY FOR PEOPLE WHO’VE READ ALL FOUR BOOKS, I.E. SPOILERS AHOY.

* And HBO has just been pumping out the promotional video featurettes. Of late they’ve rolled out an entire series, each focusing on one House or one character. Check out the HBO GoT YouTube channel for most if not all of them: Stark, Baratheon, Lannister, Targaryen, Ned, Catelyn, Bran, Sansa, Arya, Robb, Jon, Jamie, Cersei, Tyrion, Danaerys, Drogo, and Robert are all out there somewhere iirc, if not more besides.

* Brian Ralph drew a brand-new epilogue for the collected edition of his first-person zombie comic Daybreak. Could be a pip, could be a pip.

* Kevin Huizenga says that Or Else #2, his best comic and I think potentially the best single issue of any comic ever pound for pound, is soon to be reprinted. (Either that and/or Supermonster #14, of which OE2 was a remake, will be.)

* Speaking of Huizenga, here are some very pretty Fight or Run images.

* Hooray: My pal Matt Maxwell is relaunching his quite good Weird Western comic Strangeways as a webcomic. He’s posting both of the completed Strangeways graphic novels first, so check ’em out.

* Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul’s lovely and underrated Flash series is ending, or I suppose I should say “ending.” This is a book that featured a gigantic mirror the Rogues found labeled “IN CASE THE FLASH COMES BACK, BREAK GLASS” or something like that.

* The Comics Grid continues to be very good, lately on the work of Daniel Clowes: cf. Tony Venezia on architecture and environment in Ghost World and Greice Schneider on the use of the visual vocabularies of different modes of comics in David Boring.

* I’m with Ben Morse: The recent match-up between Iron Man and Doctor Octopus courtesy of Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca’s Invincible Iron Man has been fun so far. I’m almost positive I’m cribbing this insight from Tom Spurgeon, but the unexpected hero-villain match-up is a lot harder to pull off than it used to be. I was flipping through The Essential Thor phonebook, and there’s this truly awesome battle between Thor and Magneto. Unlike today, where such a fight would consist of giant two-page spreads of Thor causing electrical storms and Magneto hitting Thor with magnetic fields big enough to level skyscrapers with no discernible effect to any given stage of combat, this was as close to a fistfight as a God of Thunder could have with a Mutant Master of Magnetism. Neither combatant really knew the extent of his opponent’s powers, so their moves were intimate and all business; the one I remember most vividly was Magneto sealing Thor in a room apart from his hammer (so he reverted to his human form as Donald Blake), then using his powers to firing metal rivets out of the wall in hopes of shooting him to death. Nowadays, nearly all the Marvel Universe characters have met each other so many times that their every meeting has the feel of a high school reunion. But back then, there really was an air of the unpredictable about such confrontations: The readers truly had no way of knowing who might come out on top. Visit Tom Brevoort’s Formspring account sometime to see how much the accumulation of “statistics” from various encounters by battle-board users has sucked the fun out of these things.

* Over at the Nu-Journal, Matt Seneca offers an intriguing but to my mind not entirely convincing take on Brecht Evens’s gorgeous Night Animals, labeling it a sex comic that kind of fails to perform. I’d say that the ending of that second story—”brusque,” as Matt puts it—is a statement of its own, not a cop-out, albeit not a sex-positive statement and therefore one apt to engender a bit of head-scratching in the subculture that is the book’s natural audience.

* Saving this for when I have time to read both the book and the review: Beth Hewitt reviews Nick Bertozzi’s Lewis & Clark for The Panelists.

* Another day, another wonderfully unpleasant comic from Michael DeForge.

* Speaking of DeForge, here’s a preview of Johnny Negron’s contribution to DeForge and Ryan Sands’s porno anthology Thickness.

* And speaking of wonderfully unpleasant, I actually have a hard time reading Lisa Hanawalt’s “Extra Egg Room.” Keee-rist.

* Eleanor Davis is working on a YA comic about medieval Uzbekistan with her mom. In other news, Eleanor Davis can fucking draw. (Via Tom Spurgeon, I think.)

* Dave Kiersh presents three whole chapters of his next book, Afterschool Special.

* Hooray, weekly (I think) comics from Michael Kupperman!

* Love this Jeffrey Brown Incredible Change-Bots piece. Click for a link to the full-sized thing.

* Benjamin Marra draws the Savage Dragon. YES. Click for the full size thing.

* Please keep drawing those sessy ladies, Tom Kaczynski.

* Jason (yes, that Jason) draws Tin Machine.

* It’s great to see Frank Santoro draw ol’ Senator Wastmor again.

* Renee French runs the gamut.

* David Slade is directing the new Daredevil movie; Darren Aronofsky is not directing the new Wolverine movie.

* Hahahaha, the Red Dawn remake is digitally replacing all the China stuff it already shot with North Korea stuff to avoid screwing up its international box office? Hahahahaha! WOLVERINES! hahahahahaha

* The doofus who started a fake twitter account under the name of Powr Mastrs artist C.F. doesn’t think there was any harm done–this explains why throughout all of human history people have been so thrilled to discover that other people were going around impersonating them–while Chris Ware’s The ACME Novelty Library #20 has failed to live up to Jason Overby’s exacting standards. Hopefully you’ll get there some day, Chris! (That said, the Comets Comets redesign is gorgeous.)

* Tim Hodler asks: Who did Tarantino really crib the Superman/Clark Kent Kill Bill speech from?

* Congratulations to my old boss and friend Pat McCallum on his new gig as an editor at DC.

* Finally, thank you, everyone. It has meant so much.

Inside Bonesbane Mountain

March 22, 2011

Page four of “Destructor and the Lady” has been posted.

New project

March 19, 2011

Apparently a good way to while away the hours while your baby is in the NICU is to start yet another blog, so do check out ALL LEATHER MUST BE BOILED, my new site dedicated to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, strictly for people who’ve read all four books. SPOILER ALERT, in other words. I think the best way to describe it is a “noteblog” — I’m just jotting down a few quick thoughts about the series and the show here and there as they occur to me. If you’ve read the whole series so far, I hope you enjoy it.

Music Time: “Friday” by Rebecca Black

March 19, 2011

I love this song because it’s very stupid, but it’s also sweet and fun and has a message I can get behind (Friday is a nice day of the week), whereas every day I hear things on the radio that are just about as stupid as that, but that are made by legions of mercenaries with the intention of being hugely successful, as opposed to some girl’s sweet 16 present or whatever this was. I’ve been listening to the radio a lot in the car on the way to and from the hospital a couple times a day, and even before I heard of this song I was like “Wow, being stupid really is the way to pop success today.” “Friday”‘s just an exaggerated version of the many many idiotic sounds you can hear on the radio over the past couple of years: Ke$ha doing a song based on “there’s a place in France where the naked ladies dance,” Lady Gaga’s ridiculous “You’re Lebanese, you’re Orient” “Vogue” rap in “Born This Way,” the existence of “Forget You,” that song T-Pain did with Pitbull that goes “Hey baby GIRL” with the most strident autotuning he’s ever done, Britney doing a song based on the kind of pick-up line Larry would use on someone in the Regal Beagle in Three’s Company, Drake’s cameo in “What’s My Name” featuring the middle-school sex joke “the square root of 69 is ate-something,” the goofy singing in “Down On Me,” the powerfully and enjoyably dumb “Like a G6,” the car-alarm cadence of “Black and Yellow,” that part in “We R Who We R” where they make Ke$ha say “DJ turn it up tup tup tup tup tup” like a robot someone poured water on, Snoop’s cameo on “California Gurls,” Ludacris’s cameo in “Baby”, the entirety of “Bedrock”…”Friday” is the equivalent of the kind of sci-fi movie they’d watch on Mystery Science Theater 3000, not the really dreary soul-crushing ones but the exuberantly and energetically bad ones, the ones where you know they set out to make something that felt like Star Wars or whatever but had no taste or judgment and thus got certain things went waaaaaayyyyyy out of control, only in this case things were already out of control, and she/they just takes it that much further and makes it that much less sophisticated. At least Rebecca Black has an adorable smile and is singing about something I can RELATE TO.

The Tower of Joy

March 17, 2011

He dreamt an old dream, of three knights in white cloaks, and a tower long fallen, and Lyanna in her bed of blood.

In the dream his friends rode with him, as they had in life. Proud Martyn Cassel, Jory’s father; faithful Theo Wull; Ethan Glover, who had been Brandon’s squire; Ser Mark Ryswell, soft of speech and gentle of heart; the crannogman, Howland Reed; Lord Dustin on his great red stallion. Ned had known their faces as well as he knew his own once, but the years leech at a man’s memories, even those he has vowed never to forget. In the dream they were only shadows, grey wraiths on horses made of mist.

They were seven, facing three. In the dream as it had been in life. Yet these were no ordinary three. They waited before the round tower, the red mountains of Dorne at their backs, their white cloaks blowing in the wind. And these were no shadows; their faces burned clear, even now. Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning, had a sad smile on his lips. The hilt of the greatsword Dawn poked up over his right shoulder. Ser Oswell Whent was on one knee, sharpening his blade with a whetstone. Across his white-enameled helm, the black bat of his House spread its wings. Between them stood fierce old Ser Gerold Hightower, the White Bull, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.

“I looked for you on the Trident,” Ned said to them.

“We were not there,” Ser Gerold answered.

“Woe to the Usurper if we had been,” said Ser Oswell.

“When King’s Landing fell, Ser Jaime slew your king with a golden sword, and I wondered where you were.”

“Far away,” Ser Gerold Said, “or Aerys would yet sit the Iron Throne, and our false brother would burn in seven hells.”

“I came down on Storm’s End to lift the seige,” Ned told them, “and the Lords Tyrell and Redwyne dipped their banners, and all their knights bent the knee to pledge us fealty. I was certain you would be among them.”

“Our knees do not bend easily,” said Ser Arthur Dayne.

“Ser Willem Darry is fled to Dragonstone, with your queen and Prince Viserys. I thought you might have sailed with him.”

“Ser Willem is a good man and true,” said Ser Oswell.

“But not of the Kingsguard,” Sir Gerold pointed out. “The Kingsguard does not flee.”

“Then or now,” said Ser Arthur. He donned his helm.

“We swore a vow,” explained old Ser Gerold.

Ned’s wraiths moved up beside him, with shadow swords in hand. They were seven against three.

“And now it begins,” said Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning. He unsheathed Dawn and held it with both hands. The blade was pale as milkglass, alive with light.

“No,” Ned said with sadness in his voice. “Now it ends.” As they came together in a rush of steel and shadow, he could hear Lyanna screaming. “Eddard!” she called. A storm of rose petals blew across a blood-streaked sky, as blue as the eyes of death.

—George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Carnival of souls: Special “heading back to the hospital in a few hours” edition

March 15, 2011

* I want to thank everyone for all your kind words and warm wishes about the Missus and baby Helena. They have meant a great deal to us over the past few days. They also give me a great excuse to run this piece of Destructor/Helena fanart by Isaac Moylan.

* Two new Game of Thrones videos: One’s a new trailer that sets up the basics and show some skin, the other a featurette on House Stark.

* They did a really nice job with the official Game of Thrones poster. click to see it at its full huge size.

* Looks like GRRM managed to add hisself an extra chapter to the still-unfinished A Dance with Dragons. Slowly he turned, step by step, inch by inch…

* Curt Purcell has finished watching Lost. What did he think? The ANSWERS await you!!!! Seriously, Curt has maybe the sharpest take yet on why what didn’t work didn’t work.

* I just like reading Tom Brevoort talking about how comics are made.

* Nice little piece on the infant section of ACME Novelty Library #20 by The Comics Grid’s Roberto Bartual.

* This is a fine suite of nominees for the Stumptown comic con’s awards program, with what seems to my eyes like a unique and considered emphasis on illustrative chops.

* Speaking of awards, I found myself quite happy to see that Moto Hagio’s A Drunken Dream won’s Readers’ Choice Award, just because I’m happy to see Hagio’s book win anything anyone cares to award it, but also because a “readers’ choice award” indicates that it’s clicking with more people than just dudes on the internet who don’t read a lot of shojo with which to compare it, like me.

* Bookmarking this for a likely imaginary future in which I have enough free time to read it: The Mindless Ones annotate Batman Inc. #3, an unusually dense issue in terms of annotable things, even by Grant Morrison Batman standards.

* Over at the Nu-Comics Journal, Matt Seneca reviews the revised/expanded edition of C.F.’s City-Hunter Magazine #1.

* I’ll take a new full-color Ben Katchor comic strip, sure.

* Benjamin Marra needs to keep on doing pin-ups for people’s pulp comics.

* Tom Kaczynski needs to keep sketching sessy ladies.

* I really like this Shining piece by Matt Rota.

* “Involuntary Collaborations: I buy other people’s landscape paintings at yard sales and Goodwill and put monsters in them.” (Via Bryan Alexander.)

* Jacob’s Ladder is one of those films that I saw for a class in college, liked a great deal, but then never watched again for some reason. I feel like I should.

* Prepare to flash back to your childhood like whoa: Rue Morgue takes a look at the Crestwood House series of books about classic horror movies. I’ll never ever forget those orange hardcovers.

* What, are you dense? Are you from Harvard or something? What the hell do you think I am? I’m a goddamn Yalie.


March 11, 2011

Helena Christine Collins (M: Missus Collins, F: Sean T. Collins, 4 lbs. 8 oz., 17 in.), originally slated for a May 2 release, has shipped early, arriving at 11:28am this morning, March 11, 2011. Retailers please note: This item is nonreturnable.

Carnival of souls: Special “A.M.” edition, featuring Yuichi Yokoyama and Blaise Larmee interviews and a Guy Davis tribute

March 10, 2011

* Today I kicked off “Say Hello,” my regular interview column for The Comics Journal focusing on up-and-coming cartoonists. The inaugural interview is with Blaise Larmee. I think this is the most I’ve ever directly challenged the things an interview subject of mine were saying, but that’s not a reflection on Blaise (who I like) or his work (which I also like), more a reflection on me trying to connect the comics with the persona behind/surrounding them. I hope you like it.

* I’ve been pulling some overtime at Robot 6 this week, and over the past 24 hours two of my favorite things I’ve ever done for the site have gone up. The first is my interview with Yuichi Yokoyama and preview of his amazing new book Garden. Few cartoonists are doing work as exciting as this.

* The second is my list of seven great moments from Guy Davis’ B.P.R.D. run. What a pleasure it was to go back through all my collections to pull these out. I mean it when I say that some of these stand with anything I’ve ever read in any comic ever. Big, big thanks to Jim Gibbons and Scott Allie at Dark Horse for helping to make this happen (and a shout-out to Andy Serwin for commissioning the Davis/BPRD illustration from Wizard I used to kick off the piece.)


Carnival of souls: More on the Nu-Comics Journal, plenty of lovely art, more

March 8, 2011

* Now that the newsy element of the new Comics Journal website has receded into the background a bit, I’m better able to appreciate the actual content. I cannot wait to sink my teeth into Bob Levin’s report on the civil war between members of Frank Frazetta’s family, or Patrick Rosenkranz’s piece on the history of autobio comics. I’m also really thrilled that Tucker Stone is writing reviews for them, too — if you only know him for his “Comics of the Weak” smackdowns, this is a whole new side to discover, and a great look. And back on the newsy tip, Tim Hodler has a morning-after piece on the relaunch and reactions thereto.

* One of the cooler things I discovered via those reactions was Graphic Ladies, a Tumblr by Erin Polgreen that collates and collects links to comics and comics criticism by women. There are only a few days’ worth of entries up at the moment, but so far it’s got excellent taste — it’s not just throwing in anything done by people with the right set of genitals, if you were worried about that sort of thing. (And if you’ve spent any time in any kind of parameter-based publishing ecosystem — the horror Internet, anyone? — you know how important it is to apply standards on top of meeting your basic coverage criteria.) A great idea with great execution so far.

* And via Graphic Ladies I discovered a rock-solid-looking group blog called The Comics Grid, featuring mostly European mostly academic critics writing short, sweet pieces on good books. (I recognize the name of contributor Ernesto Priego.) Right now I’ve got posts on The Wrong Place, The ACME Novelty Library, Footnotes in Gaza, and Maus cued up.

* I was pleased to read that the wildly overrated ex-Hobbit director Guillermo Del Toro has left yet another fantastic-fiction adaptation dear to my heart, H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness.

* Speaking of The Hobbit, Sam Bosma’s Hobbit illustrations are gorgeous.

* Andy Khouri put together some killer cool-image galleries for Comics Alliance and Moviefone lately. The latter is all Tyler Stout movie posters, while the former includes such wonders as by-god Gilbert Hernandez drawing He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

* I’m really impressed by this Monster Brains gallery of A. Paul Weber illustrations. Yeesh.

* Behold the new Game of Thrones paperback edition!

* Speaking of GoT, it’s a pleasure as always to follow Curt Purcell as he makes his way through a well-done work of genre fiction.

* Real Life Horror: It’s always worth reminding ourselves what an immoral, dangerous, genuinely bad person my Representative, Republican Peter King, really is.

Carnival of souls: The Comics Journal relaunches, Guy Davis leaves B.P.R.D., more

March 7, 2011

* The Comics Journal has relaunched its website under the auspices of Dan Nadel and Tim Hodler. They run down its major features and contributors in this welcome letter. They say bid adieu to their old hangout, Comics Comics, in this farewell note. They speak about the changeover and their plans at length in this Tom Spurgeon interview. Spurgeon bids adieu to the old’s genuinely evil message board in this Comics Reporter post.

* I write at some length about the Journal’s past, present, and future in this Robot 6 post. I make my first contribution to the new site in this review of Ben Katchor’s The Cardboard Valise. And I will be a regular contributor via my soon-to-launch interview column, Say Hello.

* Phew! I’m very excited about all of this. PS: I recommend tapping into the Journal’s soon-to-be-online-in-their-entirety archives with this Gary Groth interview with the great Phoebe Gloeckner, one of my all-time artistic heroes and one of the all-time great cartoonists.

* Artist Guy Davis is leaving B.P.R.D., one of the very very very best superhero(ish) comics of the past ten years thanks in large part to his contributions. Click the link for my take on Davis’s work on the title. What he and main writer John Arcudi and co-plotter/overseer Mike Mignola did on that book is a genuine achievement. And this is one of my all-time favorite comics pages.

* The Lord of the Rings Extended Edition is coming out in a Blu-Ray box set at last. It contains all three extended-edition films, all the bonus materials from the Extended Edition DVDs, and those weird behind-the-scenes docs from the Limited Edition releases. I don’t think it includes the theatrical editions, but that’s fine. I already preordered it.

* Jay Babcock is discontinuing Arthur magazine’s online incarnation. Even after the print version was shuttered, it continued to be an underrated source of good comics. Best of luck to Mr. Babcock.

* Carol Tyler on her series of memoirs You’ll Never Know and “the legacy of war.”

* Tom Cruise really is starring in Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness. I still think that this works remarkably well.

* Writer Nick Spencer is now Marvel exclusive, though his creator-owned Morning Glories will continue at Image and, remarkably, his T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents revival will continue at DC. That’s a big get for Marvel.

* The very good cartoonist Tom Kaczynski has launched a blog for his publishing imprint Uncivilized Books. Also, his comic in Mome Vol. 21 looks sick, and he drew a sexy woman.

* This is a beautiful spread from Amazing Spider-Man #655 by artist Marcos Martin (and writer Dan Slott). It also basically crushes any given similar image or sequence of images in Inception, by the by. (Via Agent M.)

* Topless Robot’s Chris Cummins lists the 20 Greatest Liquid Television Segments. Man, what a marvel that show was. I so vividly remember feeling like I was watching something genuinely strange and genuinely adult. I still remember the “Cut-Up Camera” and “Dog Boy” theme music, and those silent Aeon Flux shorts crush the property’s later iterations.

* For some reason I really like this very simple poster for Kenneth Branagh’s Thor. (Via Agent M.)

* Michael DeForge remains very talented.

* Kevin Huizenga revisits the ongoing debate over the existence of Hell, the topic of one of his (or anybody’s) best comics, “Jeepers Jacobs.”

* Real Life Horror: Every day, the Obama Administration’s military agents force non-violent, non-suicide-risk Army whistleblower Bradley Manning to sleep and stand for inspection fully naked during his solitary confinement on charges for which he has yet to be convicted and for which he is eligible for the death penalty.

* Finally, sink your teeth into this meaty Tom Spurgeon interview with Renée French. It’s fascinating to see an artist of French’s caliber talk so frankly, and yet without hyperbole or self-pity, about her artistic struggles. Also, I really love the declaration “Fuck narrative.”

Carnival of souls: Fancy-pants version of new Game of Thrones trailer, Battlestar Galactica reunion of sorts, more

March 4, 2011

* Hip hip hooray, the latest Game of Thrones trailer is now available in hi-res! I really don’t know why you’d land an exclusive trailer and then not post it properly, but what do I know. Unsurprisingly the thing is a lot more impressive when you can actually see it clearly.

* Related: I started re-reading A Game of Thrones yesterday–before the news about A Dance with Dragons hit, no less!–and I’ve now had to put the book down twice in the first few chapters because I was literally too excited by everything to come in this volume and all the subsequent ones to concentrate properly on the page at hand.

* Ron Moore, Michael Rymer, Jamie Bamber, and now James Callis — whose Gaius Baltar was one of my favorite television performances of all time — are all part of the big Battlestar Galactica reunion that Moore’s new supernatural-cop show 17th Precinct is turning into.

* Here’s a typically thoughtful Tom Brevoort Q&A at Comic Book Resources, tackling issues of pricing, title cancellations, submissions and talent recruitment, the status of the X-Men/mutant franchise, character gluts, continuity glitches and more — the difference this time around being that the questions are from one selected message-board user. It’s interesting to see how these issues are approached, and what about them is prioritized, by someone with the perspective of pure fandom.

* Now that’s a good idea for a listicle: Steve Erickson presents the Top 10 Artsploitation Films. Worth the price of admission for the Fat Girl screencap alone. (Via The House Next Door.)

* I first discovered the art of Johnny Negron via Ryan Sands a few weeks ago and had been waiting for the right image to come along to send you his way as well. This was the one.

* Real Life Horror: “Nine Years of Nudity in American Detention.”

* Be a birther, be a racist dogwhistler, be an anti-Muslim bigot, be a homophobe if you must, Mike Huckabee. But what kind of idiot fuckface can’t get behind the idea of impregnating Natalie Portman?

I wrote about Radiohead a while ago but was too busy to put it up, so here it is now.

March 3, 2011

Radiohead released their latest album, The King of Limbs, the other day. I don’t think I see much value in viewing it through the lens of “Radiohead’s weakest album” as does my friend Matthew Perpetua. I get what he’s saying about it being a relatively minor work in their catalog, but to me that’s not because it’s a failed experiment, but on the contrary, because it’s so firmly in the vein of some of their previous work, Amnesiac most especially — which really was an experimental break from their great strength through Kid A, which was melodic catharsis — and also Thom Yorke’s solo album The Eraser and some of the In Rainbows songs. Personally I locate it on a spectrum of lush minimalism (that’s a thing, right?) that also includes Yorke’s album and also recent records by James Blake, the xx, and a couple of Spoon tracks — songs where melody is suggested with such instrumental restraint that they almost feel unfinished, or like the fingers can’t quite push the keys all the way down or strum the strings the whole way. (I also hear the skewed ghost soul of How to Dress Well, but I think that’s because I accidentally left the “Vocal Booster” equalizer on my iPod from when I listened to the Inkstuds Al Columbia interview, so the high notes and loud parts were clipping during my first few listens before I figured out what was up.) It’s also quite a showcase for Phil Selway’s crisp, thumpless drums. I like it, and even before it came out I realized that my nearest point of comparison to Radiohead, in terms of a band that audibly grew from record to record (even though there were some stops and starts and misfires here and there) and yet maintained this consistent a discography across its career, is Led Zeppelin, the second-best band of all time. So good for Radiohead for being really really good.

Carnival of souls: yet another new Game of Thrones trailer, The Hobbit subtitles, new Tom Neely, more

March 3, 2011

* Golly gee willikers, today was a big day for Game of Thrones. In addition to the news about A Dance with Dragons‘ release date (and btw, you can preorder it now on Amazon), HBO debuted a full-fledged two-minute-plus trailer for the show. Right now it’s only available in a streaming, unembeddable, non-HD crappy version exclusively on, but hopefully we’ll get a better version soon that I can share.

* It looks as though the two Hobbit movies will be subtitled The Unexpected Journey and There and Back Again. (I’m just assuming they’ll use the definite article for the former.) I’d figured “There and Back Again” would be involved but wasn’t sure about the other one.

* Today in self-publishing projects from brilliant cartoonists, part one: Ron Regé Jr.’s Yeast Hoist #16: The Chronically Hallucinating Insomniac is being republished by him after a sold-out 100-copy limited edition from French publisher Kaugummi as an even more limited 15-copy edition for $25, with a free drawing from GR2’s latest Post-It note art show thrown in for good measure. Wish I could afford it these days.

* Today in self-publishing projects from brilliant cartoonists, part two: Tom Neely has completed his new graphic novel The Wolf.

* “Martha I’d Like to Fuck.” (I actually think I may have gotten there first.)

* Johnny Ryan draws Junji Ito’s Gyo, courtesy of Ryan Sands.

* Real Life Horror: Today was one of those days where the atavistic, sociopathic, autarchic, bigoted shittiness of our great nation really fucking got to me. Those are links to fully five separate instances of nightmarish heartlessness and idiocy, and I haven’t even gotten to union-busting or Mike Huckabee yet. The Others take it all.