Grotesque Anatomy
Friday, February 27, 2004
  Gratuitous Blogging
Nothing much to say -- just thought it was cool that I'm writing this on a free internet terminal in Singapore. Normal blogging should resume next week. That is all.
Friday, February 13, 2004
  Votes & Vacation
Well, the votes are in and they were pretty much unanimous:  Do not buy the Marvel Age books.  The closest I got to a response in favor of the Marvel Age books was an email from a reader in Japan who suggested buying the FF comic and selling it off to him if I didn't like it.  I considered doing this, but ultimately I decided I should follow the rules of my original entry and abide by the majority decision.  (NOTE:  If any reader outside the US is interested in sampling the Marvel Age books cheaply, the online shop I use does offer international shipping.)

And, remember, this blog will be inactive for the next two weeks while I'm on vacation.  I should be back blogging again sometime around the first week of March.

Finally, I was just as surprised by Dirk's announcement today as anyone else, but I'd like to be the first to thank Dirk for putting Journalista on hiatus:  It'll mean less catch-up reading when I return from my own hiatus in two weeks!  So thanks, Dirk, and congrats on the new position.
Thursday, February 12, 2004
  Inarticulate Musings
I promised a couple people that I would report back with my thoughts on Palomar after I finished reading it.  I've been putting off blogging my reactions to the book for a while, mainly because I don't think I've sorted my thoughts and feelings into anything satisfying yet.  But with an extended vacation looming, I figured I'd better get some of my thoughts out there before I forget them.  Plus, there's always the hope that my rambling rumination will prompt others to discuss this work in more detail, perhaps uncovering something that's eluding me.

While I really liked Palomar overall, towards the end I started to feel as though the focus or tone of the series changed somehow.  I haven't put my finger on it yet, but it was as though the stories went from being believable/identifiable/human/real to more surreal -- as though the focus shifted from the characters to the situations they found themselves in, and those situations felt artificial or abstracted somehow -- less grounded or recognizable.

Granted, the work was created across discrete points in time, not in one large chunk, and my own reading of the book was broken up into multiple sittings, so maybe these factors play into my feeling of "disconnectedness" about the work.  At some point I'd like to sit down with Palomar for a second reading and see if I feel the same way, and if I do, why I feel that way.

Other thoughts?  (And, hey, even though the collection came out last year, most of the stories were originally published in the 80s, so it would be right in line with other comic works the Comics Blogosphere has been focused on recently...)
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
  If I Had A Million Dollars
Ed Cunard (yeah, that guy again) has written a fun column where he daydreams about what kind of comic shop he would run if money were no object.  I enjoyed Ed's ideas, and I certainly understand the impulse behind today's column:  There are many days at work where I fantasize about opening a comic shop.  (I also have a recurring fantasy about starting up a comic magazine, but that's even more pie-in-the-sky.)  About the only thing I'd add to Ed's list would be a suggestion to sell used books (trade paperbacks and hardcovers).  I don't know how Ed feels about back issues (personally, I think that market has been undercut by the popularity of eBay), but I think used trades would be a great draw for a comic shop.  I know it would succeed in drawing in bargain hunters like me:  I'm always dropping into used bookstores looking for great deals on used comics (like the copy of Drawn & Quarterly Volume 5 I got for $8 at a local Half Price Books).  Are there any retailers out there who already do this?
Tuesday, February 10, 2004
  DC + CMX = $$$?
Anime News Network has a link to a Time magazine article reporting that DC Comics will be launching a manga imprint called CMX later this year.

Meanwhile, Marvel is busy reworking old Hulk comics so they read like DragonBall Z stories.
Monday, February 09, 2004
  COW = Cash Owed Workers
Here's an idea I like:  Every subscriber to CrossGen's Comics on the Web should take the money they would have spent on renewing their membership and give it to a freelancer who still hasn't been paid by CrossGen.

Now, anyone have any ideas on how to implement this great idea?
Sunday, February 08, 2004
  Markets Really Do Work Better at Information Aggregation
You readers have been good to me.  I've asked you for feedback or advice several times and you've never let me down.  Example:  When I was fretting over whether I should get the Moth special or wait for the trade, you told me to get the special (which also meant that I would get the individual issues for the subsequent mini-series).  Now it turns out that my online shop is offering the first issue of the Moth mini-series at 75% off cover price, so I'm glad that I'm getting the singles after all.  (If it later turns out that there is a trade and my shop offers that at 95% off, my outlook might change.)

Since things have turned out well in the past when I've put things to a vote, I'm going to ask you to help me with another ordering decision:  Should I get Marvel Age Fantastic Four #1 and the Marvel Age Spider-Man vol. 1 digest?  My shop is offering them at a pretty good discount (75% and 40% off, respectively) so I'm tempted to try them out.  I figure I've been so cynical about the books before they've even seen print that maybe I should give them a fair chance.  Then again, it's Marvel we're talking about, so maybe "cynical" is the appropriate response in the first place.

So, because I'm feeling ambivalent about this, and because I need to place my order soon, I'm going to let you decide once again.  Let me know:  Should I get Marvel Age Fantastic Four #1 and the Marvel Age Spider-Man vol. 1 digest?  Vote either on the comment thread below or via email by Thursday, Feb. 12.  Feel free to respond however you want -- "No"; "Yes, both"; "Yes, but only one"; "Buy the originals instead."  I'll tally up the responses and let your collective wisdom guide me.  (In the event of a tie, Ed Cunard will once again cast the deciding vote.)
  Incongruous Statement of The Week
"Well that’s all we have for this month! We hope you enjoyed the column and we hope that we helped you find new and interesting titles for the upcoming months."
- Michael Diaz and Sylvain of SBC's "What Looks Good," wrapping up their exhaustive review of the February Previews

Yes, thank you so much for scouring through the latest Previews and reporting on such "new and interesting" finds as obscure publishers Marvel and DC, unknown titles Superman and Wolverine, and up-and-coming talents Mark Millar and Jim Lee.
  Isn't Graeme Always On A Rampage?
Spotted this while reading an article over at CBR about a forthcoming anthology titled Flight:

"It's Grim! He's on the rampage again."

I think this should be Graeme's new logo.  (Oh, and the anthology looks interesting, but it's still a ways off:  No publisher, no price, no release date.  But it does have a new Derek Kirk Kim story, so I'll be looking for it if it ever comes out.)
  EW Sez Escapist Not Escapist Enough
In the February 13, 2004 edition of Entertainment Weekly (#751), the subscribers-only supplement "Listen2This" covers some comics.  For the second time, the comics section is only a single page, so only four comics are reviewed, and there's no "a comics creator discusses his favorite comic" feature.  The four comics reviewed are:
Upcoming comics mentioned are:  The Punisher: Born, Silent Hill: Dying Inside, Savage Dragon: Worlds at War, and Van Helsing's Night Off.

The review of The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist struck me as strange:  The comic is basically criticized for not being the novel it was based on.  I suppose it's hard to ignore the source material when examining a spin-off, but I would think a reviewer would want to review a work on its own merits, not on how well it captures the context of the original novel.
Wednesday, February 04, 2004
  Ed Summarizes: Because You Like Superheroes, You Really Like Superheroes
It looks like I updated my blog too soon after all:  Ed Cunard has written a column following up on his question from last week (boy, these columnists and their lackadaisical weekly schedules) and in it he kindly links to this blog.  So if you're looking for the entries where people discuss why they (or others) only read superhero comics, scroll down or click here and here.

Incidentally, Ed does a bang-up job summarizing and responding to the many thoughts raised in the monster comment threads below, and he does so in a fair, even-handed manner.  It's definitely worth a read.
Wow, look at that -- almost a week went by since I last updated this blog.  I'd like to pretend it was all part of some master plan (wouldja believe I was seeing if the comment threads for the "Why Just Superheroes?"/"Why Not Just Superheroes?" posts would break 50 comments if I just let them sit there at the top of the blog?), but really it's just been a combination of me being busier than usual at work and as lazy as usual at home.

So, my apologies for not updating the blog for so long, or at least warning you about the lack of updates.  (In that vein:  Advance Warning -- I may not blog at all next week (project deadline looming) and I definitely won't blog at all the two weeks after that (on vacation).)

There's probably a lot of interesting stuff I've missed or overlooked in the past week, but this caught my eye today:  Newsarama has a column discussing manga!  The first installment of Troy Brownfield's "Your Manga Minute" gives short overviews for three manga -- Dark Angel Vol. 1, Rurouni Kenshin Vol. 1, and Record of Lodoss War: The Lady of Pharis. Of these, I've only read Rurouni Kenshin, which didn't do much for me.  It'll be interesting to see how this feature is received.  I found the information too cursory to be of much use, but perhaps others will get more out of it.  And if nothing else, it's amusing to read the reactions of the mangaphobic Newsarama posters:
Luckily, several posters have joined in to counter the "manga is crap" line of thought.  Is it cynical of me to think that this positive direction can't possibly last for long on Newsarama?


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