Archive for July, 2009

ReadComics Podcast #037 – Boobs, Robots and Spaceships

July 18th, 2009 by jason

Join us tonight, dear friends, as we delve once more into the madness that is the ReadComics podcast. Subdued madness, in this case, as we talk about our trips to the comic shop and the library, and what we found there. Mike bought Marvel, Jason checked out some Tezuka, and Marty waxes wanly about Thor. We also prepare for the San Diego Comic Convention, which none of us will attend.

Listen to Podcast Episode #037 (21.1 MB, 46 minutes)

Dr. Horrible nominated for an Emmy!

July 16th, 2009 by Michael

DrHorribleSo, here’s some cool news: Joss Whedon’s brilliant Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is up for an emmy award for the ultra-obscure Outstanding Special Class Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Programs category. Which, appropriately enough, sounds like it should come from a Whedon musical.

In related Emmy news, Dr. Horrible Star Neil Patrick Harris was nominated for his supporting role in How I Met Your Mother. He’s also hosting the show! Yay!

Watchmen: Director’s Cut

July 15th, 2009 by sharyn

The director’s cut of the Watchmen movie will be hitting theaters Friday, July 17th, for one week only. And only in four U.S. theaters. Luckily one of them is in the Twin Cities – at Apple Valley’s Carmike 15.

Zack Snyder confirmed again that there will be a limited theatrical release of an extended director’s cut of Watchmen in July, and revealed that the opening title montage featured two deleted shots

Apparently one of the scenes depicts the brutal murder of the original Nite Owl, Hollis Mason. If you can’t make it to the theater this weekend see it on YouTube, or wait for the director’s cut release on DVD and Blu-Ray July 21st.

Dr. Suess Goes To War

July 15th, 2009 by Martin

DrSuessGoesToWarI finished my cover-to-cover reading of this amazing book this morning on my way to work. Upon first glimpse, I figured I would simply be reading the cartoons and be done with it, but when I dug in, I actually found the commentary by Richard H. Minear to be so integral to the viewing and understanding of Dr. Suess’s political cartoons that I simply couldn’t proceed without devouring every paragraph. (I even read his analysis at the end, which while it was not quite as entertaining as the guided tour of Dr. Suess’s brilliant cartoons contained within, was still quite entertaining and enlightening.)

Essentially, Dr. Seuss was the editorial cartoonist for a New York political magazine called PM, for two years from 1941 to 1943. In that time, he was incredibly prolific, and wrote/drew over 400 cartoons.

One thing I took away from this book was the evidence that Dr. Seuss was unfortunately, not immune to the plague of racism that he himself rallied so strongly against. His treatment of the Japanese, even before the bombing of Pearl Harbor was pretty despicable, (although some might argue justified given the circumstances, I would tend to disagree). However, to his credit, and at least partial redemption in my eyes, he actually visited Japan in 1953, and subsequently wrote Horton Hears a Who.

This book is a must read for fans of Dr. Seuss, and I think it’s also a very handy history lesson (from the perspective of someone who has never successfully completed an American History course). If you want to just read the cartoons, or supplement the book material, the University of California San Diego’s website hosts an awesome archive of all 400 of Dr. Seuss’s political cartoons. (Only 200 are reprinted in the book.) I wish they’d been scanned (or made available) at a higher resolution, since the details really are what makes this work stand out, but nonetheless it’s an awesome archive of an absolute master of the art.

Next Book Club pick

July 13th, 2009 by Susie


Susie has picked American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, and The Eternal Smile by Gene Luen Yang, and Derek Kirk Kim. We will be discussing them on August 16 at 2 pm


ReadComics Podcast #036 – Bookclub #10 – Annihilation

July 11th, 2009 by Martin

Today we sat around and shared our impressions of the Annihilation series. This was Chad’s pick for the book club, and he, Florence, Marty, Mike, Jason, Susie (and Tony, who joins us after a while) all give their impressions of the series, or what they read of it.

Listen to Podcast Episode #036 (36.1 MB, 78 minutes)

Lucky Kid!

July 11th, 2009 by Susie

My mega talented coworker Sally did this amazing Batman mural for a lucky kid’s bedroom wall.


So I have two questions for you. The first is, what comic themed mural assuming you had the space and property would you want?   Second, what comic or cartoon themed mural would your eight year old self want?  Now I think I would go for Fray in free fall surrounded by flying cars. At eight it would have been either Gem and the Holograms in concert, or the Thundercats in a group pose.   And you?

Buddha Kapilavastu

July 6th, 2009 by jason

Written and drawn by Osamu Tesuka

I just finished this first volume of eight of the life of the Buddha, and I’m flabbergasted. Buddha is for everyone who thinks they hate Manga. Even more, Buddha is for everyone who thinks they hate comics.

I’ll admit, that I’ve had a prejudice against manga, even as there’s been some that I’ve read and enjoyed. I look at the shelves at the bookstore and at the library, and see the millions of volumes of Naruto, encroaching on the graphic novels. And I shake my head at what has happened to comics. Recently, however, I took someone else’s lead and decided to revisit the idea of reading Japanese comics, and looked up some suggestions from the Around Comics forum. That led me to 20th Century Boys and Pluto. Pluto is a retelling of the Astro Boy comics of Osamu Tezuka, who is given posthumous author credit. I read a little about Tezuka, and decided to look up some of his work. Paging through the volumes at the library, the first thing I noticed was how different the artwork is from my idea of Japanese comics. This was much more like something out of Segar’s Popeye or Barks’s Uncle Scrooge. He was known as the Godfather of Japanese Comics, whatever that meant, and almost all of his series have been highly praised. He was the creator of Astro Boy, both the cartoon and the comic. And, of course, I feel if it’s at the library, it’s worth a shot. I may check it out and return it after reading five pages, but it helps the library’s circulation numbers. With Buddha, I was hooked almost instantaneously.

With Buddha Kapilavastu, we witness the birth of Siddhartha, although this is more of something occurring in the background, while the lives of monks, slaves, pariahs and generals take the center stage. We meet Tatta, Narradatta and Chapra, Chapra’s mother, and General Budai. Some of them are introduced as villains, but over the course of the chapters, are given more rounded characters and you can’t help but warm to them. The stories of these characters are epic, with high adventure, humour, and romance, and more than a little violence. It was a brutal world at the time of the Buddha’s birth, and we’re witness to the cruelties of the class system of that era. It’s enough to bring you nearly to tears, reading how the world and society treat Tatta, the Pariah, and Chapra and his mother, both slaves by birth. Tezuka interconnects all these characters, weaving their lives into a tapestry, with the birth of Siddhartha currently just a slight embroidery at the edge.

The art, as I said, is quite different from most of the manga I’ve seen. There are traditions in Japanese comics, in the shapes of the faces, in the expressions and what sweat drops and shading signify. You can see that in this work, but it’s more of a hint than anything else. It reminds me a lot more of the animation styles in the French co-produced cartoon of the Mysterious Cities of Gold. From what I’ve read about him, Tezuka was heavily influenced by Disney, and Tezuka in turn influenced a lot of anime artists since then. As well as having his own style, he likes to play with panel borders, and includes several highly detailed panoramic landscapes in the volume.

While I don’t think I’m going to picking up every volume of Naruto or Dragon Ball Z, I am going to continue with Buddha, and checking out Tezuka’s other work, like Black Jack and Dororo. I might even watch some Astro Boy, having never actually seen it. I’ve just cracked the surface of this artist’s body of work, and there’s a lot left to see.