Saturday, June 28, 2008

The 90's-Est Cover: Part 2: The Re-Avengening

So after last night's disheartening dive into the depths of my old comics, I had given up on finding anything from my youth to display. But then, while watching the Cubs getting beaten by the White Sox (God-Fucking-Dammit), I noticed another box of comics in my basement I hadn't seen last night, and after a quick flip-through, I came upon: Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1

Let's see, we have:
  • Foil
  • Smoking Gun
  • Gritted teeth
  • Unnecessary pouches
  • Artist with no clues as to how human anatomy actually looks
  • Flames in the background
  • Blood
So, yeah, that's fucking 90's.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Most 90's-Est: Part 1: The Begining-ing

Dear Readers, it's been a long dark night of the soul here at Phoning It In Industries. Dr. K, Phil Looney & Chris Sims threw out the challenge to the blogohedron to find the most 90's-est cover and I knew I had to have something that could be in the running. Church's entry, I must admit was a blow, I mean really, that's just insane. For a man who recently made his local papers because he was giving away his comics to keep something like that on-hand is just amazing.

Anyway, so the kids were away, I figured that Friday nigh would be the perfect time to delve into the deep recesses of my deeply disorganized file-boxes full of comics and unearth something to make me feel the true meaning of shame. Here's the time-line of my Friday evening:

7:05 - "Allright, let's get to work...ooooo Amazing Spider-Man #319, you look promising. Eh, not quite, but a nice try for McFarland anyway.

7:13 - "Ooo, a bunch of ROM issues, I'm sure I have close to a full run, better star pulling those out."

7:18 - "Cool, voodoo doll Moon Knight, gotta stop and page through this one."

7:23 - "Hmmm...will have to pull the Essentials out and re-read some of that stuff."

7:30 - "WTF! Starriors!"

7:38 - "Sweet, Secret Origins Featuring Ambush Bug, I'm totally reading this!

7:39 - "Thought him up indeed, you guys are a bunch of cards. Can't wait for Year None."

7:42 - "Trust is done with, time for some Tommy Keene."

7:48 - "Now that is a cover I cannot deny, throw it on the pile!"

7:52 - "Why the hell do I feel drunk, I've only had two beers? Oh, no food since lunch."

8:05- "Mmmm, frozen pizza"

8:05:21 - "HOT, HOT, HOT, HOT!"

8:17 - "Well, that may not be the 90's-est, but gosh-darn Dubby, that sure is 90's:"

8:21 - "What the flying fuck, Sledge Hammer!?!"

8:22 - "Seriously, 15 year-old me What he hell is wrong with you that you bought that...for a dollar! I'm sure there was some street drug you coulda tracked down."

8:26 - "I only have two issues of Dakota North? Damn, gonna have to track those other three down."

8:32 - "Truth be told, get Liefeld o re-draw this cover, and there you go..."
Wolverine, Punisher, Spider-Man...and Brother Voodoo = GOLD!

8:43 - "OK, this is getting disheartening, no foil, no embossing. Not a single goddamned Image title. Did I get rid of all those? Hey, where's my 90's Cage? Did I sell that at a garage sale? Shit, I hope not."

8:48 - "G.I.Joe #21, gotta read that."

8:52 - "Dammit, this is depressing, I thought I had worse taste than this during my teens. I mean, I bought a copy of Adrenalize for chrissakes!"

9:02 - "Well, that's close:"

Let's see, we've got:
-Unnecessary pouches
-Smoking gun
-Rob Liefeld
-Smokin' stogie
-Belts, belts, and more belts.
-No feet
-Eyes are inexplicably red, so the artist (such as he is) doesn't have to, y'know, draw eyes.

Unfortunately, this book is from 1989, so I guess it doesn't count. But, damn it, I'm on a mission, looks like I'm hitting the quarter bins tomorrow. Let's see what depths of hell I can descend to then. Pity me!

*Special thanks to the Grand Comics Database for helping my crappy scanner from having to do too much work. Piece of crap.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Weekly Singles - 6.25.08

What If - Mike Wieringo Tribute

Seriously, if you're getting one book this week, this is it. Not just for the great cause your money is going for, r for the fact that Jeff Parker hits another fun script out of the park, but for the chance to see Mike Wieringo's last work. It really is too bad he didn't get a chance to finish this, but what we have here (completed by an all-star series of artists) is still great. Mike Wieringo's always been severely underrated in my opinion, his run on Fantastic Four (with Mark Waid) is still one of my favorite runs ever, but I think it will begin to sink in as the comics-world begins to miss his art.

Final Crisis #2

I really don't get the haters on this series. Yes, Countdown was a cluster-fuck. Yes, DC's starting to rival Marvel on it's in-house lack of grasp on shared continuity. But this book is riveting. It feels like chapter two of a novel, and it's filled with dread. Horrible things are happening and things are beginning to look bleak. I don't know where Morrison is going, but I'll be straining my patience to find out every month.

The Immortal Iron Fist #16

Matt Fraction & David Aja check out with this issue and it feels like the end of something. While I realize that a lot of this is set-up for the new creative team coming in (or I hope it is and this isn't all just ignored), but it's done so well, I'm going to miss these guys, no matter how good the new team is. Anyway you shake it, this is the best this character has ever been written.

Also purchased:
  • Captain America #39 - The big story continues. Still very good. That is all.
  • Conan the Cimmeranian #0 - $0.99 Conan, you really can't go wrong.
  • No Hero #0 - $1 Warren Ellis, still really can't go wrong, but this one didn't drag me in like Black Summer did.
  • Trinity #4 - I'll get to it, I'll get to it. The Cubs are on!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Awesome Things: Battlestar Galactica


I've made no secret of my love for Battlestar Galactica over the last few years, I've always planned to do a full post on the subject, but rarely have I had anything to add to the excellent coverage it has received on the internet elsewhere, but I had to bring this to the attention of those who may have missed it: Galactica Sitrep, the excellent blog about all things BSG has posted this amazing panoramic collage of the reaction shots from the recent finale, it's just so cool:

go to their site to embiggen

Anyway, just wanted bring that up. In slightly less awesome BSG stuff, here's the one piece of merchandise that I would actually purchase, a BSG Toaster:

It just kinda says it all doesn't it?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

This Week's Singles

Trinity #3 - So, I think I'm starting to like this book, but overall I think it's being hamstrung by its structure. Though both Busiek & Bagley are great storytellers, it still feels like every week they're only telling two-thirds of the story in their 16 pages. The backups have been OK, with this week's actually being pretty great, but I also attribute that to Jerry Ordway's finishes as they really elevate the writing. As for the main story this week, it's good, but after watching the JLA get its ass handed to it yet again, you have to wonder why and of the current chuckle heads are on the team. I mean really, they got their butts kicked by The Human Flame three weeks ago, and this week they lose to Konvikt? Crap in a hat, that just isn't right. Anyway, I've added this one to my pull-list so its got another month to get going good.

Ex Machina #37 - Well, over a year after I tried to break up with this book, I finally have. While there's nothing exactly wrong with it, it just doesn't have any storytelling momentum anymore. Considering that they already know how they are going to end the book, they just don't seem to be doing anything to actually get there. I'm sure I'll eventually read the whole thing in trades.

Guardians of the Galaxy #2 -So I'm really starting to like this spin-off from the Annihilation Conquest event mini. It's really delivering on it's "dirty dozen in spaaaaaaaaaaceee" promises and is chock full of big, crazy sci-fi ideas (chunks of frozen time, galaxy-spanning scientologists) so I'm in for the long haul on this one. I just hope that the up-coming tie-in to Secret Invasion doesn't derail the book too much.

X-Factor #32 - You know, I'm thinking about dropping this book, which would make me a little sad, since it has been consistently good, despite being sucked into every crappy cross-over that has floated through the peyote crazed minds of the X-office. Anyway, as I said, this has been a good book, and an OK diversion every month when it hits the shelf, but there's nothing really holding me here. None of the characters are that compelling and without Layla around to give the book some drive, it's kind of sitting dead in the water. But, with this issue, they're wrapping up the current arc and moving onto a new status quo. I guess I'll give it a few more issues to see where it goes from here. Let's hope their stay in Detroit is better than the Justice League's.

The Spirit #18 - Gone. Sorry, Mr. Aragones, Mr. Evanier, & Mr. Smith. Individually, I regularly love you work, but on this book, it's just not working for me.

Best of the Week
The Brave and the Bold #14

Dammit, just when I thought I was ready to let this series go, Waid comes back with a cool little tale of Green Arrow and Deadman teaming up to face off against a Hindu revenge-god. The only thing that could have made this issue better was if they could have brought in Neal Adams to pencil two of his most well known subjects. Anyway, Scott Kolins acquits himself well in this issue, hes an artist that I definitely run hot and cold on, I loved his stuff on the Flash, and pretty much hated everything he did at Marvel, but this really suits him. The only disappointing thing about this issue is that it ends on a cliff-hanger, which is something new for this series, but I'm looking forward to the remainder of this story.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Great Covers: Secret Wars #4

Dicking around on the superlative Grand Comics Database, I came upon what proved to be my gateway drug to comics fandom, sure, I'd messed around some G.I. Joe and some Transformers, but this is what did the trick, when my 11 year-old eyes saw it on the rack in the White Hen Pantry:

"Sweet fancy Moses, somebody dropped a goddamned mountain on the Hulk, how's he gonna get out of this pickle?" I thought to myself. Well, it's complicated, but it involves Reed Richards harnessing the powers of Johnny Storm and Captain Marvel (no, not that not that one either, this one) to supercharge Iron Man to crack the damn thing in half. Yeah, it was awesome. Hell, it did everything but play the hallelujah chorus and shove cocaine up my nose, and I was an addict after that. So damn you Secret Wars #4, you beautiful bitch.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Tale of Two Hulks

So I have long contended that the first Hulk movie was a good movie, just not a good Hulk movie. By that I mean, if it had been about some other, misunderstood monster, it probably would've been hailed as a much bigger success, but it missed the mark in giving comics fans, and the general public, the things that we wanted out of the Hulk. Namely, being big, dumb, and upfront with the smashing. We didn't want a long think piece on a scientist with daddy issues who occasionally turned into a monster that would eventually get all sad on us and cry (that would be like getting a Spider-man who went all Pete Wentz-emo on us and started strutting down the street like he was in Saturday Night Fever,...oh, shit). Plus, they didn't really give him anyone to punch, other than some cartoon dogs (who looked suspiciously like the live-action Scooby Doo) and Nick Nolte as Zzzax *. The Hulk needs someone to punch.

Anyway, Marvel figured that they could get it right with a quick reboot, thus bringing us to tonight's movie, The Incredible Hulk:

Hey Banner, what's with the redneck tuxedo?

So it was with hope that I attended a showing of The Incredible Hulk and it was exactly what the fans said they wanted: a big, loud movie featuring the Hulk smashing shit, but good. So, I'll say this, it's adequate, it's not bad, it's OK, it's pretty much every adjective you can think of, up until you hit "very good". It's the equivalent of every movie that you stop and watch when it's on TNT at 9PM, but you will never buy it on DVD. Since I'm too lazy to actually put my thoughts into paragraphs, here's a quick breakdown of the good:
  • Tim Roth was a really good villain. I loved the motivation they gave him (old warrior realizes he needs a new edge to keep up in the field, and gets addicted to it), he had the right look and he just really sold the role.
  • There were a ton of Marvel easter eggs in there, a quick rundown of the ones I caught the first time through (and subsequently remembered): Weapon Plus Program, Nick Fury, SHIELD, Stark Enterprises, Super Soldier Program, and the Tony Stark cameo.
  • They did a good set-up for both Captain America and the villain for the next flick.
  • Shit blew up real good.
And now, on to the not-so-good:
  • The script was rather thin, and unfortunately, unlike Iron Man, where really good (if not great) actors elevated the material, it just didn't happen this time. This may have led to:
  • As I stated on Twitter, Liv Tyler is not very good at the acting. On top of that, she had some very unfortunate bangs.
  • William Hurt did everything but ask for his check on camera. I think his sole commitment to the role was growing the mustache, and what a wondrous 'stache it was. Then again, you can't blame the dude, he gave his all for Lost in Space, and look how that turned out.
  • All this Marvel cross-over stuff is cool, but, let's face it, only one out of four cross-overs ever end up turning out good, and two of those four are complete clusterfucks. So let's just hope that Marvel understands that.
Anyway, it sounds like I'm damning this movie with faint praise, but it was certainly worth my $8.50 and it is exactly what a Hulk movie should be, It's just that I didn't walk out of the theatre thinking, "That was awesome! I need to see that again." I just thought it was OK.

*Perhaps without the aid of special effects, just certain pharmaceuticals.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hey Kids...COMICS!

Hey folks, here's what I've got to get rid of, I'll accept beer, food, a few dollars or a hearty handshake in return:

Powers Vol. 1 Who Killed Retro Girl
Powers Vol. 2 Roleplay
Powers Vol. 4 Supergroup
Powers Vol. 5 Anarchy
Powers Vol. 6 The Sellouts
Powers Vol. 8 Legends
Powers Vol. 9 Psychotic

Queen & Country Volumes 4 through 7

Starman Volumes 1 through 4

So I'll bring those along as well, see you Sunday!

Space Oddity

Why I can't listen to Space Oddity by David Bowie without cracking up anymore:

FYI...Season 3 of The Venture Bros. is airing now. Set your DVR's.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Summer Music Meme

So Mr. Church got tagged for a meme and instead of tagging others, simply invited all comers. Sounds good to me. As you have seen by me posting a few muxtapes n the last few weeks, I’ve been turning off the TV and listening to a lot more music of late, which is good. Here are the rules:

"List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to."

Fortunately, I haven’t been burdened with anything too awful over the last few weeks, here’s what I’ve been singing to myself:

Red With Purple Flashes - The Times –Had a good back and forth with a friend about the Prisoner, which turned into a discussion of how many bands that show seemed to have influenced (ie. The Times’ I Helped Patrick MacGoohan Escape”). Anyway, I’ve had this song stuck in my head and it seems to come up just about every time I hit “shuffle” on the iPod.

I Wanna Know Girls – Portastatic – Pretty much the very definition of a summer/spring song. Fast, peppy, witty; just a great song to sing along to with the windows down. Whenever the sun is out, this song (and the album it’s on) is sure to be played on the way home.

Feel the Love -or- Unforgettable Season – Cut Copy – Really, I could just throw this whole album up there as it has become the album easily getting the most rotations over the last few weeks. Spend some of your precious downloads at eMusic on this one, you won’t regret it.

The Robots (Live) – Kraftwerk – Another song my iPod refuses to let go of, but I do not mind at all. Just an amazing live show (I caught them in Milwaukee a few weeks ago) and this one has stayed with me. Maybe it’s just because those robots really creeped me out. Plus, my 5 year-old loves these guys. He always asks that I play the “robot music” when he’s in the car. Here’s the live performance:

Thanks to Kevin of finding that for his SXSW post, so I didn't need to hunt it down.

Heroes – David Bowie – At least one day of every week for the past few weeks has been a “Bowie Day”, meaning that I just pull all of my Bowie from iTunes into a play list and just let it shuffle through all day. This is the song that I inevitably end up singing to myself as I walk around the office. Sorry co-workers.

Foundations – Kate Nash – Bought this album after hearing a good review on NPR, but it just hasn’t clicked with me. I thin the problem is that there are a few good songs, a few OK songs and one or two out-and-out awful ones (ie. Dickhead). Anyway, this one always gets turned up when it comes up on shuffle.

Underwhelmed - Sloan
- Really, Sloan is Summer in many ways. Those crazy Canadians are the very sound of cooking outside, drinking watery domestic beer and having good times.

So that's what I got, I'll try to update later with a muxtape of it all, but their interface is moving rather slow right now. Feel free to share your own.

Monday, June 09, 2008

I Can't Put My FInger On It, But....

There's something vaguely inappropriate about this:

Thank you, William Moulton Marston , you daffy bastard.

Scan taken from: The Golden Age of DC Comics: 365 Days. It's a page-a-day of eye-popping craziness.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Three Great Panels

From Batman: Confidential #17, chronicling (Babs version) Batgirl's first meeting with Catwoman, here's the full page:
The bottom three panels of that page just held me in place for a full few minutes, just marveling over the way they conveyed so much story in just less than a third of a page. The indecision of the first two, followed by the sheer determination showed in that last tight shot of her eye is just amazing. Here's a close-up:

Art is by the incomparable Kevin Maguire, who illustrated what proved to be my gateway drug to DC Comics in the 80's, Justice League International.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Mutxtape Vol. 2

In case you find your summer frolic frighteningly bereft of music, here's a new muxtape I created whilst staving off yet another Kerry Wood-induced heart attack.

Friday, June 06, 2008

FNF: Blob Hurts Hulk With Words, Fists

Now that's just mean. Bahlactus would never stoop to such a level.

This sad example of mutant on mutated freak violence
can be found in Essential Defenders Vol. 2

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Random Crap (Over 140 Characters Division)

The greatest sports anecdote that I've ever heard:
During a West Coast trip, Jack McMahon, who coached the Cincinnati Royals in the 1960s, called a meeting in his hotel to restore order. The players dreaded it, but according to my former Knicks teammate, Jerry Lucas, they were greeted with two cases of beer, four quarts of whiskey and three hookers. 'Guys, you figure this out,' McMahon said before leaving the room. The Royals figured it out, all right, going on a long winning streak.
Thank you Phil Jackson for writing this, and thank you Bill Simmons for bringing it to my attention. There really needs to be a movie made about that Royals team.

Random Comics thoughts from the last two weeks:
  • "Motherfucker!!!" - me after finishing the amazing All-Star Superman #11 and then immediately realizing I'd have to wait a minimum of two months for any form of closure.
  • I'm afraid I don't really like Final Crisis as much as I think I do because I really want to like it, a lot. Does that make any sense?
  • Trinity makes me very happy I skipped a year between weekly series. I can't really think of anything Busiek ever wrote I didn't like.
  • Nova, Criminal, Manhunter - Three series that are solid as a freaking rock from a quality stand-point.
  • I truly believe that if Astonishing X-Men had come out monthly, it would have supplanted Morrison's run as the X-Men run of the 21st century. Regardless,I felt it ended very strongly and pretty much as it should have (even if Whedon cribbed the ending from Buffy).
  • Seriously DC? A $25 hardcover for Booster Gold? I mean, I really liked it, but the story begged to be in TPB and $10 cheaper.
  • On the other hand, serious kudos on the OMAC HC. Face: rocked.

OK, seriously, if you watch and derive any form of enjoyment from the new Rambo movie, I just don't know if we can be friends. I felt like I was watching a snuff film. A completely joyless exercise. Makes Saw look like Mary Poppins.

That said, I'd watch it four more times if it insured that I'd never have to see Zohan or The Love Guru. I think Mike Myers is trying to sabotage his career, so people will stop pestering him to make more movies so he can just sit at home with his giant piles of money. As for Sandler, I just wonder what his two-hour-long-gay-joke will be next Summer.

I'm irrationally hopeful for the Hulk movie.

Saw it again and I still haven't changed my mind on Indiana Jones.

Things that need to be on DVD: The pilot for Evan Dorkin's Eltingville Club cartoon (made for Adult Swim):

This is part one, the rest is on YouTube.

In case you wake up in the morning and find you have an alarming lack of contempt for the rest of humanity, please hustle on over to Get Off the Internet to refill your coffers.

Saw a muskrat in the pond next to my house this morning, so, you know, I've got that going for me.

Remember, Ninjas are or future. We must work to save this valuable resource.

You know, despite my thoughts on the Hulk and Indiana Jones above, I am just as sure as I am that water is, in fact, wet, that The Dark Knight will be the best movie of the summer. Honestly, there's no way it won't be great, it's science!

And with that, I'll take my leave.