Author Archive

Crossover podcast: Iron Man 2 discussion

May 14th, 2010 by florence

Marty and I (and baby Colleen) joined in on Jason’s other podcast this week and had a great time!

Film Confessional podcast Episode 9.1 includes a spoilery review of the new Iron Man movie. Episode 9.2 will be posted soon- stay tuned to the end for our discussion of favorite superhero movies!

Neil Gaiman at the Golden Globes

January 23rd, 2010 by florence

I am late to this, since I just caught up with the Golden Globes on Tivo this morning and then started going through the photos of attendees online.

Apparently Neil Gaiman attended for Coraline (which lost to Up in the Best Animated film category).  Despite his nominee status, he was upstaged by his date and recent fiancee, musician Amanda Palmer.  Thanks to Neil’s blog soliciting votes from avid fans, this series of photos of Amanda undressing for photographers after the ceremony has won both Best and Worst dressed on Go Fug Yourself.  He briefly explains the context in his blog.

Top 10 Women in Comics last Decade

January 23rd, 2010 by florence

I have been meaning to repost this Jezebel commentary and join the conversation started in this list of 10 Great Female Comic Book Characters Of The Decade.  Be warned that there are spoilers in this link (though not in my post below), particularly for the wonderfully badass selections of 355 from Y the Last Man (#3) and Michonne from Walking Dead (#2).

I really enjoyed the post, and I’m interested in reading more of Kelly Thompson’s She Has no Head posts in Comics Should be Good now. I am familiar with most of the women on the list.  I love the inclusion of Frau Totenkinder (#10), though it does seem wrong for me to root for a child-eating witch when I’m on the verge of having a baby.  I really didn’t connect with Promethea (#9), but I can reluctantly respect her inclusion on the list, and the post itself echoes many of my criticisms about the abstract turn the story took.

I love the inclusion of Jessica Jones from Alias (#5).  Despite my terrible memory, which prohibits me from saying anything about the characters listed from Powers (#7) or Planetary (#6), despite having read both, Alias definitely stands out for me as one of my favorite titles/ new characters of the last decade.

There were three characters listed that I have never seen; Tara Chace from Queen & Country (#8), Cass Cain as Batgirl (#4), and Kate Kane as Batwoman (#1).  I will probably continue to skip Queen & Country, since it seems to have a miliary focus that totally puts me off, but these incarnations of Batgirl & Batwoman sounds fascinating. I may have to check the library, since I don’t think I know anyone who collects these DC comics (speak up if I’m wrong).

I was initially indignant about the absence of Strangers in Paradise, Buffy, and Sandman, whose female characters shaped and fueled my fandom, but I can understand them being excluded as characters who appeared in comics after 2000, but who were created in the 90s.  You could still make a case for Joss Whedon’s Fray, since it debuted in 2001.

Any suggestions of other missing characters who should have been eligible?

Wonder Woman Art Auction for a Good Cause

October 25th, 2009 by florence

Gail Simone Wonder Woman printI met Andy Mangels recently, when he was a featured guest at Gaylaxicon, and I was intrigued to learn about his online Wonder Woman museum.
On October 26th, he is holding the 4th annual Wonder Woman Day, which includes an art auction with art donated by Alex Ross and Gail Simone among others. I would love to find a way to buy some of the prints featured on this site, but I haven’t figured out how yet. Chime in if you find a way!

Hot Comics

October 4th, 2009 by florence

I found a post on Violet Blue’s website compiling some sexy webcomics. I haven’t had a chance to check them all out yet, but I have listened to her interesting ‘open source sex’ podcast and have enjoyed reading her political/ cultural blog posts, and her links to pretty girls.

This link is definitely NSFW, and the site is >18yrs.

Next Comic Book Club: Echo #1-13

August 23rd, 2009 by florence

Echo 8 My next comic book club selection is Terry Moore’s Echo, issues #1-13. The first 10 are collected in two trade paperbacks already.

Echo is his latest creation, but I have been a fan of Terry Moore’s earlier series, Strangers in Paradise, since college.  I am looking forward to hearing everyone else’s opinion about how this new story plays out from the beginning.

We’ll meet on Sunday, September 20th* at 3PM at Florence & Marty’s apartment.

*We are postponing from the 13th to the 20th to protect visitors from our flu.

New banner for!

June 25th, 2009 by florence

Check out the new banner that Mike created!

The banners will rotate randomly.  Right now only two are in rotation, and I have a clear preference for the new one with Serenity prominently featured.

Update [07/30/2009] (by marty): Now there are three in rotation! See all three below.
Second Update [11/08/2010] (by marty): Now there are four in rotation! You can see the new one here.

You can click on each one to see them full sized.
Mike's New Header (#3)
Mike's Header (#2)
Mike's Header (#1 - v.4)

Next Comic Book Book Club: Annihilation 1-3

June 25th, 2009 by florence

Annihlation: Silver Surfer (Book Two) The next ReadComics book club is planned for Saturday, July 11th, or two weeks from this coming Saturday. We hope to have all the regulars, and some supporting cast for this book club, when we’ll talk about Annihilation, books One, Two, and Three.

Annihilation Books 1, 2, 3
Saturday, July 11th 1PM
Florence & Marty’s apartment

Comic Book Club: Thor #1-600

March 9th, 2009 by florence

Thor #1We’re having our next book club this Saturday, March 14th, at 3PM at Florence & Marty’s apartment with our special guest, Susie!

This month we’ll be reading’s Mike’s selection: Thor #1-600 (it actually covers only 13 issues because of their crazy numbering logic).

Thor #1-600, J. Michael Straczynski
Saturday, March 14th 3PM
Florence & Marty’s apartment

Julie Taymor’s Spider-Man

March 5th, 2009 by florence

Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark Check out this awesome and unlikely combination: Spider-Man + Broadway musical+ Julie Taymor directing + U2 composing = Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark.

I adore Julie Taymor and her entirely unique twisted dynamic view, so I can’t wait to see this show. They have cast Evan Rachel Wood as Mary Jane. I loved her as a young lesbian on ‘Once and Again’, and I thought she did a decent job in Julie Taymor’s ‘Across the Universe’.  No casting for Peter Parker yet, but they’re supposed to start rehearsing in the fall and debut in January 2010.

Comic Book Club: PS238

February 3rd, 2009 by florence

PS238 Volume 1Our next Comic Book Club podcast will focus on PS238 Volume 1: With Liberty and Recess for All, by Aaron Williams.  This book is about a school for superpowered kids, and we’re looking forward to hearing everyone’s opinions about it.

We’ll start with Volume 1, but since some of us have already read ahead several trades, so we’ll be happy to talk about the entire run so far.

PS238 Volume 1:
With Liberty and Recess for All
Monday, February 9th 7PM
Florence&Marty’s place

Handknit Heroes #1

January 22nd, 2009 by florence

Handknit Heroes #1
Handknit Heroes #1 has arrived… I can’t wait for #2! I first heard about this concept from the creator, our very own Stephanie Bryant (aka Mortaine). Stephanie is an old friend who has carved out a career as a professional writer, always finding new and interesting ways to ply her trade, most recently supporting her lifestyle as a traveling writer/ knitter, writing out of an RV with her husband. I received issue #1 in the mail with a nice press kit, announcing that she has turned her idea into a real published comic book with story and art… and knitting pattern!

The story has 4 main characters; a mom and her teenage twins, and one of their friends. Unbeknownst to each other, they all have developed powers. In this first issue, some of them start making connections, but it is clear that there is much more to come. I really enjoyed the art, which evoked the cuteness and angst inherent in teenage years. There was one panel I loved where mother and son sit eating ice cream together, separated by secrets, but sharing the same method of holding their spoons.

I had an unfamiliar feeling while reading this- wanting to knit something. I’m sure it will pass soon, but I’m impressed that it’s even possible. I had noticed the design as soon as it appeared in the story, thinking it was cute and functional (I hadn’t noticed that it was also featured on the back cover). I like the way that the piece was integrated into the story and the art, and the charming instructions and description of the designer in the back.

I am putting for my subscription as soon as I get paid, so that I don’t miss the next issue. For now, this book is only available on the comicknits website.

Married With Comics – 11/26/08

December 3rd, 2008 by florence

Florence and Marty are joined by Florence’s sister Susie for a long-ish discussion of the new Buffy: Season 8, issue #19. Then Florence and Marty briefly discuss The Walking Dead #55.

Be warned, the spoilers start right away.


PS238- To the Cafeteria FOR JUSTICE!

December 2nd, 2008 by florence

Marty was right.

He has been trying to get me to read PS238 for weeks, and now that I finally picked it up, I have to agree that it’s awesome.  I’m already into the fourth volume, and I am glad that I still have a fifth to look forward to on the shelf.

For those of us who don’t recognise the nomenclature, apparently schools in New York use this naming system.  PS238 is just one more school on the surface, but 3 miles underground it is a high tech, high security school catering to kids with special gifts such as flight, super strength, telepathy, communing with the realm of daydreams, etc.  Aaron Williams takes this basic premise and riffs on familiar archetypes while he tells really interesting stories.  He goes beyond the obvious ideas and tells small stories about a range of kids and teachers, then adds in bigger arcs that span more than one trade.  I’ll keep reading and lending these out as long as Aaron keeps writing them.

Married with Comics – Wed, 11/12/2008

November 18th, 2008 by florence

This week, Florence and I discuss I Hate Gallant Girl issue #1, and the Walking Dead issue #54.

Just to remind everyone, there will be spoilers aplenty after the click.


Justice: Alex Ross

October 20th, 2008 by florence

I just finished reading the self-contained DC Justice series #1-12.  The entire run was co-written and drawn by Alex Ross, so the art is spectacular and the characterization is spot-on.  That’s not surprising, since I associate Ross with a consistent quality and craftsmanship that I don’t expect with most comic creators.  I really appreciate the epic feel without a cascading set of companion purchases, you can get the entire story in just 12 issues.

Justice pulls together the Justice League and many of their most familiar enemies for a story set on a grand scale.  I don’t want to spoil the premise, but one thread involves the release of Batman’s secret files on his companions and foes, several of which are revealed at the end of each issue, which is a treat.  Ross managed to showcase the complex humanity in every character (including the aliens and talking gorillas), never succumbing to the bla impersonal action blowouts that can easily overwhelm some comics.  There are big action blowouts, but by using the first-person voices of several characters in turn, we’re still able to see the personal aspect of the biggest battles.

It’s tough to convey the fact that this is also full of very funny moments, grounded in iconic characters we know well.  I can’t be the only one to crack up at a well-placed Batman glare.

Presidential Material: Barack Obama & John McCain

October 15th, 2008 by florence

This comic caught my eye this week, since I am a huge Obama fan.  I grabbed it on impulse, and only after staying at the store and waiting for Marty and Mike to finish their browsing, did I pick up the companion issue about John McCain.  Both comics seem intended to tell snippets of the life story and key political turning points of the two most prominent 2008 presidential candidates.  Like me, the creators of these comics seemed to be enamored with Obama, focusing on his childhood in Hawaii, the struggles that his mother and grandmother faced with limited incomes, his strong potential in school, and his connection to outsiders like “the Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance artists” in college.  I nearly swooned at the idea of my president being influenced by structural feminists.  His introduction to his wife as a respected professional colleague who had grown up on Chicago’s South Side was really sweet.  They both come off as fiercely intelligent and committed to social activism, which again made me want to squee.  On the whole, I came away knowing a little bit more about Obama’s personal past, but mainly just reinforcing the positive views I already held, which was fine by me.

McCain’s comic was piled up at the comic shop, seemingly untouched.  His cover is a little bit more unsettling, and the content included both a respectful account of his wartime experience and his association with past scandals.  There was a lot in here that I didn’t know about McCain’s history, which probably reflects more on my lack of interest than on any deep reporting conducted by the writers.  There are references in the back of the comic to biographical sources, but they are very vague and could not be used to substantiate any of the details.  To me, this comic tells the story of a man who has lived a long and varied life, who has a hot temper, who has been implicated in scandal (he cheated on his first wife, and had close ties to one of the famed Savings & Loan architects as a senator back in the 80’s).  One of the other tidbits that stuck in my brain is that his great-grandfather was a slave owner who died fighting for the South in the Civil War.  I know that it’s not fair to hold that against his descendant, and we’ve had many southern presidents whose family history I have not questioned.  The comic also details several of the principled stands that McCain took during the 2000 presidential primary that he has since contradicted. This includes his opposition to tax cuts aimed at the very wealthy, campaigning with Jerry Fallwell (whom he had earlier termed as an “agent of intolerance”), and his earlier abhorrence of dirty campaigning.  I came away from this comic with a slightly dimmer, but more nuanced, view of John McCain as a person, which reinforced my desire to see him far from the highest office in the land.

I found these interesting, but not scholarly or impartial, nor likely to change anyone’s existing political convictions.

ReadComics Book Club: The Walking Dead Vol. 1

October 5th, 2008 by florence

On Tuesday, October 21st, at 7PM CST at Florence & Marty’s apartment, we are holding our next ReadComics book club.  This month we will be discussing the first trade paperback of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, “Days Gone Bye”, which collects issues #1-6.

Warning: This is a scary and explicit zombie story, and this volume is just the beginning of a very long story, so you shouldn’t expect a tidy ending. It has gotten great reviews for writing, and has already sucked me in thoroughly.  I’m looking forward to a lively discussion with our crew of Kirkman fans and anti-zombie spokespeople.

In a slight change of plans, we’re putting off our Buffy Season 8 #12-19 ReadComics book club selection until November, in hopes that we can include Susie’s expertise and that Joss actually puts out issue #19 someday.

UPDATE: Florence is sickly, so we’re going to try and postpone this just one week to the 28th. Hope everyone can still make it!

Comic Book Club Tonight!

September 30th, 2008 by florence

Just a reminder that we are having this month’s Comic Book Club tonight at Florence & Marty’s apartment at 7PM.

If anyone is tempted to come to a Comic Book Club but doesn’t know us personally, let us know and we can choose a neutral location next time.

Neal & Neil

September 20th, 2008 by florence

Carrie alerted me to this Goodreads interview with Neil Gaiman.

GR: Let’s talk about your new book. What inspired the story for The Graveyard Book?

NG: Twenty-three years ago, we lived in a little Sussex town in a tall house across the lane from a graveyard. We didn’t have a garden, and our 18-month-old son loved riding a tricycle. If he tried riding in the house he would have died because there were stairs everywhere, so every day I would take him down our precipitous stairs, and he would ride his little tricycle round and round the gravestones. As I watched him happily toddling I would think about how incredibly at home he looked. I thought that I could do something like The Jungle Book with that same equation of boy, orphaned, growing up somewhere else, but I could do it in a graveyard. I had that idea when I was 24 years old. I sat down and tried writing it and thought, “This is a really good idea, and this isn’t very good writing. I’m not good enough for this yet, and I will put it off until I’m better.”

And I’m glad I waited. I think it’s a better book than I set out to write 23 years ago, and I feel like the gods smiled on me, and I got very lucky. Normally, in anything I do, I’m fairly miserable. I do it, and I get grumpy because there is a huge, vast gulf, this aching disparity, between the platonic ideal of the project that was living in my head, and the small, sad, wizened, shaking, squeaking thing that I actually produce. And then there is The Graveyard Book, which is, I think, the first time I’ve felt really satisfied.

GR: Let’s go back a few years to The Sandman comic series, which took 2,000 pages and almost a decade of your career to date. Do you have any plans or aspirations to take on a project of this scope in the future?

NG: No! I’m so proud of Sandman. It really did take about 10 years of my life to do. It’s collected in The Absolute Sandmans, which together weigh about 30 pounds, and if you drop them on somebody you will do serious damage. It definitely didn’t leave me thinking, “I need to write more giant things.” Depending on how long I get to live, I will probably get to do another two, maybe even three, more American Gods books, and they are all great, big things, 500 to 600-page books, so it will probably be that length. But I can’t imagine doing anything that takes up my life and my headspace in the same way that Sandman did. There were times when what was going on in Sandman was much more real to me than anything that was going on in the world outside, just because I was spending more time with these characters.

The same site also posted an interview with Neal Stephenson.

UPDATE: Neil Stephenson will be at the Edina Galleria Barnes & Noble next Friday.

Farscape’s Chiana writes comics!

September 7th, 2008 by florence

Those of us who watched Farscape when it was on (1999-2003) know that it was a beautifully shot science fiction show with a staggeringly hot cast of complex female characters spanning many alien species.  The hottest was Chiana, a gray alien exiled from her native culture for her rebellious ways and added to the crew in the middle of the first season, becoming one of the main characters and staying on through the final episode and miniseries.  Spazzy fangirl that I am, when I met the actress who played Chiana, Gigi Edgley, at a wedding/ unicycle competition in Minnesota yesterday, I gawked and grinned, texted Susie, and basked in her stardom.  The rest of the crowd got word that she was a famous actress, but no one else seemed to have a clue about the specifics.

A mutual friend introduced us to Gigi at the wedding, and she was incredibly nice and gracious about fan attention.  She is still doing a lot of appearances at conventions, and has also been branching out into projects of her own.  She is launching a comic titled Blue Shift.  Here is more info from her press release:

What’s Blue Shift?
BLUE SHIFT is a brand new Science Fiction Adventure comic series by Gigi Edgley, an Australian actress best known for her role as “Chiana” on the hit TV series FARSCAPE, and Brian Meredith, a comic book writer of such titles as Sprecken and Lucifer Fawkes and Co-Founder of the Emerald City ComiCon. The artwork for this series is by Sidney Lima, the artist for Zorro by Papercutz.

What’s It About?
BLUE SHIFT is the tale of a young woman named Pepper Jones [pictured above], who is abducted and experimented upon by an alien race that capture and sell humans (and other less advanced races) as slave labor for other aliens.

However, before these malevolent aliens can finish modifying her for hard labor and blind obedience, the unthinkable happens: Pepper fights back! With the help of another captive, she manages to escape their vile clutches, something that has never happened before.

Now, with her new companion at her side, Pepper finds herself traveling among the stars as she makes a new life for herself.

When Is It Coming Out?
BLUE SHIFT is scheduled to be released as a 3-issue miniseries in the summer of 2008. It is currently being produced by Rorschach Entertainment, which has put together a Blue Shift Preview Ashcan that contains the original 10-page story that started it all. This book is available for purchase online.

Buy The Blue Shift Preview Ashcan Here!! [currently out of stock]

More info can be found at the Blue Shift website.

Wonder Woman by Gail Simone

July 10th, 2008 by florence

I missed my chance to get her to sign anything for me, but I did catch a couple of starry-eyed glimpses of Gail Simone at Wizard World. I have genuinely enjoyed her writing in Birds of Prey, Secret Six, and most of all in Welcome to Tranquility, but I have to admit that my enthusiasm is even greater because she is a girl. I love that she is a force to be reckoned with in such a boy-centric industry, and the fact that she was articulate and charming on a Wonder Woman panel clinched my admiration.

I have never read Wonder Woman before, although (brace yourselves), I actually was Wonder Woman when I was ages 6-8. I had the underoos, and I could spin like nobody’s business. Needless to say, I was awesome. I could whip those powers back out anytime I want, I just choose to live the lazy life of an engineer. For now.

I have fond memories of the tv show, I love the character, but I’ve always been afraid to look at what the myriad of past writers and artists have done to her over the years. Since I heard that Gail was taking over the title this year, my interest has been peaked, but these quotes from the panel clinched it for me:

“Now [that Gail is writing it] I can show Wonder Woman to my 10 year old daughter.”- guy on panel

“When I was growing up, I thought the fairy tales I was told were bullshit. Then I discovered Wonder Woman; now there was a princess I could get behind.”- Gail Simone

That’s my princess, I recognized her when Gail spoke. She is tall and booby and gorgeous, yes, but she is also a warrior. Her rules are different than ours, she lives in truth and honor but she takes fighting very seriously, and she is good at it. After the panel, I scoured the many many booths and only found one with Gail’s WW issues on sale, which filled my head with rants about the zillions of crap titles everywhere and no respect for women customers, but they did have plenty of Buffy and Fables issues on display, so… I don’t know. The panel also made it sound like a low seller, despite the huge brand recognition.

When I got home, I devoured the comics I had found (issues 14-20), and came across another wonderful quote; “Avoid fights when possible, but if you have to fight, fight to win.” This is a Diana who can tame genetically-modified warrior apes through a show of respect and regal authority, but who admittedly gets off on fighting. It is her thing, what she was raised for. I know that I’ve denounced graphic dumbass violence in comics before, but when she does it, I want to clap my hands with glee. Don’t get me wrong, there is way more in this arc than fighting, there is also the introduction of amazon courting rituals, which is hilarious and intriguing. When the boy in question comes out of his daze at being chosen, he manages to ask “Wait, if these are Amazon courting rituals, can they be applied to a man?” Diana replies, “We’ll have to muddle through.” Badass fighting, witty dialogue, and an allusion to ancient lesbian mating rituals all in one comic? How could I not be charmed?!

*Disclaimer- all quotes are probably wildly inaccurate.

Planetary: Trades 1-3

July 7th, 2008 by florence

While we were at Wizard World, we saw Warren Ellis speak at his ‘late night Q&A’ as the guest of honor for the convention. My first exposure to him was through the Authority years ago. I really liked it, but it wasn’t until Marty started reading his work that I began to encounter to more and more Ellis comics piling up in our household. I’ve liked some, and loathed others (Gravel just struck me as uninspired violence).

I may have heard the name before, but until Wizard hadn’t put any thought into Ellis’s Planetary book. At the Q&A, a drunken young man in the audience repeatedly begged for discussion of Planetary. He was rebuffed first by Ellis at the beginning of the evening, and then again later, when he had drunk enough whiskey to match the boy’s blood alcohol levels. I was not won over by Ellis’s persona, which was grandiose and rude in a very cultivated manner. The most amusing portions of the evening included imitations of other famous people and their craziness (name-dropping included Alan Moore, Patrick Stewart, and Tom Baker, it’s possible that only certain geeky audiences would be star-struck by this line-up, but it was hilarious). Other portions included an excruciating reading from his novel with open glee at the squirming he caused in the audience with his endless descriptions of godzilla bukake and testicles forceably engorged with salt water. I really don’t recommend indiscriminate reading of everything he puts to paper, especially since he brags that he has bullied every editor in the industry with into submission and no longer has any limits on what he wishes to publish.

On the subject of Planetary, Ellis would only say that he has written a new issue, and he expects Cassaday to create the art sometime before 2009. I think. Other than that, he said that he was totally burned out after an interview on the subject earlier that day. At the time, I couldn’t have cared less, but now that I have devoured the first 3 trade paperbacks (purchased by Marty at the convention), plus a Planetary/Authority/Trinity crossover, I have joined the ranks of fans waiting impatiently for more. There seem to be enough single issues to warrant another trade soon, but the pace has slowed, and Ellis does not have a good track record for sticking with a particular title once his initial creative outlet has been fulfilled, and he wants to continue with Cassaday, who is booked with other projects these days.

Planetary is perfect for those who love the Authority comics. It takes place in the same universe, and follows the Planetary organization, which includes long-lived super-powered people of questionable reputations and lofty goals, but this lot prefers to stay in the shadows rather than using their powers openly. The first trade was interesting, but it seemed to follow more of an episodic rhythm with stand-alone mysteries being investigated by the three Planetary field agents. The second TPB starts to thread things together, introducing a Big Bad and hinting at future answers. Then all of a sudden, a big answer is revealed and things really start moving fast. I was giddy at having so much to read at once, and so much satisfaction at the way the story progressed. I have a few more issues to look forward to (preferably after the trade comes out, if I can wait that long), but then I will be bereft and begging with Ellis’s other fans. And having met him, I expect no mercy.

Authority Variety Pack

June 13th, 2008 by florence

While shelving comics at our new place, I came across a stack of Authority comics in Marty’s ‘to read’ pile. I started reading and couldn’t stop with just one arc. I read Volume 2 issues #5-14 which contained the arcs ‘Behemoth’, ‘Godhead’, ‘Fractured Universe’, and a one-off called ‘Street Life.’ Then I found a miniseries called ‘Jenny Sparks: The Secret History of the Authority’ and devoured it, as well.

I have to admit that a past boyfriend introduced me to the Authority (my first Warren Ellis comic), and between him and later searches, I made it through all ~29 issues of volume 1. It looks like we’re still missing vol.2 issue 1-4, a bunch of miniseries, and vol. 3. They don’t make it easy to track down the entire series, but it has been worth it so far.

‘Godhead’ was an irreverent arc taking on the idea of religion as a drug/ virus. A new religion, led by a charismatic former movie star, takes hold of the nation and quickly spreads to a large percentage of the population, including world leaders. It bears some resemblance to Scientology, but this leader makes sure that his devoted disciples declare him ‘better than Tom Cruise’ while in the heat of the passion. The Authority doesn’t take notice until other religious sites and communities start coming under violent attack. They attack right back, until the Doctor becomes a convert and the others are captured or wounded enough to retreat. Midnighter is one of the captured, but manages to resist the attempts to brainwash away his love for Apollo. Very sweet, but very bloody. In the end, the rush of being a Godhead, and the mulititude of willing, unthinking followers, is acknowledged and somewhat coopted by the Authority.

The ‘Fractured World’ arc starts with the next issue, but it felt like I was being thrust into the middle of a story. I looked it up, and apparently it is connected to a larger crossover event within Wildstorm comics which includes an Authority miniseries called ‘Coup d’État.’ By the time this issue starts, the Authority has undertaken a coup and ousted the president of the United States. Jack Hawksmoor has taken on that role, swearing at press conferences and showing no patience for the bureaucracy that comes with the job. He explains that he will not bullshit the American people, but then refuses to comment on questions about the sudden emergence of Jenny Sparks’s alleged birth mother in China. I don’t want to spoil the outcome of that storyline, but I do find it interesting that the Authority just continues to expand the scope of its power to include head of state as well as leading a new religion, despite its original identity as ‘an anarchist cell.’ I wonder where it can possibly go next- empire-building in alternate dimensions or future centuries? Was this the original vision, or is their power expanding to find new stories as the years go on and new writers take on the characters? Is it a commentary on the difference between the political landscape of the 20th century vs. the 21st, the age of growing global conglomerates?

This miniseries visits Jenny Sparks throughout her 100 year lifespan. Apparently she has always been cute, hard-drinking, and of questionable taste in men. This expands on some of the storylines that have been touched on in the Authority title (her acquaintance with Hitler as a struggling young artist in Vienna, her marriage in Sliding Albion), and add some new twists (Einstein as a loving godfather/ time-traveling spy). It includes her deep friendship with Angie, her dalliance with an incredibly hot Shen, and her introduction to Jack as a boy tortured into his powers.

It also introduces the idea that perhaps Angie, the Engineer, is the true founder of the Authority. Her intelligence and force of will drove her to create her own powers. Did she also find a way to give direction and hope to Jenny and start the chain of events that led to the formation of a team that would provide her with home and family and an unprecedented combined power? I hope that later issues explore her ambition and her goals in more depth. There have been hints that her relationship with Jack is disappointing- in issue #14 ‘Street Life,’ Jack refers to a past lover as ‘the closest thing he’s ever had to a relationship,’ and confirms that he never wants kids of his own (partly because he has no idea what his manipulated body would produce). Will Angie settle for what she can get with him? Will she move on with someone new? Or will the drive that is hinted at in this miniseries reemerge to create the relationship she wants? Will her means be benevolent? I can’t wait to read more and find out.

Buffy Season 8 #15

June 4th, 2008 by florence

I just bought Part 4 of Drew Goddard’s ‘Wolves at the Gate’ arc of Buffy Season 8. Drew wrote for Buffy and Angel when they were on the air (he’s also a JJ. Abrams favorite, having written for Alias, Lost and Cloverfield). He has always demonstrated excellent pacing and wit in his writing, and I have been really impressed with his ability to transfer those skills over to the medium of comics. This issue completely sucked me in and then took me on the roller coaster that I expect in the Jossverse; weaving excitement, laughter, and wrenching heartbreak.  When it ended I felt drained and happy, hopeful and yet sure that soon, things would get much worse for these characters that I care about. Because it always gets worse, and yet it never feels depressing. The message has always been that the world can suck and there are no guarantees for a happy ending, but there are friends and there are moments of joy and connection, and that is the point. We keep fighting.

Serenity: Better Days 3 of 3

May 29th, 2008 by florence

I just got home and looked on my shelf for something to read, and was shocked to discover the final issue of the latest Serenity miniseries untouched! I don’t know how this escaped me when it was bought, but with weekly and sometimes biweekly trips to the comic shop for our household, it must have gotten temporarily lost in the shuffle. In any case, I was thrilled to find it, especially because the chaos of moving in a few days would have undoubtedly sent it forever into an abyss of boxes and inadequate shelving.

Naturally I devoured the issue immediately, and was unsurprised to find it to be awesome. I don’t have much to add to my review of the first issue of this miniseries without spoiling anything new. The art is my favorite style, and the characters were so consistently true that the writing is easy to take for granted. Yay, Joss.

Welcome to Tranquility #7-12

May 27th, 2008 by florence

As some of our podcast listeners know, Jason would not be a fan of this arc of Welcome to Tranquility. It has zombies. It’s not trying to be original or modern or spectacular in its gore, this is just the next story to be told in this quaint all-American town full of superheroes, supervillains, and a sheriff who calls a demon a doodyhead.

Gail Simone revels in cliches, but manages to tell an original story stocked with characters who seem to have unique pasts and powers. Issue #7 starts with lingering looks into several characters’ daily lives. We visit the aging superheroine waking up in her ever-present bunny costume. An old man continuing a once-fierce battle with his neighboring nemesis, now reduced to bickering over the fence. The pan continues, dwelling on a cute goth boy, a drunk in a bar, a man tinkering with a beloved old car, and a singing undead Elvis-wannabe in a graveyard.

It felt like a chance to visit these people and review my memories of other stories I had heard about them. It’s hard to tell how many stories are from canon, and how many are from my own imagination, which seems to have allowed them to continue living since my last visit to town.

Giving away the general story arc wouldn’t really do this series justice. Its feels like old-fashioned story-telling with no higher purpose or message, but it really sucks me in and makes me care.

Faeries are comfort food

May 1st, 2008 by florence

After picking up my pull from The Source a few weeks ago, I was milling around waiting for Marty when the last issue of the Suburban Glamour miniseries caught my eye. I have to admit, I usually stick to known favorites or hand-picked recommendations from my sister Susie or friends, but this time I just picked up something new and immediately felt like I had stumbled upon a treat- a story about faeries. Not just faeries, but a teenage faerie changling in our world- a girl who never quite fit in and suddenly discovers that she is special. I have read many many variations on this story, it is my ultimate comfort food literature, and even though I am far past the age of pubescent transformation, it still makes me feel giddy and transported.

Realizing that the issue said ‘4 of 4’, I resisted reading too much. I searched the store for back issues, but only found #2, so I had the missing issues ordered for me. Last week I picked up the completed arc and immediately devoured them, bumping them in front of my hefty to-read pile. I was not disappointed. I won’t spoil the story, but anyone who shares my love of this genre already knows exactly what happens. The art, by creator Jamie McKelvie, was lovely, the main characters relatable, and the story of a girl having her world turned upside down- comfortingly familiar.

Serenity: Better Days Issue 2 of 3

April 9th, 2008 by florence

Serenity Better Days Issue 2My cup runneth over. New Buffy and Angel comics last week, new Serenity comic this week.

This issue of Serenity was a nearly stand-alone story within a small 3 issue arc. Most of the pages display the fantasies of each character, sharing what they say they would do if they were rich and could presumably change their renegade semi-criminal lives. Now we all know that they are living this way, in the fringes with each other as a makeshift family, for their own reasons and most could have have found other options. Some crewmembers never fess up, and some are full of it, but all are highly amusing.

The art is in my favorite style; vivid watercolors with realistic likenesses of the actors I adore. I was surprised to see complaints about the photorealistic style from one of the letter column contributors, although I guess I can see their point. This does not allow as much individual artistic interpretation, and I have seen instances of this style backfiring- clearly trying to be recreations of a real person’s face, but missing the mark and instead becoming a constant distraction. In this case, however, I feel like I am in the room with people I know well. I recognize not only their faces, but their movements and voice patterns. I am able to simultaneously immerse myself and admire the beautiful images before me.

Next month will bring the conclusion on this arc, but there is a promise of another 3 issue arc by the end of the year, this time focusing on Shepherd Book and revealing more about his past.

Angel #6, Buffy #13

April 4th, 2008 by florence

Buffy 13It is difficult to come up with new things to say about Joss’s new Buffy and Angel comics that exist within cannon. They are good. He is awesome. Everyone should read them.

And now there’s going to be a new Spike spin off based out of the latest Angel world. I love me some Spike.

That is all.