COMIC - Wednesday Comics #9 (of 12) - The good: Hawkman and The Flash. The bad: Teen Titans and Metal Men. The Ugly: there’s nothing ugly in this paperwork.
COMIC - Strange Tales #1 (of 3) - The good: Cover and Inhumans story by Pope, Sub-Mariner by Kupperman, Modok by Bertuzzi. The bad: The Hulk by Kolchaka, the Hulk by Bagge. The ugly: it’s indie comics, folks, it’s almost all ugly.
PODCAST - Doug Loves Movies - A special “lost episode” featuring UCB founders Matts Besser and Walsh and Horatio Sanz. Hilarity ensues.
COMIC - Sweet Tooth #1 - In a post-pandemic future, a human/animal hybrid gets his first taste of the “real” world. Post-apocalyptic done very different by Jeff Lemire and Vertigo. $1 first issue more than worth it.
COMIC - The Nobody - I had no idea what this was going to be about but I was delighted to find it was a small-town invisible man story. Brilliantly executed by Mr. Lemire.
COMIC - The All-New Atom vol 1 - 3 - The all new Atom series wasn’t without it’s delights but I think Simone was trying too hard at being off-beat and it didn’t come off as natural. The third volume was a bit of a travesty with it’s “Search for Ray Palmer” tie-in that went nowhere and was a bit of a waste. I loved the odd-talking micro-society (such a Morrison conception) though.
COMIC - The New Teen Titans #13, 14 - The Titans are on the hunt for the Doom Patrol’s killers, except, they’re really not and they get sidetracked way too easy, and the perpetual teenaged drama is kind of a drag, and the story didn’t finish up in these two issues recently acquired. D’oh.
COMIC - Harry + Silvo Fish For Garbage/ Harry + Silvo and the Girl In The Purple Boat - Two mini comics acquired at Fan Expo. Eric Orchard produces some of the most gorgeous black and white artwork I’ve seen in a long time. Absolutely stunning. I can’t wait for more.
PODCAST - Doug Loves Movies - With Brian Poshein and Sarah Silverman. Not nearly as racy as these folks could get, but still a fun listen.
DVD - Chinatown - The classic Polanski/Nicholson pairing is great 1930’s pulp detective potboiler involving two streams of mystery that eventually sucker punch you right in the gut, not before slicing your nostril first though.
COMIC - Wednesday Comics #10 - The Good: Green Lantern for a change, Metamorpho, Adam Strange; The Bad: Sgt. Rock is so opposite of good, the prose of Kamandi still puts me to sleep. The Ugly: the fact that I gave Wonder Woman only one chance and still skip over it every week.
TV - Glee - Jesus, what an awful, awful show. Part “Bring It On”, part “America’s Got Talent” it’s attempting to be a modern revival of Fame by way of Freaks and Geeks and it’s a miserable experience all around. Except Jane Lynch. This would be far more interesting as a 1/2 hour dark comedy about Jane Lynch’s surly, uptight coach and her bitchy cheerleaders. Fail
COMIC - Secret Six #13 - If Scandal were real, I think my life would be better not knowing she ever existed. This issue was a bit weird with the whole Catman/Wonder Woman thing and the team breaking into factions… hopefully it has a good payoff. It just seems unfocussed.
COMIC - Doom Patrol #2 - The Metal Men back-up feature = formidable, while the Doom Patrol main feature was, at the very least, an improvement from last issue. Giffen’s obviously picked up a few Morrisonisms in the past few years.
COMIC - The Unwritten #5 - A (quasi-fictional) diversion into the life of Rudyard Kipling that looks to have a nice payoff for the series mythology. A really intriguing issue.
MOVIE - Kate and Leopold - an 18th century Duke, Leopold (Wolverine) follows a stranger, Stuart (Sabretooth) to the top of the newly constructed Brooklyn bridge, only to fall off the top in to a time portal to 2001. There Leopold adjusts to the new world with surprising ease, meeting Stu’s upstairs neighbour/ex-girlfriend Kate (Meg Ryan) an ad exec who lands him a spokesman role for a new margarine. Yadda Yadda Yadda, he goes back in time, Kate hops off the Brooklyn bridge, happy ending all around.
TV - Junk Raiders - As far as reality/reno/design shows go, this is about as intriguing as they come. Freecyclers and wasters come together to build a high-end live-work loft for $5000 (material costs only, manhours untabulated) comprised mostly of reclaimed materials. The point: we value our time and our goods more than we value the ecology… (well duh).
DVD - Steel Dawn - My nostalgia for this film died with Patrick Swayze. It’s boring. Really, really boring. Passed off to Toast.
TV - Ultimate Banzuke - Oh, Japan and your wacky game shows. Not great TV but captivating viewing for mid-afternoon sick-days.
TV - Shark Tank - The Americanization of the Dragon’s Den, complete with Canadian Dragons Kevin and whazisface. The two Canucks seem to have the run of the show (I guess since they’re more comfortable with the format), but the long lead-in profiles of the aspiring entrepreneurs is tedious and so “let’s build legends” American. I think the Apprentice-style setting is far too intentional as well. Not bad, but not great either.
TV - Shaq vs. - Shaquille O’Neal takes on Michael Phelps in the pool. Let’s just say it was hippo vs. dolphin. Oh, both can swim, but one’s meant to move gracefully and efficiently the other to bob around a bit. And honestly, you can tell Phelps didn’t even try all that hard. Entertaining but about 1/2 hour too long.
PODCAST - Radio Free GAK #LXX and #81 - Inglourious Basterds and other Tarantino-isms take the spotlight in the former while remixes of classic theme songs takes focus in the latter. Both grand and engaging.
COMIC - Wednesday Comics #11 - The penultimate Good: The Flash, Hawkman. The penultimate Bad: Sgt. Rock. The penultimate Ugly: it all still looks pretty good, however.
COMIC - Batman and Robin #4 - Creepy and exciting and awesome and just damn amazing, it’s like The Dark Knight every issue. I think I like Philip Tan’s work here even more than Quitely, if you can believe it.
COMIC - Batgirl #2 - It’s a charming little series, which still surprises me.
COMIC - X-Factor #48 - If there’s another book on the stands that leaves me wanting more, more, more at the end of each issue, I cannot think of it.
DVD - Patton Oswalt: My Weakness Is Strong - Patton talking more about kids and depression and himself instead of (solely) goofy pop-culture shit is a bit of a different turn. Still goddamn funny but not quite as strong. The bonus video of Patton impersonating Tommy Wiseau was achingly hilarious.
If you don’t know Wiseau, here’s a great primer:
COMIC - Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape - I think I need to read Kirby’s OMAC to understand, but I love its nonsensical wackiness (it was the Omac appearance in The Brave and the Bold cartoon this weekend that clued me in, finally).
TV - Parks and Rec - Season premiere started with Amy Pohler rapping Fresh Prince/Jazzy Jeff’s “Parents Just Dont Understand”, then marrying off gay penguins causing a micro shitstorm. I had to comfort the baby so I missed the rest but best episode I’ve seen yet.
TV - Community - Sarah Silverman Show/Channel 101 co-creator Dan Harmon’s new show starring The Soup’s Joel McHale, Daily Show’s John Oliver and Chevy Chase, in the surroundings of a community college… it’s a hilarious show, better than Undeclared even, and since I already love it so much I just know it’s doomed.
COMIC - Captain America: Reborn #3 - Bryan Hitch and Butch Guice are doing some absolutely incredible splash pages, and as far as a resurrection stories go, this makes about as much sense as any of them.
COMIC - Ex Machina #45 - for the very first time I found myself a little confused as it seems the past 44 issues are starting to come crashing back on this final story. I think a series reread will be in order in about 6 months’ time.
COMIC - JSA vs. Kobra #4 - I was thinking that there needs to be a massive cross-over called Kobra vs. Hydra vs. Cobra where all these terrorist organizations fight one another with Checkmate, S.H.I.E.L.D. and G.I. Joe teaming up to take them out. Shenanigans ensue.
COMIC - Beasts of Burden #1 - It’s not a serious as We3, nor as fluffy as Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers, it’s like Buffy The Vampire Slayer meets Watership Down. By Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson, so it’s quite good.
COMIC - The Surrogates: Flesh and Bone GN - the prequel to the graphic novel which inspired the upcoming movie. It’s as if Philip K. Dick penned an episode of Law & Order, damn fine reading.
MOVIE - Slaughterhouse Five - I missed the opening 45 on TVO this past Saturday, but this cinematic take on Vonnegut’s war satire has long been on my must-see list.
TV - Emmy Awards - Neil Patrick Harris was a solid host, great bits with Bob Newhart and Ricky Gervais, but the attempt to make the show more “hip” really blew up as none of them were even remote contenders. Award shows are always a bit of a farce. By and large though, except for the best supporting actor in a comedy series, most awards well deserved.
DVD - Babylon A.D. - there’s 9/10ths of a decent movie here (both in the regular and “unrated” edition, the each sporting some different scenes) but the ending(s) are all nonsensical. It’s like they didn’t know what the point of their own story was.
COMIC - Guardians of the Galaxy vol2: War of Kings (vol.1) - Abnett and Lanning solidfy themselves as the kings of Marvel space opera. Love this, despite the wildly inconsistent art.
DVD - Big Train Season 1 - Sitting on the shelf for almost three years, I finally cracked the seal on Graham Linehan/Arthur Matthew’s sketch comedy series (starring a young Simon Pegg) and it’s solid fro sketch one.
DVD - Dexter Season 3, Disc 1 - Oh what a pickle. Dexter gets caught in the act for the first time but finds an unlikely accomplice in DA Jimmy Smits. Oh, and Dex is going to be a daddy. What a pickle.
PODCAST - Doug Loves Movies - Scott Aukerman joins Doug to interview Mr. Skin for an in-depth, insightful, funny, and somehow not all that perverted, discussion about celebrity nudity in film.
PODCAST - Rainbow Groove - GAK fills in on CITR’s Rainbow Groove, running the gamut from trance to Michael Jackson.
DVD - Thank You For Smoking - A second visit to this great Jason Reitman written/directed satire. Solidly entertaining and even somewhat subversive.
COMIC - Criminal Vol.2: Lawless - Brubaker doesn’t just write crime stories, he writes human dramas, so we’re not only getting a bit of a revenge fantasy caper here, but also a great character piece on what builds a criminal. Ingenious.
COMIC - Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.1: Legacy - I quite enjoy Abnett and Lanning’s space epics, but it seems that in every issue of the series there’s always one moment that makes me, as a reader, go “ugh”. Either a badly worded sentence, an out-of-character action, an anachronistic reference, or just a huge gap in logic. Eg. They ask Drax if he can sniff out the Skrulls aboard Knowhere. “Can’t. Skrulls have no smell.” Erm, I learned from Superman comics that if you conceal Lois in a lead box somewhere that Superman may not be able to see Lois with his x-ray vision but he can certainly see the box. Same thing applies… Drax can’t smell them so sniff out the creatures/people who don’t smell. Hel-lo!
COMIC - Wednesday Comics #12 - The end. It actually feels kind of wrong for many of these strips to have a finish. It just feels like they should continue on. But I digress. The good endings: Metamorpho, Flash, Supergirl, Metal Men, Adam Strange, Catwoman/Demon, Deadman, Green Lantern. The bad endings: Hawkman, Superman, Batman, Kamandi. The ugly endings: Sgt. Rock, Teen Titans, Wonder Woman….
Batman - a solid front-page strip week after week. Azzarello and Rizzo set the mood nicely and really captured the gritty pulp detective feel, even with the finale (despite the fact that I didn’t like it).(6)
Kamandi - Ryan Sook dished out, easily, the best artwork of the series. Dave Gibbons’ nod-to-Prince Valiant-prose made it bottom three storywise. (8)
Superman - I like Bermejo’s art but the story was quite atrocious… pointless… redundant even… (14)
Deadman - Some weeks were outstanding, some a bit blah, but overall a charming and engaging Deadman story.(7)
Green Lantern - Despite great art, Kurt Busiek’s 60’s-set Hal Jordan tale never really found a sense of rhythm (11)
Adam Strange - So consistently good, it kind of disappeared as a weekly favourite, but as a whole, it’s the second best of the lot. Pope’s reimagining of Adam Strange had both a classic and fresh feel to it. (2)
Teen Titans - failed at nearly every juncture, just a weak, senseless story, badly paced, awkwardly orchestrated and the art just didn’t hold together (where were the backgrounds in the last chapter?). The coloring was nice tho. (15)
Metamorpho - Leave it to Gaiman to craft the most unique usage of the format, and he left it to the more than capable Allred to execute. From week-to-week you never knew what you were going to get, but it always wound up being intriguing.(4)
Supergirl - the overly cynical would find themselves sick to their stomach, but Palmiotti and Connor dished out the most insane dosage of cute for 12 weeks straight and it was brilliant.(5)
Metal Men - Dan Didio’s story had me until he started making modern Battlestar Galactica references in this 1960’s-set story. The art by Garcia-Lopez and Knowlan was tops though. (9)
The Flash - Though only Metamorpho bested it in creative use of the newspaper format, Karl Kerchel and co. created and executed the most engaging and inspired story, feeling so much bigger than its 12 parts. (1)
Sgt. Rock - An uninspired use of the format (9-panel grid, really?) and a really dull war story written by Andy Kubert for his father to draw (12)
Wonder Woman - To be honest, I didn’t make it past the second chapter. Caldwell looks like he put a lot of effort and really did something creative visually with the format, but the coloring didn’t work on the paper style and the compression of so many panels per page made it challenging and not very much fun to read. (13)
Catwoman/Demon - Walt Simonson and Brian Stefreeze presented probably the most unassuming and forgettable entry in Wednesday Comics. I like the Selena/Jason Blood flirtations but the rest of it didn’t play out with any flair or excitement (10)
Hawkman - Kyle Baker turns Hawkman into the burliest of extreme pulp action heroes. Perhaps not the most innovative use of the page, but some distinct digital illustrations and some absolutely kick-ass moments made this hands down the most exciting strip.(3)
DVD - The Visitor - Thomas McCarthy’s brilliant follow-up to his equally brilliant The Station Agent. This is a surprising and beautiful, warm and unpredictable story about a lonely and depressed Connecticut professor who returns to his apartment in New York for the first time in years to find a young muslim couple living in his apartment. For about 10 minutes what you think would happen happens, but it’s all just an amazing discovery from therein.
COMIC - The Shield #1 - Eric Trautmann is quickly becoming one of those solid comic writers that’s worth paying attention to. As with his Checkmate and JSA vs Kobra, he does something unique with the Shield that’s going to bring me back next month.
COMIC - The Web #1 - Dull and predictable, yet another rich-boy playing superhero. Yawn.
COMIC - Detective Comics #857 - finally the story starts catching up to the absolutely incredible artwork.
COMIC - The Surrogates tpb - Actually I thought Flesh and Bone was tighter both in story and art, but this was still an incredible piece of future-SF which I could tell immediately (once the religious thing really started taking hold) that the film would fuck it all up. Given the reviews I read, I wasn’t wrong. Looking forward to the third act.
COMIC - 3-Story: The Legend of the Giant Man - Matt Kindt returns with a beautifully humanist story about a man who can’t stop growing. Told in three parts, the first is about his mother, the second about his wife, and the third about his daughter. For all it’s fantasy components it has a natural and even scientific take on the situation, and is a robust and beautiful book.
WEB - Baman/Piderman - we love the adventures of these floppy, seemingly boneless, mentally challenged neighbours. Take ten minutes off for a giggle.
TV - Cougar Town - A not-bad sitcom from Scrubs’ Bill Lawrence (which would explain why his wife, Christa Miller is in the cast), sort of a truncated, less (or more honestly?) skeezy Desperate Housewives.
TV - Saturday Night Live - new “featuring” girl Jenny Slate dropped an f-bomb during her “Biker Chick Chat” sketch… to her credit, after a momentary “oh shit” look, she carried on like a pro. Megan Fox hosted, appearing in almost every sketch as either a sex trade worker, a dimwit or both. She didn’t seem to mind. Keenan Thompson had the show’s only real highlight with his second entry in the “Burnin’ Up The Bedsheets” infomercial series.
COMIC - Worlds Finest #300 - Batman and Superman are separated and the Justice League does stuff and the Outsiders join in and then there’s the Teen Titans who really have nothing to do with it at all yet they get three or four pages devoted to them, and it all ends with a dudely handshake.
COMIC - Worlds Finest #295 - It’s a Baman/Toopaman bromance as Baman is about to die and Tooperman must save him, but theys all mads at onechothers so they try to be civil but also not be friends, but it’s so obvious they loves eachuvver.
COMIC - Worlds Finest #296 - Ross Andru drew one hell of a Batman, but, jesus… yawrn. Dull. I love letter columns in old comics though, so much more civilized than message boards.
COMIC - X-Factor #49 - the penultimate chapter of the current storyline finds its wheels spinning a bit, treading water until it can fly forth (mixed metaphors hurrah) into issue 50 and then reboot into issue #200 (don’t ask). Calm before the $#!+storm.
CD - Comedy Death Ray - (from 2007) a plethora of comedians whose material I’ve already heard, and some whom I’m only now familiar with from Doug Benson’s I Love Movies podcast. Now downloading the bi-weekly Comedy Death Ray Radio podcast. Now a big fan of Jimmy Pardo and loved Paul F. Thompkin’s “Fabio” gag.
PODCAST - Radio Free GAK ep. 82 - a surprisingly effective tribute to Swayze, a strange connect-the-dots of cancer victims, and a stroll through the Rheostatics’ best album, the soundtrack to Whale Music, one of those films that make me realize that movies could be great, and not just popcorn entertainment.
DVD - Dexter Season 3 Disc 2 - Dexter is fast becoming one of those shows that just sets stuff up so that it can go wrong. Every relationship that seems to be forged right now is likely barreling to an unfortunate ending. If that’s not true, I’m going to really like this season, if it is true I may be done with Dexter.
CD - The Tragically Hip: We Are The Same - for the first time ever I actually like more than one song on a Hip album: the gentle twang of “Morning Moon” (probably their best song since “Ahead by a Century”), the funky drummer of “Coffee Girl”, the epic closing sweep and heavy Canadiana of “Last Recluse”, even the balls-out jock-rock of “Love is a First” has a charming mid-90’s pop-rock joy to it. In fact the only song I cannot stand to listen to is the plodding and dreadfully annoying “Now The Struggle Has A Name” wherein Downy’s warble is at its worst. Okay, and “The Depression Suite”, at 9 minutes, does wear out its welcome. And really is that “Is She Really Going Out With Him” in the piano line of “Honey, Please”?
PODCAST - Never Not Funny 524f - As much as I decided I like Jimmy Pardo thanks to the Comedy Death Ray standup, I’m not sure I like his radio show which sounds like only marginally more inspired “morning drive” DJs. I’ll give a couple podcasts a listen before I decide whether to keep my subscription.
PODCAST - Comedy Death Ray Radio Bonus Episode 01 - A strangely CBC sounding radio/podcats featuring Scott Aukerman, this time he host Reggie Watts, Nick Thune, Todd Barry and Paul F. Thompkins impersonating Ice-T in Vancouver in a variety show that’s a little over-long, but generally entertaining. I’ve downloaded the rest of them, so we’ll see how it goes regularly. It also has a game component, which works well as lynchpin for Doug Loves Movies…
CD - Wordburglar: Burgie’s Basement: B-Sides Rarities and Remixes - SJ and a host of beatsmeisters and fellow MCs come together in this tour-only limited edition cd. It’s a head-nodding, hook-riddled, mouth-grinnin’, analogy-laden good time.
COMIC - G.I. Joe: Cobra Special #1 - A stab at a clever format but not 100% effectively pulled off (maybe 75%?). More of a small character piece x2 that feels like a set up with no promise of resolution. Good, but somewhat frustrating.