Sunday, June 01, 2014

A Sunday Review

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic books that I've gotten around to reading and reviewing, sorted by the original shipping date:
  • Apr 23th
  • Aquaman #30 - So we get the origin of a new villain, Aquaman using an old trick, Mera getting political and Tula showing her merit. All in a single issue. I really am enjoying this book.
  • Justice League United #0 - I think I like the team members, but it's hard to say for sure just yet if I'll like the book. Animal Man once again shows that he's somehow jealous of Aquaman. Must be the whole "King of the Oceans" thing.
  • Secret Origins #1 - Superman, Robin and Supergirl. And these aren't exactly the same origins as we've gotten used to in the past couple of decades. I'm not sure what to think of this book.
  • Teen Titans Go #3 - I thought the original show could sometimes get silly. This is about three levels beyond silly, without any of the intensity that made the original series good to watch and read. It doesn't feel dumbed down, but it doesn't feel like it has a point, either. Baltazar and Franco can make this sort of thing work, this book just seems tiresome.
  • Powers: Bureau #9 - Oh dear. If only this book came out regularly, I would be able to make the connections better. As it is, this is an interesting twist.
  • Peanuts V2 #17 - I wish I could make balloons do what Linus did...
  • FCBD
  • FCBD: Scratch9/Run & Amuk - Oh no! The President has outlawed cats! The Scratch9 stories are pretty funny. The Run story is ok, enough to get a taste but not much more.
  • FCBD: Hatter M: Far From Wonder - Useful intro on the inside front cover. The story seems a little wacky, but interesting. Not really my thing, but it's ok.
  • FCBD: Showa: A History of Japan - Ah, reading Manga style - from the back page. I'm surprised at how quickly I can adjust now. Anyway, I wish there was a little more context for this. It's interesting, but I feel like I'm missing something important.
  • FCBD: Skyward & Midnight Tiger - Wow. Two different books, both of which make me want to hunt them down. This sampler obviously did its job with me.
  • FCBD: SpongeBob: Freestyle Funnies 2014 - Mermaid Man! And Mermaid Girl...? Fun little silver age-ish story. Oh, and the SpongeBob stuff was ok, too.
  • FCBD: Scam: Crosswords - Unsympathetic lead character, unsympathetic victims, fairly boring all around. The second story, about a guy who gets stronger and faster the more he drinks alcohol, was funny but not really much to go with. Pass.

Fortean Times #310
Fortean Times #310 (February 2014). The cover mixes Spring-Heeled Jack with Jack the Ripper to make a truly creepy London for any woman. Inside, there are three good articles on the subjects, with the main article being about the general atmosphere of the times and why things like these Jacks were believed in and talked about. Adding to the fun is a Blasts from the Past article on the American versions of the same sorts of tales in the same era.

Another article is about the writer of the first novel about Jack the Ripper, and reprints the first chapter of the sensational tale, which was first printed in the Illustrated Police News. A final article on the subject examines the history of slashers.

A two-page spread filled mostly with a Hunt Emerson illustration talks about Weird Weekend, and its probable demise.

Another article is about speaking in tongues and the charismatic movement. I have very strong opinions on the whole movement, none of them particularly charitable, but I found the article to be a balanced update on what it is and why it might be making a serious comeback into current religious worship. While not comprehensive, at least the article made me think about the subject.

Strangedays has bits on what it means to be a religion, the infamous fake signer, oarfish, dead folks kept unburied, mental illness, the vampire bug, amazing survival tales, sinkholes and islands that appear overnight. Science talks about the storm glass, and whether or not its predictive powers have any basis in reality. Ghostwatch is about the tendency for ghost hunters to visit ex-hospitals and asylums (much to the annoyance of many property owners). Archaeology wonders about strange wooden tridents found in Carlisle (proto-Aquaman?), the musical properties of bluestones and an early astronomical structure in what is now Turkey. Classical Corner is about the secular games, which weren't particularly secular by our understanding of the term.

Alien Zoo covers a sea monster, an intriguingly named jellyfish (the Crambione cookii - dubbed the Cookii Monster) that was so exceedingly rare scientists only had a drawing of one until recently and a new species of tigrina (little spotted cat) that DNA analysis confirmed was not the same as the other known species. Konspiracy Korner makes fun of academic attempts to study conspiracy (with good reason). The Necrolog is devoted to writer Colin Wilson. The UFO Files include a report of a classic UFO case falling apart when examined more closely (like so many) and a theory on why certain people see unusual things while those around them do not.

The First Forteans is on early newsletters, a way people communicated before the internet, and postal chain-letters (where each person adds a new article and passes it on to the next reader). The article focuses on one of the early Fortean fanzine writers, Hal Chibbett, who shared his love of the strange with many people and even helped some of the earliest writers of Fortean Times develop their skills.

The Forum has a bit on Madam Blavatsky's ideas of the universe and how they might actually fit current scientific concepts of the universe. Another article is about the use of the occult in art and how it has been dubbed "occulture" and gotten its own conference in the East Village of New York.

The reviews are as strong as usual. I know, based on the review, that I cannot ever pick up Encyclopedia Paranoica, because my imagination would run with it a little too well. On the other hand, the book about Philip K. Dick's missing head sounds truly fascinating. A review of a new Blu-ray of the 1925 Phantom of the Opera film makes it sound like something worth checking out some time. The documentary about kids and the internet, InRealLife, also sounds like something promising. The Reverend reviews 1922's Nosferatu, also a restored edition, and raves about it.

The letters were fun, including the ongoing feud about John Keel. The story about the little boy who was terrified by something in the kitchen stuck with me as well. In It Happened to Me, the story about the gal going into a shop that was then robbed was nicely told. Fortean Traveller's visit the Bali to see the Garuda Wisnu Kencana park is one of those things that is just amazing to think about. I wonder if it will get completed? And lastly, Phenomenomix continues with Yeats. I like that he made fun of Crowley's poetry. As usual, a good issue of the best magazine available on the stands.