Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Joe Rice Media Review 12/06/06

Argh, what a bad day at school. Due mostly to three individuals. It's a sad day when people under the age of 13 can completely ruin your day. But good comics can redeem it. And there were some this week.

American Splendor had what might be its strongest issue under DC, at least artistically. 'Beto, Deano, Geary, and Fingerman headlined the issue. Some good, everyday stuff. Pekar's comics are somewhere between comfort food and art comics. They require a bit more thought than Superman hitting a rock, but they also feel so comfortable and real. The way this blog goes, I'm probably speaking to a hole here, but this is good comics.

I was less bothered by the coloring on The Other Side this issue. I dunno if it was that improved or I just had that much alcohol. But the Asian folk seemed less 1950s racist superhero comic and more naturalistic. Stewart's art is typically beautiful, and the two stories are aligning interestingly. Some great stuff. This would be a good book to buy your war-movie-fan friend/relative. Too bad there's no trade for Christmas or whatever excuse you use to give people stuff.

Cronin not liking Superman Confidential is almost as dumb as him letting me type on the blog again. It's finally that 40s repartee Lois done well with a side of Superman Byrne only dreamed of showing. The neophyte, unsure Superman done realistically but heroically. His ignorance of his limits isn't played brashly, but hesitantly, as most folks trying to figure out "Well, just how invulnerable am I?" would be. (Thanks to Lisa for the spelling help for boozed-up Joe there.) Nice, cartoonish art that goes a long way to telling the story and the mood. I may become a Sale fan yet, now that he's not working with Liefeld's writer.

I'm glad that Salvador Larroca seems to have gotten over his X-Men/Claremon boob + butt phase. And Ellis seems to be writing a possibly interesting story for newuniversal. But (and, yes, this is not technical) OH MY GOD I DO NOT CARE. You know what's boring and lamely-written? That show "Heroes." You know what's better written but no more interesting? YET ANOTHER COMIC BOOK ABOUT REAL FOLKS GETTING SUPERPOWERS. Christ in Heaven. I know that superbooks sell, but can we put a moratorium on superbooks that aren't frakkin brilliant for a few decades? This might even end up being good, but I'm so tired of this idea that I can't even give it a chance. You want to write about real folks, do it. Screw the superpowers and the twists on archetypes. Write something real. That's not really the point for this, I know. And this is good, for what it is. But screw it. Spend your money on the Huizenga collection or something else that's truly great.

Agents of Atlas dealt with the "evil within" subplot very succintly and originally, I feel. This is still a very good, pulpy book. I know I just yelled about the plethora of crap superbooks out there, but that doesn't mean there aren't worthwhile ones out there. One of the most appealing parts of this book is the fact that it's going to end. It will be a story and not just a marketing device. The characters are interesting and varied, the story is moving somewhere neat, and it's just a kick to read. I dunno what the nerds are doing for this sales-wise, but I'm enjoying it.

And some superhero books are just really good superhero books. Doctor Strange: The Oath is one. The Martin art is frakkin gorgeous. I kissed it a few times, especially when the Dr.'s being all flirty. Some good twists, and an antagonistic organization that seems really evil but also seems natural for the setting. Kung fu Wong is also pretty great. What's up with the great sideline Strange books this past couple of years? Milligan and Vaughn? Meanwhile Spider-man is stuck with PAD and the legions of Civil War tie-ins. Still, good comics are good comics, and this certainly is one.

You know something that makes Chris Sprouse awesome? In Midnighter, he draws a young Hitler and it looks like a young Hitler. I'm sorry, Jeffrey from Project Runway, but that is mad skills. The story takes unexpected twists and remains fun but interesting the whole way. I feel like Ennis found the happy medium between "Important Ennis" and "outlined on bar napkins" Ennis here. It's good fun. Involving killing Hitler.

Can't wait to read the Showcase: Shazam, AKA, the last time DC did a Captain Marvel that at all understood the appeal of the character. Sunny Sparkles is like a Chris Ware character sans irony. I'm going to cut this review bit short so I can dive in.

As for other media, Casino Royale is challenging Goldfinger and On Her Majesty's Secret Service as my favorite Bond film. The direction is crisp, the acting is strong and tight all around, and it seems to actually mean something. Daniel Craig is great as Bond, and his wardrobe gives me crazy envy. That short-sleeved linen shirt with the grey suit when he goes to the Bahamas? The fashion nerd in me went NUTS.

"Put Your Quarter Up" is an amazing song. You've got the Molemen, Slug, Aesop Rock, and frakkin MF Doom rapping, mostly about video games. You get a line rhyming Slobodan and Robotron? Yeah. Download that stuff immediately. Thank you, itunes.

And it's time for a confession. I mostly admit to only watching very few TV shows. There's the Office and Battlestar Galactica, the two best-written shows on TV for my money. Cosby and Andy Griffith re-runs. Daily Show and Colbert when I can. And a bunch of awful crap my wife watches. But I now must publically admit I like one of those shows. I like Grey's Anatomy. Mind you, I hate Grey, and I hate every plot she's in. But the rest of the cast is damn TIGHT. It's a soap that I actually got into, and I'm not (as) ashamed anymore. I just wish it was more Karev's Anatomy instead. That's a damn interesting character.

Enjoy your week.

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