Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Night Fights - Ladies Night Round 12

One Last Time, Tonight:
The Spirit vs. Silk Satin

And in the end, the only winner is love.

As this is the final round of the final Friday Night Fights, a huge thank you goes out to Bahlactus for all of the laughter...and the violence.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Sorry for the lack o' content for the last week, but work's been beating me with a stick. Anyhoo, it's Halloween-time here at Phoning It In Industries and it's time for the kids to dress up. Looking at my 5 year-old's very nice Spider-man costume, I harkened back to the awful costumes we were forced to wear in the 1970's. Fortunately, I had a copy of Marvel Premiere #45 handy to share my memories with you all, check that out:

(click to embiggen)

Man, that Hulk costume is weak. Anyway, have a happy and safe Holloween!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wishlist: Essential Marvel Premier

Marvel Premier was a series that ran for 61 issues, beginning in 1972. Much like DC's First Issue Special, MP was a monthly that allowed Marvel to gauge the popularity of new characters (as well as re-launches of older ones) without going through the effort of launching new series. If a run did well (as with issues 3-14's Doctor Strange) the character would then be spun off into their own series. If things didn't work out, they could chuck it and move on in the next issue.

While the popular issues have already been collected (Iron Fist, Doctor Strange), it'd be very cool to see some of these failed experiments in their own quasi-glory, just look at some of these:

First, there's Man-Wolf, and the concept goes something like this:

Conan in spaaaaace + Were-Wolf + J. Jonah Jameson =
How is that not gold?

Next, we have The Man-Brute Called Woodgod!!!
You know you want to find out what the hell that's all about.

Following that, we have Monark Starstalker, a hero so goddamn manly, they could only publish one issue, because a second one would have literally exploded from the awesome, sending spinner rack shrapnel all over the 7-11.
Seriously Marvel, this is a good time to gauge this guy's popularity, cause you know Sims would totally write this.

Finally, we have issue #52, whose cover speaks for itself:

Really, the only way to improve upon that is if it had read: "At Last! T'Challa Fucks Up The Klan!!!"

Anyway, there's some real cool stuff just laying around waiting for you to throw it into a phone book for me and the rest of the geeky masses to purchase, so get on that Marvel.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Halloween Treat - Misery Depot

Just in time for Halloween, Jim Sheeley's Twitter pointed me towards Misery Depot, a new, on-line comic that I found to be quite good. Go ahead and click on the below image to go over to their site where you can either read the first issue in full, or download it for yourselves. I'm looking forward to the second issue.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Powell's Endorsement of Obama

Despite being fairly liberal, I'm a pretty jaded person when it comes to politics and politicians. It's very hard today to find a moment in any campaign which is truly genuine and doesn't come off as mere recitation of the normal talking points. That said, Colin Powell, in his endorsement of Barack Obama had, what seemed to me, to be a very beautiful, genuine moment on Meet the Press today by refuting the assertion that Barack Obama is a Muslim, but then going further by questioning what would be wrong if he was. Below is the video of his endorsement, forward to 4:30 to see the portion that I just wrote about. To me, it was the shining moment of this ugly political season.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Night Fights - Ladies' Night: Round 10

And with tonight's fight, let's bid adieu to Manhunter as an on-going series.
We will honor your trades, even as we pray for a re-launch.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cubs Bashing in the Media

I mean really, must you kick us while we're down?

First there was this:

Then, SNL came through with another gut-punch:

I mean...crap.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Quick Q&A

Fortunately, after refilling Calvin Pitt's belly with rejuvenating, content-enabling rum, the posting St. Bernard had some left over for me. So here's a quick Q&A that's been going around:

Favorite Regular Series:

This is a thougie, a month ago I would have said All-Star Superman (stretching the definition of "Regular"), but that series ended. I want to say The Immortal Iron Fist, but I'm not confident enough in the new creative team to give them the full stamp or favoritism. Right now, today, I'd have to say Captain America, it's the book that I usually have to crack open in the shop's parking lot just to see what happens next. Blue Beetle gets an honorable mention.

Comic book character you only recently discovered/started reading?

I'd have to say Iron Fist. I hadn't really paid the character much mind until the newest series started up, which I picked up as a whim due to liking both Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction's previous work. It quickly became one of my favorites ever.

If you could write/draw one character, who would it be?

I share Calvin's hesitation on this one, simply because I'd fear screwing the character up. For that reason I think I'd prefer to go through the tons of forgotten, public domain heroes that have since fallen by the way-side since the Golden Age. Granted Alan Moore did it first, and very well with Terra Obscura and Jeff Parker did similar work with Agents of Atlas, but there's got to be a lot out there that's just waiting to be rediscovered.

Are you a big fan of multi-issue crossover extravaganzas?

Yes, if they're done well, which, since they are not really ever done well, I guess my answer is no. Granted, Annihilation was fantastic (and its sequel, Annihilation: Conquest, just slightly less-so) and despite not meaning to, I'm picking up pretty much every tie-in to Final Crisis, but, those are the exceptions that prove the rule. I've sat out every big cross-over since Infinite Crisis and haven't missed anything.

Last comic book series you dropped and why?

X-Factor. Mostly because it just didn't seem to be going anywhere. The best character was abandoned in an alternate future and doesn't seem to be returning anytime soon. There's no real direction for the series and it just seems to be bouncing from event to event with nowhere to go. Plus, I really don't like Larry Strohman's art.

Favorite character?

Jack Knight Starman. No doubt about it. If you're not in the know, go buy the book (or find the soft-covers that are sure to be all over eBay right now).

Are you a DC or Marvel fan?

I was originally a Marvel-zombie, but DC just seems to be resonating with me more right now. Despite their miss-steps, DC just seems to be taking more chances and building more actual new characters rather that concepts. Looking at series like Blue Beetle, Booster Gold and Manhunter, I just can't see Marvel taking chances on stuff like that.

Do you remember your first comic/series?

I can remember having a copy of my brother's Nova #13 from the 70's, but MY first comic was an over-sized, treasury edition of G.I. Joe #1, and I bought every issue from then on through the mid-60's (actually, #65, introducing Zanzibar! And it was illustrated by Todd McFarland).

Is Watchmen the movie going to be as good as the comic book?

Nope. But, in its defense, it can't be. Watchmen, more than its basic story, is an examination of comics themselves, of the form. There's no way you could get the same effect out of a movie, no matter how much time you give it, or how much money you pump into it. That is not to say that it can't be a good movie, it just can't be the same thing as the book.

Favorite comic book movie?

Right now, today? I'd say The Dark Knight, but I'm hesitant, simply because it's so new. My answer could probably be different in a year, when I have some more perspective. That said, if not The Dark Knight, I'd say Spider-Man 2, that movie is darn near perfect.

Worst comic book movie?

I'd have to say Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Not only because it was so dreadful, but because it wasted a Superman movie that had both Christopher Reeve and Gene Hackman. I mean really, you couldn't do any better than that?

Character you'd like to see in a movie?

Nova, really. I think it'd be pretty darn easy to make a Nova flick. He's got n easy to understand origin, a (recently-redesigned) costume that could be realized pretty easily in the real world. Plus, since he's rather obscure, there won't be as much bitching if you change large swaths of his back-story.

Series that you'd like to see on TV?

Gotham Central. It's no secret that this is one of my favorite series ever, but it's concept (Law & Order: Gotham City) is one of the easiest to translate to series TV. There was a rumor back in the day, that the comic series was developed to be possibly turned into a TV series, but that the Birds of Prey TV series put the kibosh on it. Too bad.

And that's that.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Best Single Panel of 2008

I really can't explain it, but this panel (from Secret Six #2), brought me a disproportionate amount of joy:

Monday, October 06, 2008

Anger, Sadness, But Mostly, Crushing Disappointment

Life is just a series of peaks and troughs. And you don't know whether you're in a trough until you're climbing out, or on a peak until you're coming down. And that's it you know, you never know what's round the corner. But it's all good. "If you want the rainbow, you've gotta put up with the rain." Do you know which "philosopher" said that? Dolly Parton. And people say she's just a big pair of t**s.--David Brent (Ricky Gervais), The Office
That quote pretty much sums up the Cubs season this year. while we fans thought we were still climbing to the peak as they entered the post-season, we only realized that this was the come-down as we watched them play horribly for three straight games, making every single mistake that they possibly could. This has led me to wonder why it ended like this. Why did this team that inspired so much confidence, fall so hard?

1. Were they simply not a very good team? No, they were a fantastic team. An easy way to tell this was that every position player and every starting pitcher would have been a starter on any other team in the league. Very few other teams could claim that. While no one player had the insane stats that lead to awards, every single one of them was good, very goo.

2. Was the team cursed, or done in by the history of losing on the Northside. Fuck no. Let's face it, both the "curse" and the "loser mentality of the Cubs" are there for lazy journalists to write stories about. It allows them to not have to watch the team or actually learn anything new, or, y'know, do their damn jobs. Seriously, when the jack-ass who was doing the second Cubs/Dodgers game on TBS made a reference to the "100 years of failure weighing heavily on the Cubs players" I wanted to drive to 1060 W. Addison and punch him in the dick. Twice.

3. Were the Cubs simply a very good team that played very badly for three games. You betcha. I can't explain it, and I doubt they could either. They looked so flat, so not-there that I'm hard-pressed for an explanation. They exhibited every bad habit that they had shown off-and-on during the season. The walks, the lack of taking pitches, the swinging for the fences on every damn pitch. Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuckity-fuck fuck.*

I think the biggest reason that I'm so despondent about this is that there was so much confidence going into the post season this year. I was convinced, convinced that the Cubs were ticketed for the NLCS at the very least. They beat the crap out of the Dodgers ad the Brewers during the season, and don't talk to me about Manny fucking Ramirez, if the Cubs had done what they could have just walked him every damn plate appearance. Fuck that guy.

I know, I'm losing my mind, but soon enough the crushing disappointment will fade and I'll be left with the good memories of this yea. I saw a bunch of good games, watched Alfonso Soriano hurt himself, live, twice. I watched the Cubs come back in the eighth inning from four runs down on an insane Aramis Ramirez grand slam, on my Mom's birthday, after she and my Dad left the game because they thought the Cubs would lose. Got insulted by my friends for dancing to Go Cubs Go. Man, what a bunch of good times. So I look forward to next April, when the numbers are re-set, and we get one more chance to win it all. Win or lose, it's going to be a good time.

*OK, this is the point where I go totally off the rails.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday Night Fights - Ladies' Night: Round 9

It's Friday night, and it's time for Catwoman to


This throw-down courtesy of Catwoman: Crooked Little Town by Ed Brubaker and Brad Rader.
Do yourself a favor and pick it up (or not, since it's apparently out of print).

Friday Night Fights brought to us all by Bahlactus!

Les McClaine Makes Drawings for Me (and, possibly, You)

Les McClaine, the fantastic artist and co-creator of The Middleman, is currently offering an amazing deal on ten dollar drawings on his web site, here are two I had him do for me:

The Demon, Etrigan


I'd highly recommend running by his site and picking some up for yourself.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

September's Box O' Love

OK, that sounds kinda dirty, but what the hell. Anyway, Since I started ordering the bulk of my big-ticket items every month from Discount Comic Book Service, each month I've been receiving a sizable box of hardcovers, trades and the occasional, severely discounted single issue. While I've long considered reviewing these boos en mass, that's proved unworkable, mostly because, I'm kind of lazy. Anyway, I'm going to attempt to at least post each month with the contents of the box, and my first impressions. This shouldn't be that hard, since most of this stuff I'm buying for the second or third time, so let's g to the box:

Gotham Central: Volume 1

Case in point, this is the third time I'm buying this content, however, I'm excited that DC is collecting this whole series now, rather than the rather piecemeal way they had done it before, leaving out random issues and story-arcs (I know it wasn't exactly random, but it still bugged me). ANYWAY, if you've talked to me about comics for more than five minutes, you'll know that this is among my top-three favorite series ever. The set-up seems simple: what does it mean to be a cop in a superhero universe. Specifically, Gotham City. The series focuses on the Detectives of the Major Crimes Unit, hand-picked by (now former) Commissioner Gordon, they are the one division of the entire department not rife with corruption. These are the best of the best, and they really don't like the fact that whenever there's a serious threat, they have to sit on the sidelines while some asshole in a bat get-up is called in to save the day. I really could go on for several hours about my love of this series (and I may in a future post), but suffice to say, this is the best superhero book for non-superhero readers and I can't recommend it enough.

A Tribute to Gene Colan

Paging through this book, I was shocked to see how much work Mr. Colan did for Marvel in the 1970's. This book, put out to help him out in his current time of need collects several stories with remembrances written by current writers (Ed Brubaker) and past collaborators (Stan Lee). There's some good stuff here, some old-school Iron Man, some Dr. Strange, some Tomb of Dracula (which reminds me, I really need to pick up that Essentials collection), and an excellent Dr. Doom story. Another great book, that helps out a great cause.

Batman: The Black Glove

Continuing Grant Morrison's run on Batman, The Black Glove kicks off with the Club of Heroes story, which is, quite simply, the best three issues of any Batman comic I've read in years. It does what Morrison does best, combines the bat-shit crazy with the f@#$-yeah awesome with a light topping of emotional resonance. It helps that J.H. Williams III drew the fuck out of it too.

Also collected in this tome is the less successful follow-up arc bringing back the three crazy replacement batmen that had previously shown up in Morrison's first arc. It's certainly not bad, but there's a bit of a let-down from the excellent preceding arc, and the fact that, while not awful, Tony Daniel isn't a very good artist.

Black Summer

And finally, I picked up Warren Ellis's Black Summer. I had picked up the first two issues of this series initially, and they were good, but nothing exceptional, but I was done in by the discount on this one. Me and my love of bargains.

Anyway, the set-up is, what happens if Superman realizes that George W. Bush's actions in Iraq are criminal and then decides to kill the President and his cabinet? Well, according to Warren Ellis, the US Government will then try to go to war with his friends. This is a fight comic writ large, and while there's not a lot here, it's still pretty cool.

So that's what I got this month, I'll try to keep up in the next few.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Live Tonight: The Wedding Present [Updated]

Going to see The Wedding Present, one of my favorite pop-rock bands from my college days. Not much to say, other than that I'm sure that I'll be seeing a great show and I highly recommend you check them out when they come to your town. Here's their most recent video:

UPDATE: So check all that above, instead of going to the show, I'll be attending the Cubs vs. the LA Dodgers tonight. I am very fucking stoked.