Monday, January 10, 2005

north norfolk is love

Back from the holidays, with photos of beautiful Norfolk.


Friday, January 14, 2005

lo, he abhors not ...

I just realized that there was a bit of a theme to the Christmas gifts I received this year. First was the totally unexpected copy of (let's keep this laughably work-safe) See You Next Tuesday from my brother, of all people. Completely out of the blue.

Then I got this from Magical Knitter Drinkerthinker:

I have a toy knitted uterus! With Fallopian tubes! I've gotta do a happy dance. This is the best thing ever.

And I've gotta give it a name. Any suggestions? Send 'em my way!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

comic: school


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

hooray for arisia!

Let's hear it for Arisia! Last weekend I made it out to this convention and back again, in spite of the ridiculous snow on Sunday. As always, a fantastic and off-the-wall weekend spent with excellent friends. I also got the chance to meet a few big names (waves to everyone from the Friday comics panel, including Mr. Websnark and Jef).

Other highlights: Swordfighting demonstrations, catching half of Brother from Another Planet, watching friends perform Rocky Horror on the hotel ballroom stage, and seeing John Picacio's beautiful artwork.

Every time I go, I hit the goth club dance on Saturday night, and every time I don't like the music. Why is this constantly a surprise to me?

Music: Mopey goth stuff with chanting

Music: Stompy industrial stuff

Me: thinks "... yeah, this crowd'll probably skin me alive if I request 'Jungle Boogie,' huh."

Why do I keep going if I already know I don't like that style of music very much? I'm like the fella from Memento, or cartoons' Cathy endlessly trying on swimsuits hoping that the next one won't make her look fat.

Ditto the art show. That place is chock full of astounding talent, true. For some reason, though, every year I seem to forget that for most fantasy artwork, the underlying theme is "Boobies in the Forest." I remember that in a hurry, though.

In other news, I finally finished crocheting that damned afghan. At freaking last!

Sunday, February 6, 2005

the best of what's free

I have slightly more spare time now that I'm done with night school, so I'm using some of it to catch up on movies I've been meaning to see. Screw renting - the local library has them available for a week's free loan. Woo hoo! For more about free stuff, visit your local library!

Aimée and Jaguar
Two women - one a maverick Jewish socialite, one a German officer's wife - start an affair in Berlin towards the end of WWII and end up falling in love. Bittersweet and recommended. People in love do reckless things.

Early Mike Leigh (Vera Drake, Life is Sweet) film. Bleak days in the life of Johnny, who skips out of Manchester and crashes at a friend's place in London. David Thewlis can rant a great streak, I'll tell you that. Brutal and fairly depressing; glad I didn't see it in the theaters, because it fell into my "spending my free time with people I don't like" category of media, and at least at home I could fold my laundry at the same time.

Better Luck Tomorrow
Asian-American high school teens living a double-life: overachieving students and extracurricular joiners during the school day, increasingly dangerous criminals after school gets out. Some great scenes and characters, but I was a bit underwhelmed. It felt like it kept trying to make some great declaration but never quite got around to it. Great scenes of Academic Decathlon meetings, though. Maybe our old Acadec team back in high school would have made nationals if we drank more.

Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India
Bollywood! This movie was Braveheart meets The Bad News Bears set in India. Villagers suffering through a drought end up getting into a challenge cricket match with local British imperial officers. I enjoyed all the ups and downs of the story - love feuds, training montages, loads of songs, and so on. It lasted a bit long for my tiny attention span, though. The best scene-stealer was this guy, Guran the fortune teller:

I want him to stand in the back of all my office meetings and yell "Hail Hanuman! Crack the enemy's back!" every time I say something useful.

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

breakfast with the JLA: issue 122

JLA #122, September 1975: "The Great Identity Crisis"
Breakfast: A bowl of Total

cover of issue 122

I'm missing a bunch of issues of JLA, so the next issue for brekkie is 122. Now I'll never find out what happened to the Doodang!

The title of this issue is "The Great Identity Crisis," and the plot involves Dr. Light and messing with super-minds. My jaw hit the floor and I mentally prepared for rape and flamethrowers. Happily, that wasn't the case, but it did drive home something I've thought before. Anyone who says that you can still go back and reread earlier innocent stories and ignore the events of contemporary grim-and-gritty tales? They're talking only to pre-existing fans who've read them before. New readers who have never read the early stories before are inevitably going to have their readings colored by having been first exposed the recent ones. I'm a Jenny-Come-Lately about the JLA. I've read only The Nail, various miniseries, and, of course, Identity Crisis. So whenever I go back and read early issues, I often end up thinking things like 'She's acting pretty happy. Didn't she just get raped recently?'. It's like watching The X-Files seasons 6 and 7 and then going back and watching season 1. It'd be a lame experience watching those early shows and knowing that they spiral down to a scattershot ending and "Hollywood A.D." (Edit: Seasons 7 and up. I blanked out on there being nine seasons, because the last were so poor.)

Anyway, the JLA story is inventive but lame. Dr. Light tricks all of the JLA members into meeting up near Superman's fortress of solitude, where he uses "amnesium" to swap their memories around and mix up their civilian identies (Batman thinks he's Oliver Queen instead of Bruce Wayne, and so on). Aquaman saves all their asses (go Aquaman!) and then there's a huge team-up fight back at the fortress.

What a difference three years makes in writing style! Well, that and different writers. The characters have real personalities now. They use slang and nicknames. Green Arrow says "freaking!"

Way too many epithets in this guy's writing, though. "The Sea King," "the Man with the Ring", "Cowled Crusader", "the Green-Clad Bowman" - give it a rest! Just use their names, for crying out loud. Reminds me of the fanfic pet peeves list that complained about the same thing. It was a slash fan's list, though, and her example involved "The Assistant Director" and "The FBI agent's mouth".

Plot gripes for this story:
1. Once again, the plot hinges on the JLA doing their job suckily. They get mysteriously called to the Arctic, and they never follow up on who summoned them? Slackers! Gonna hit them with my Total Quality Management stick. Do your damned job!

2. The underlying problem was that they didn't know each others' secret identities. Except, uh, Aquaman saves the day because he does know their identities. Weirdness.

3. Like the previous issue, the story involves an unexpected fight against monsters outta nowhere. I'm calling this a Scorpion Stadium plot twist, after the deus ex machina critique of a bad Dungeon Master technique I read once: "Suddenly, your party is transported to a stadium where you must fight ... GIANT SCORPIONS!"

It was just way too elaborate a plan. If Dr. Light can set up all of these ridiculous snares and gimmicks to take out the members of the JLA, he can just wield a shotgun or something. Listen up, villains: If you can set a trap, you can bust a cap!

like you love it, Hal!

"Hey fun boys, get a room!"

Quote of the issue: "A booby trap! And I was supposed to be the booby!"

Bait and Switch Cover Count: 2. Cover shows JLA mourning at Aquaman's grave. Inside story has Aquaman pretending to get killed at Dr. Light's hands, and nobody ever actually finds out about it because he shows up and saves them all shortly afterwards.

This is the best letter column entry ever.

dude. It's just the JLA.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

thinking about comic strips

Reading Websnark on the recent events in the comic strip Cathy, I found myself agreeing with him. Ordinarily I can't stand that strip, but I do have to offer up my props on making such a big change to the whole premise. Nice!

But thinking about comic strips, I realized that I don't dislike Cathy for the content as much as I thought I did. Yes, it's cheesy stereotypical single girl territory - shopping, bathing suits, moaning about being single, overbearing moms, and purses. Maybe I'm not such a fan of this kind of content, but that's like complaining about Tank McNamara because I don't like professional sports.

What irks me more is the repetitive formula approach. It's something I notice especially in Cathy but also in many other comic strips, which could explain why I don't read as many strips these days as I used to. Similar formula setups, similar pacing. Even with completely different characters and premises, many strips have ways of pitching gags that feel boringly familiar.

Formula 1: The list
Panel 1: Character starts narrating a list - observations, possessions, whatever. (e.g. "Three pairs of high heels. Four pairs of mules.")
Panel 2: List continues.
Panel 3: List continues, possibly to an absurd extreme.
Panel 4: Character makes bumper sticker-esque observation. ("Some people have X. I have Y.")

Formula 2: Squashed idealism
Panel 1: Statement of situation.
"Here we are at the art museum."

Panel 2: Observation.
"Look at all of this culture!"

Panel 3: Idealistic statement.
"What a noble housing of artistic pursuit! Imagine what you could glean about the nature of humanity here!"

Panel 4: Crass counter-statement from second character.
"Dude! I found the room with the naked statues!" First character smacks own forehead.

Somewhere along the line, I became more accustomed to reading longer stories, like graphic novels, or strips longer than four panels with more room for storytelling, like Too Much Coffee Man or Carol Lay's Story Minute. Reading regular gag-a-day strips now feels strange. The pacing is like an EKG readout - setup, punchline spike, setup, punchline spike, setup, punchline spike.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

worlds colliding!

Oh, I can't be the only one out there who shrieked a little fangirl squeal when Smallville was on tonight and Clark Kent suggested naming the newly-discovered superstrong lab experiment dog "Bandit". Shameless Grant Morrison fangirl squeal!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

odds and ends

Review of Geraniums and Bacon over at Yet Another Comics Blog. Thanks, David!

Polite Dissent's comments section comes up with the one concept that would actually get me to read a copy of The Mighty Thor. (Click here if you want to know about Thor's early days and get the joke).

shock horror department
I laughed out loud at Sunday's Family Circus today. John must have written something about this in Revelation, I swear. (Edit: Correct link now in place thanks to thrillmer!)

Monday, March 7, 2005

rage against the genre

I feel like the more of them I read, the less I enjoy stories that are explicitly flagged as "genre stories." Stories that stand on their own without needing a defining pigeonhole—I love reading those. But when they're specifically described as a genre story, they often feel to me like the focus is on running through a checklist of conventions rather than coming up with an original, engaging tale. "It's a genre story" comes off as an excuse for predictability and cliché.

Like if someone says "It's noir," then right off the bat I can tell you it'll probably have a city setting; a Dame; a criminal überboss with one or more henchman minibosses who will spar with the hero before the confrontation with the big boss; a protagonist who narrates every second, right down to moments of near-death like something out of Lovecraft; and one of the following plots: Retrieve my stolen thingy, retrieve my kidnapped woman, or somebody gets murdered.

I know a lot of people who really get into genre stories. They definitely have merit. But to me, the genre elements just feel so done before, so tired. Instead of getting excited about the detective meeting the dame, or the chosen one receiving the powerful relic, or whatever, I just end up rolling my eyes and checking off the mental checklist.

The ObComics angle to this is that my genre boredom is why I wasn't the biggest fan of the recent Madrox miniseries. I hate to say this because Jamie Madrox the Multiple Man is my all-time favorite X-character, hands down. Peter David's run on X-Factor was the one that got me into comics. Even Grant Morrison on scripts couldn't get me to buy X-Men regularly, but the minute a friend of mine mentions Madrox guest-starring? I'm shelling out cash. Shameless fangirl!

When I heard about Peter David getting the chance to write a Madrox miniseries, my heart turned over like a pancake. Sweet! His take on Madrox is novel and one that I can relate to: Having the potential to duplicate himself and send his dupes off to do anything in the world, Madrox can't decide what to do with his life, what direction to take. That touches a chord in me.

However, this limitless potential also makes him a candidate to be shoehorned into genre stories for the reason of "that's what he's trying this week." The Madrox miniseries had great characterization, inventive uses for Jamie's abilities, awesome moments of introspection ... and the checklist of predictable genre tropes. The dame, the henchman, mob baddies, guns and kissing, and the chatter of non-stop narration. I really wanted to get into the story more, but most of it felt like a retread of a dozen other stories I'd read before. Nothing felt new.

The miniseries had an open ending with the possibility of more stories in the future. I hope that Marvel's up for this, because I would love to see the character explored further but without the genre baggage, without the hackneyed checklist trappings. I'd like to see stories that are more about Jamie Madrox himself and less supernatural-noir that happens to have Jamie as the protagonist. Jamie love!

Wednesday, March 9, 2005


The latest additions to the blogroll on the right: Drawn!, a sweet-looking illustration blog; Suspension of Disbelief, a fact-checking blog for comics; and Comics Should Be Good and The Great Curve, a couple of great comics discussion blogs.

New crafty stuff on my head - this hat courtesy of Magical Knitter Drinkerthinker:

New crafty stuff on my couch - this throw cushion, a bit of a collaboration with Magical Standardsguy Sidesh0w:

Let's hear it for makin' stuff. Woo!

Monday, March 14, 2005

come to Boston Zinefair 2005!

Zines and minicomics in Boston - NICE! This coming weekend, March 19-20, Mass. College of Art will host Boston Zinefair 2005, two days of zine and mini trading plus workshops and spoken word performances. I'll be there hawking copies of Geraniums and Bacon and other minicomics. Come on by!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

meme-alicious: 100 things I love about comics

I'm usually not a meme person, but this is a bloggy bandwagon that looks like a lot of fun: 100 Things I Love About Comics!


  1. Grant Morrison
  2. Sean Philips, especially on Hellblazer
  3. Paul Grist
  4. Jhonen Vasquez
  5. Joe Sacco
  6. Philip Bond
  7. Phil Jimenez
  8. Brian Talbot
  9. Alan Moore
  10. Jill Thompson
  11. Edward Gorey
  12. Gene Ha
  13. Brian Michael Bendis


  14. Daredevil (Bendis era)
  15. Jack Knight, Starman
  16. Jack Hawksmoor (Stormwatch edition)
  17. The Five Swell Guys
  18. John Constantine
  19. Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man
  20. Fade from Blood Syndicate
  21. The Shade
  22. J. Scott Campbell's guilty pleasure chicks of Danger Girl
  23. Jenny Sparks


  24. Why I Hate Saturn
  25. The Invisibles
  26. Dork!
  27. Finder
  28. Persepolis
  29. Peanutbutter and Jeremy
  30. Stinz: Charger
  31. Really old Beano annuals that I've read so often I can recite them
  32. The Misfits
  33. The Books of Magic
  34. Sandman
  35. Action Girl
  36. Too Much Coffee Man
  37. Strangers in Paradise: I Dream of You
  38. Black Panther
  39. For Better or For Worse
  40. Power Pack
  41. Scud the Disposable Assassin
  42. Skeleton Key
  43. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
  44. Dykes to Watch Out For
  45. Hellboy
  46. Dignifying Science
  47. Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind
  48. The Big Book series
  49. V for Vendetta
  50. School is Hell
  51. The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath adaptation
  52. Animal Man
  53. Sam and Max
  54. Watchmen
  55. Peter David's X-Factor
  56. Issue #1 of The Children's Crusade
  57. The "Ramadan" issue of Sandman
  58. The TV issue of Transmetropolitan (especially the "I Hump It Here" bit, hee hee)
  59. X-Factor Annual #1 - one of the ones that got me into it all

    Imprints and Styles and Panels and Things

  60. Milestone Comics
  61. Indulgent yaoi like Fake
  62. All the swearing in Bendis' Alias
  63. Forgotten Vertigo miniseries like Mobfire
  64. Pleasant surprise comics like Street Angel and Vertigo Pop Tokyo
  65. Crossovers that poke fun at icons, like the Green Lantern appearance in Hitman
  66. Barbelith - the satellite and the message board
  67. The original covers for Sandman collections
  68. "Wet Jimmy's gourmet assmeats!"
  69. Letter columns with a personality of their own, like those in The Invisibles and Preacher
  70. Green Lantern's logo
  71. Seaguy's masthead (especially the bubble "g"!)
  72. Characters leaping or flying happily over city rooftops
  73. Superheros with day jobs
  74. That weird sooty smudge that used to show up on Vertigo comics' artwork
  75. Ridiculous complicated and laughable Silver Age plots
  76. After-school-special-style storylines, like the time that Power Pack encountered teens on drugs
  77. Public service announcement comics, like the Luke Cage/Storm/Spider-Man comic against smoking

    Everything else

  78. The blogosphere
  79. Million Year Picnic and Comicopia
  80. Quoting rude catchphrases from Preacher between friends
  81. Going to conventions and finding primo old-school comics like The Hacker Files
  82. Ninth Art
  83. My local library's ridiculously huge collection of comics
  84. Swapping minicomics
  85. Reading comics alone in my apartment and yelling like an irritating pantomime audience. "Look behind you, Wolverine!"
  86. Looking forward to New Comics Day
  87. Underoos
  88. Teen Titans animated series theme song
  89. Reading Italian translations of Wildstorm comics and getting into Planetary as a result
  90. Loaning out comics to friends
  91. Blogosphere catchphrases and inside jokes, like "Pal So-and-So" and the infamous FMK thread
  92. The X-Axis
  93. Gail Simone's old "You'll All Be Sorry" column
  94. Sequential Tart
  95. The absolute thrill of finding a comic you've been seeking for ages
  96. Vertigo trading cards
  97. Static Shock, the animated series
  98. Fanboy Rampage
  99. Quarter bins
  100. Advertisements in old comics. It's like pop culture archaeology!

Saturday, March 19, 2005

reminder: Boston Zinefair this weekend!

This weekend is Boston Zinefair! Come and check out zines, minicomics, and all sorts of self-publishing creations!

I'll be there with table space. Stop on by and check out the minicomics, including a brand new ministory, "I Survived GWAR"!

Table Hours: Saturday 11-6pm, Sunday 12-6pm (check website for workshops and other hours)

Location: The Pozen Center, Massachusetts College of Art - North Building (621 Huntington Avenue; Longwood Stop on the MBTA Green E line)

Hope to see you there! I managed to make it to the last Beantown Zinetown and I can tell you this: Boston has some seriously quality self-publishing.

Monday, March 21, 2005

zinefair aftermath

Boston Zine Fair = awesome!
Hooray for the Boston Zine Fair! A shout out to everyone involved, especially the organizers Rosie and Janaka. I had half a table and ended up distributing a lot of minicomics as well as doodling some neat sketches and writing a pretty good chunk of the graphic novel script that's on the front burner right now. I met plenty of cool people and traded for loads of interesting zines and comics. Look for zine and comic reviews in this space as I plough through this enormous pile of reading material. A lot of people really liked "I Survived GWAR" and told me their own stories of seeing GWAR in concert. Some of them were even more disgusting than the show I saw in January.

Cross-Gender Caravan = also awesome!
On Friday night I caught the Cross-Gender Caravan writers tour at its Boston stop. I finally got the chance to hear pal Charlie read in person, and it was frigging hysterical. She read excerpts from her latest novel and a short story called "All the Lonely People: Why Don't They All Fuck Off?" Now I'm sad not to have been able to make it to the Writers with Drinks live reading events back when she was living in this area. Check out her new book Choir Boy, everyone!.

Other odds and ends
The latest Weekly Dig had a great write-up of local art group The Institute for Infinitely Small Things (join them on their search for corporate commands!) and a cover by James Jean. Godalmighty, that guy is everywhere these days.

Paul Harvey commented on the Terry Schiavo life support case this morning, referring to Terry as a "girl." She's 41! I'm not sure if this is due to sexism, to infantalizing Terry as a way of making her seem more like an innocent victim, or to the fact that Paul Harvey is about 153 and everyone seems childlike to the guy.

The American version of The Office airs this Thursday. I watched the clips available on the website and it feels like karaoke. They're reciting the same lines—actually, some of the exact same lines—but without the heart and the believability of the original. They come off as actors rather than people who could be my coworkers. I'll probably tune in on Thursday to see how this cover version of the show goes, but I'm banking on it crashing and burning just like its cover forebears Coupling, Men Behaving Badly, and Royal Paine.

Monday, April 11, 2005

metrokitty, exciting and new!

What's the product of having actual free time after night school finishes? Shiny new redesign!

The Metrokitty site is sporting new styles, a new codebase, and a lot more content. Click on the nav strip at the left for online comics, my design portfolio, and a bunch of really nerdy extra junk.

Note: I'm still working the kinks out of the styles and the functionality. If you spot anything buggy, please send a note my way!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

recent reviews: good-guy vampires

I'm a pushover for good-guy vampires, starting back in high school when I got embarrassingly hooked on Dark Shadows reruns on the Sci-Fi channel and Forever Knight on Saturdays at midnight. Just recently I fell back into the hunt for good-guy vampire novels, with mixed results.

The Vampire Files by P.N. Elrod
Series of nine books, starting with Bloodlist

I found these novels back in high school on the first vampire obsession kick, and wow, they never, ever get old. I've lost track of the times I've reread them. Jack Fleming is a journalist turned vampire in 1930's Chicago, where he ends up tangling with mobsters, snagging a gorgeous singer girlfriend, and helping out a private investigator friend with casework.

The novels are pretty much genre stories, but the characters are so engaging that I never suffered from any genre boredom. Even if he weren't a vampire, I'd probaby hang out with this guy. I'm a total sucker for strongly written protagonists, and man, the junk I end up reading or watching because of them, honestly. Roger Smith and Dorothy in The Big O got me to watch a show about freaking giant robots. I read all the way through the godawful "Grand Guignol" arc in Starman because I really, really liked Jack Knight. I have no shame.

The first six books - the original series - are excellent light reads. The series picked up again in the past few years with four new books, but I haven't been as big a fan of these ones.

Blood Walk and Blood Games by Lee Killough

Police procedurals with an extra vampire twist, Killough's books follow Garreth Mikaelian, a homicide detective turned vampire against his will. Over the series, Garreth tracks down his vampiric killer and winds up settling in a small Kansas town, where he works the night shift as a policeman.

These books were a light read, but very heavy on investigative details. I couldn't get into these books as much because there wasn't a whole lot to the lead character besides "OMG vampire now" and "I like law enforcement and fast cars," plus a bit of "You touched my stuff/I'll get revenge for your death, sweetie" later on. As a reader, my big red flag is any point where I say to myself, "Wait, why am I following the Adventures of This Guy? Why do I care what happens to him, again?"

Also, design whining - the cover art and design for these two novels isn't so hot. The art on the first one is a bit freaky, the art on the second is vague and murky, and the type on the second seems really out of place to me. To me that typeface says "Wiccan moon ceremony" more than "creepy police procedural set in Kansas." I checked the publisher's catalog and it turns out that most of the book covers are a bit underwhelming. If you removed the cover art, they'd be almost indistinguishable. Definitely some room for a little more expressive typography there, or at least a shakeup of the layouts.

Posted to Death by Dean James

My first thought when I read the description of this book: "Gay vampires in England? Woo hoo, it's the Holy Grail!" And then I read on and saw that it was a cozy mystery set in the village of "Snupperton Mumsley." This is like finding the Holy Grail but it's full of diet Vanilla Coke.

But I read it anyway, because dude, good-guy vampires. It's a fluffy cozy mystery, a bit of a send-up with vicars, cottages, and characters like "Lady Prunella Blitherington." The flirty bits were well done, and the ending had a bit of a twist, but as vampires go, this was a bait-and-switch. The main character, an American vampire abroad, takes special medication to counteract the negative effects of vampirism. As a result, there is literally no vampire content besides the occasional aside to the reader to point out that he actually does reflect in mirrors and can enter churches without problem.

I also wish I knew a bit more about the author, because vampire Simon Kirby-Jones smacked a bit of the Mary Sue. He's an American writer transplanted to a furnished cottage in a small English village. He is a respected historical biographer, he secretly writes best-selling mystery and romance novels with ease, all the gay men in the village seem to like him, and he's a vampire with zero negative side effects. Okay, he's pretty funny and charming, but still. You need to offer me a really good plot for me to read the Adventures of Captain Wish Fulfillment. If you're into Keeping Up Appearances-esque village mysteries with a fair amount of The Gay, you might enjoy this book.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

random update

Graphic designer Milton Glaser will be speaking at the Boston Public Library on April 27 at 6 p.m. This one could end up packed; I'm planning on heading over early.

Is it just me, or do more and more Boston-based comics bloggers keep popping up? We should start some kind of East Coast/West Coast rumble with the Ventura County guys.

After the artists' fundraiser shindig this weekend, my new standard for parties is "Will I have a chance to win a giant custom-made hula hoop like that one time?" It's gonna be hard to top that in the future.

Now on the sideblog: Dave's Long Box, new reviews of crusty old comics. Here's a man who speaks to my concerns:

Back in 1993 Superman comics once again flew into the national consciousness with the much-hyped "Death of Superman" storyline, which garnered media attention disproportionate to the comic's importance. Time/Warner went into full-on hype mode for the comics, which had different covers and merchandising tie-ins like official Death of Superman watches. I still have my black "memorial" T-shirt with the Superman logo. You know, I’d like to see a Death of Jerry Orbach watch – who wouldn't want that?

Monday, April 25, 2005

monday morning

Geraniums and Bacon is now available in the zine rack at Lorem Ipsum books. If you've never visited it, I can't recommend it enough - they have the most eclectic collection of used books I've seen yet.

I've updated the Metrokitty stylesheet to get rid of some overlapping content problems. Floats are my bestest friend. Again, if anything looks strange to you, please hollahhhh.

I ended up deciding to name the toy uterus "Robert."

Saturday, April 30, 2005

images ahoy!

The Library of Congress Learning Page claims to be a great resource for teachers, but it's really a way to keep you up into the stupid hours of the morning looking for interesting images in their Collection Connections section. The poster on the left is courtesy of their collection By the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA, 1936-1943.

Monday, May 2, 2005

cover story

Cover, Sin City Book 1: The Hard Good-bye Cover, Sin City Book 2: A Dame to Kill For Cover, Sin City Book 3: The Big Fat Kill

Count me as one of the people who is underwhelmed by the new covers for Frank Miller's Sin City books.

I do like the idea of a uniform trade dress. Now the books look like part of the same series or family. The type and layouts aren't too bad either; it's a change, and they give the books a little bit of refinement, an amusing contrast with the subject matter.

But viewed as a group, they blur together. Especially the first three, above - with the same type treatment, artwork treatment, and shade of red, they could do with more prominent individual titles to set them apart a bit.

Cover, Sin City Book 2: A Dame to Kill For Poster of Goldie from Sin City

This could be just my personal taste talking, but I feel that one of the strongest elements of Frank Miller's artwork is the stylized shapes he creates, almost like sculptures. They are dynamic and they in turn form stunning shapes in the negative space around them. Sometimes they seem to me like snapshots, almost freeze-frames of choreography. And they stick in your head (or at least my head) like retinal afterimages. I've never been a huge fan of Sin City, but there are times when I've been seriously tempted to buy the poster of Goldie's first panel (right). I mean, wow. That's memorable!

So to me, the treatment of the artwork on these new covers removes that dynamic element, flattening the art. The negative space is cropped away, eliminating the movement. The pictures are pretty, but they lack the iconic quality of the previous covers.

Compare the original and the new covers of Booze, Broads, and Bullets, for example:

Cover, Sin City Book 7: Booze, Broads, and Bullets Cover, Sin City Book 7: Booze, Broads, and Bullets

Also, I feel officially stupid. Can anyone tell me what that is on the cover of the new version of Family Values? I've never read the comic and I can't make out what that image is. Is it a box? Is it someone's clothing?

Cover, Sin City Book 5: Family Values

Edit: One cover image removed and one cover image replaced after it was pointed out that they weren't the official covers. Thanks for the heads-up, Dorian!

Sunday, May 8, 2005

oh dude the sweet yes!

Clive Owen in Second Sight on BBC America starting Monday!

Sneak peak teaser trailer for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

the musical baton goes round and round

Magical Standardsguy Sidesh0w has chucked a musical baton my way!

Total volume of music files on my computer:
3.69 GB
I don't acquire a lot of songs, but the ones I do, man, I run those things into the ground.

The last CD I bought was:
Franz Ferdinand's self-titled CD. It's awesome rock-out jump-up-and-down music.

Song playing right now:
Siouxie and the Banshees, "Peek-a-Boo"

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me:
"Gymnopedie #1" by Erik Satie
"Goldfinger" by Ash
"At the River" by Groove Armada
"Ballad of Maxwell Demon" off the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack
"O Holy Night" performed by Bing Crosby

Five people to whom I’m passing the baton:
Ian Brill
Johnny Bacardi

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Reading some comics, hooray for comics

recent comic reads

Bone - This was adorable and exciting at the same time. I'm not usually into epic fantasy quests, but this story was balanced out with plenty of homey, day-to-day situations. Sure, there are dragons and omens and the King of the Locusts trying to bring himself back to life; there are also bar squabbles, markets, cow races, and crushy attempts at love poems. I read the first three books in one sitting and the next three in another. It's engaging!

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life - This was a lighthearted read with a simple (and cute!) art style. Lots of fun little continuity points, silly characters, and total gem joycore moments (like how characters' first appearances sport ratings for them - "T for Teen", "Awesome!"). I wasn't a huge fan of the plot, though. I can't get into slacker stories. I usually just end up shouting at the page, "Get off your ass and do something, for God's sake." This was the same source of my irritation about Demo #11, which was so the wrong issue to pick up as an introduction to the series.

You know what I'd rather read? Never mind joycore - I want to see jobcore. I really prefer reading stories about people who do things, who pursue careers. I'm tired of finding not much beyond relationship dramas with incidental jobs, or job stories about temp workers and drudge retail positions. This is why I like manga like Firefighter - stories about people actually doing things, not just complaining about their jobs or kicking around chasing romance.


Going to Iceland for a week. Anyone want a postcard? Let me know!

Friday, May 27, 2005

reykjavik - but that's not math

Over in Reykjavik for a week, and I find out that the willie museum has moved.

I am the saddest kitty imaginable about this.

Other than that - fantastic trip so far, though willie-free. Bonus point: Spot the quotation where the title of this blog post comes from.

Saturday, June 4, 2005


The first "woo hah" of the day was for making it to the Busch-Reisinger Museum's exhibit Crises of Representation in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna before it ended. The second "woo hah" was for finding out that a special talk on the exhibit was happening just after I got there. Sweet!

I highly recommend swinging by this exhibit if you get the chance before it ends next Sunday, June 12. The selection of artwork is great (including a painting and some drawings by my main man Gustav Klimt), and there's a fantastic wall full of patterns designed by Koloman Moser.

Kitty-scribbled illustration of how much the Vienna art and literature exhibit kicked ass

P.S. Now back from Iceland. Cool photos of Iceland shortly.

Friday, June 24, 2005

milo 'n' ginger

I hung out with Mister Wolf yesterday, checking out the ICA and talking about comics. If you haven't already read his comic Sordid City Blues, go and take a look - it's fun reading!

And now I'm all jazzed about making comics and drawing again. Hooray! Here's a pinup of my pop adventurers Milo Mercury and Ginger - look for more on them in Geraniums and Bacon #3 (with luck, coming later this summer).

Milo Mercury and Ginger - pin-up art

Monday, June 27, 2005

breakfast with the JLA: issue 123

JLA #123, October 1975: "Where on Earth am I?"
Breakfast: Half a grapefruit, toast and jam

Cover, JLA issue 123

In this issue, actual JLA writer Cary Bates accidentally steps on the Cosmic Treadmill, gets transported to the the homeworld of the Justice Society of America, develops superpowers, puts on an attractively bikini-cut costume, and becomes a villain. Meanwhile, other writer Elliot S! Maggin tries to follow by taking the Treadmill and ends up on the JLA homeworld, where he can't do jack.

Sweet Jesus, it's a Mary Sue fiesta. I don't know whether to hate it outright or to appreciate it for its balls-out approach to writer insertion. I have to admit, it's refreshingly honest compared to the usual Mary Sue stories I come across ("Jayne Darkflower, American transfer student at Hogwarts and Draco's secret lover, by Jane Smith").

At least now I know whom to blame for all of the cheesy slang. Damn you Maggin!

Magginslang at work in JLA

The characters actually toss around some fairly risqué chatter here. I counted one "Bulldinky" and two "Freakings," plus this crack on Aquaman:

"Wonder why old Flipper's late -- maybe found himself a lady porpoise with a pair of dynamite fins?"

Yes, because I really needed the mental image of heroes gettin' all Smoove B with undersea creatures. It wouldn't be the first time, though.

The inevitable "please demonstrate the heroes' powers" fight scene turned up, showing a typical combo of boldfaced catch-up exposition and superhero ass-kissing (thank you, Howling Commandos, for sensitizing me to this. YAY).

"There you go, Wildcat. Wish I had that karate prowess of yours!"
"Your utility belt mini-torch ain't a tinker toy either, Robin!

Suddenly, we find out that poor Cary Bates is actually being manipulated by the Injustice Society of the World (though the sign in their lair says "Injustice Society of America"). DA-DA-DAAAAHN! They look like they mean business: the Wizard, the Gambler, the Huntress (the villain one, not the midriffy one), the Icicle, the Shade, ... and the Sportsmaster? Ah ha ha ha! He looks like the kind of guy they let on the team because his dad bought them a superhideout and all the Bugles they could eat.

And the Shade! Oh, Shade, hide your goofy shame! James Robinson has ruined him for me by giving him spooky dignity in Starman. The black bodysuit he's sporting in this issue is mortifying! I want to swap it for a smoking jacket and brandy snifter, and then I want to write him an excuse note. "The Shade can't fight heroes today because he's at the opera being dignified. Love, Kitty."

After a goodies-vs.-baddies fight that turns out to be a sneaky goodies-vs.-goodies fight, the issue ends on a cliffhanger. How can anyone stop superpowerful Cary Bates? This isn't the question that concerns me, though. I just want to know if the next issue will be as wanktacular as this one.

Best quote: "Last one at 'em had an insecure childhood!"

Demo of Cary Bates' utter evil