Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Doctor Who?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Sunday Comic Books 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 5th
  • Aquaman #20 - Wow, Mera is really upset at the Aquamarine for killing Dead Water's latest host that way. And that was only the first half of the book. The sickening realization by our intrepid agents of what's in the water and how Dead Water couldn't have been created the way Aquaman thought he was... well, much more fascinating. I am only reading these comics as fast as I am because I want to see what happens next in Aquaman.
  • Justice League #18 - Some plot movement in this one, at least, as we get yet another villain. I wondered, but you never really know, do you? So what did the heroes just do, and what is going to happen to the world next thanks to their efforts?
  • Green Lanterns #20 - Well, I'm fairly sure how this is going to finish up. What I'm more interested in is how the other Green Lanterns are reacting to a Guardian on Earth.
  • DC Comics Bombshells #25 - Batvampire and the Suicide Squad versus Nygma and ancient evil. Lovely stuff, if not really my thing. Heck, the back-up story was much more intriguing for what it was setting up. This is a great universe with lots more to explore. As an aside, our copy of this issue was misbound - it was off center so the cover was skewed - anyone else have the same problem?
  • Doctor Who Ghost Stories #1 - Well, I wasn't terribly fond of the Doctor Who special in which Grant/Ghost appeared, although it had its moments. Still, it's kind of nice to revisit the family and yeah, a quest involving them isn't a bad thing. I guess I'll just read and enjoy it.
  • Apr 12th
  • Titans #10 - Nice to see Bumblebee kicking butt and taking names. And it looks like this story leads into another crossover. I hope we ordered and got all the issues involved that we wanted... I guess I'll find out when I get there.
  • Super Powers #6 - That is, by far, the cutest Darkseid I've ever seen. And he's somehow even cuter with a starro on his face being bopped through wormholes. This book is the definition of "cute".
  • Scooby Apocalypse #12 - We already know that Velma's brother is a total nutjob, thanks to the back-up last issue. And now we also know that one of her other brothers is dead. And here she is, at the nutjob's door. In the meantime, downtown Seattle appears to be a monster shrine of some sort. The less said about the back-up story, the better.
  • Spider-Man 2099 #22 - Wow, Lyla rarely gets involved in the story so deeply, but it was actually nice to see what at first appeared to be a subplot where she was basically the star of the show. Nice issue.
  • Planet of the Apes/Green Lanterns #3 - Well, this is heating up nicely. Sinestro is, indeed, not human. And everyone in a battle with Cornelius in an interesting way to get things ramped up.
  • Doctor Who 11th #3.4 - The very confusing storyline featuring the past stealing from the future and multiple versions of multiple characters at different points in their timelines ends neatly with some silly jokes and a very dangerous weapon the Doctor has as a companion. I'm ok with it, but it could have been less confusing. I wonder if some of these storylines read better as trades?
  • Doctor Who 12th #3.1 - Nice to see Hattie again, and I enjoyed the "pre-story" underwater. I like the idea of recycling a planet, but Quarks? Really? Going back in time to find the best fish and chips sounds like a lovely idea.
  • Torchwood #2.3 - Still a wee bit confusing, but I'm getting a better sense of the story now. The flashback had a villain I really wasn't expecting to ever see in Doctor Who again in any form... Vervoids? Really? Still, pretty cool.
  • Spongebob Comics #67 - I like the cover to this one, with a kind of old west/prospector feel. No Mermaid Man that I could see, so otherwise it's just a standard issue.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Hugo Winners

I was going to liveblog while watching the livestream, but the livestream died. So I'm relying on other people's reporting at the moment. These are the unofficial results that I'm hearing from various spots around the web:

Sunday, August 06, 2017

A Sunday Comic Books Review

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic books that I've gotten around to reading and reviewing, sorted by the original shipping date:
  • Mar 15th
  • Aquaman #19 - Working with people who tried to assassinate you has got to be tough, and I don't blame Mera for insisting on tagging along. As for the rest - nice use of previous storylines to set up lots of plot quickly. The pacing of the issue was great, and the creepiness and mystery are also nice. The only thing that rang a little false was Mortimer's sheer panic - he's a hardened criminal who screwed over a lot of people, and despite what happened to him, I didn't buy the panic. Fear, yes, but the panic seemed excessive. I hope Mera remembers how she defeated Dead Water before, because if she doesn't at least try it, I'll be disappointed.
  • Justice League #17 - Superman talks with a giant baby while everyone else is fighting for their lives. Ok. Nifty. Aquaman gets two pages, and that's good. I would have liked to see more of him, of course, but this isn't his own title, so I'll live with two. Especially when those two pages show him very much in command. It's ok, but I'm feeling the decompressed storyline blues at this point.
  • Green Lanterns #19 - Doctor Polaris, along with a possible set up for more healing that Simon can do. However, if it turns out he's able to cure cancer and not just bring someone he loves deeply out of a coma, that sets up a massive moral dilemma in the form of "why are you punching people when you ought to be saving lives?" I hope that is avoided somehow. In the meantime, the pair of heroes got themselves into a bit of a jam on that final, literal, splash page.
  • DC Comics Bombshells #24 - Well, I'm not a big fan of this storyline mostly because it involves a lot of characters I don't really care much for, but at least it wrapped up in a way that was mostly understandable. All the various plots were explained, and there was even a nice betrayal in the middle of the mess. Fun stuff, but I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next.
  • Star Trek Deviations - In an alternate universe, the crew of the Enterprise gathers under rather different leadership. I guess my main complaint with this is that I cannot tell exactly when and how this timeline deviated from the "real" one. If there were just a few more clues, maybe. It was clearly after the Federation was formed, and possibly just before, during, or just after Kirk's voyages. Beyond that, can't tell. My biggest problem with the book is that Riker is bleeding out and Crusher doesn't seem to notice - even though Riker told her the bad news and comforted her. I mean, what?
  • Doctor Who 10th #3.3 - I love when the Doctor appears in a fairy tale setting, and thanks to Father Wu Wei. The whole story is pretty neat, and I love the artwork in the bits that are being told as a fairy tale. I'm a little concerned about Gabby, however, since this issue put her behind enemy lines with no apparent back-up. Looking forward ot the next issue.
  • Forever War #2 - Wow. Psychic aliens that are curious to see what happens next. And the first contact with the enemy. This all seems oddly familiar, so I'm beginning to think I may have read the book sometime in the long distant past and just forgotten I've read it. That said, a fairly powerful bit of the story.
  • Wonder Woman '77 and Bionic Woman #3 - It took me two tries to get through the exposition part of this book. Yes, the character had to be introduced, and yes, there was even a joke about how long they took doing it, but bleh. I really didn't enjoy wading through it. However, once past that, the book was great. I guess it was just another effort to make me hate the bad guys more.
  • Mar 22nd
  • Teen Titans #6 - Yay, the return of Jackson! As he was originally introduced, Jackson lives in the middle of the desert but knows he has water powers. And in this reality he seeks out the Titans because he feels the need to be free of parental guidance and to have the ability to explore his powers. In the meantime, the Titans have their own issues. I loved that final splash page... almost giggled, to be honest. Beast Boy isn't my favorite character ever, but he's mildly charming in this. Going to enjoy this storyarc, I think.
  • Batman Beyond #6 - Ah, the age-old question of whether Batman or the civilian identity is the mask. Is Terry Batman, or does he take on the role of Batman? And how will that affect his life and desires? And more importantly, how will it affect the people who rely on him? It's a good thing to explore with a new character carrying the mantle - and it's a question that has dogged this particular character from the moment he put the suit on, so it works.
  • Batman '66 Meets Wonder Woman '77 #3 - Catwoman works great for her role in this issue, and I like the interaction between the heroes and the Amazons, as well. This really is a fun book on many different levels.
  • Future Quest #11 - Well, they put together a great plan and it looked like everything was going well, so I'm really curious now as to what may have gotten messed up along the way. It looked to me, based on what the book has given us so far, that it ought to have worked or been working... so I'm drawn in again, wondering what the secret is and waiting for the next issue.
  • Scooby-Doo Team-Up #24 - You know, the Martian Manhunter really is incredibly creepy when you think about his abilities. Invisibility, shape-shifting... it's a wonder he isn't considered more scary than he is in the DC universe. Though having him shift into Scooby's form was hilarious.
  • Dirk Gently: Salmon of Doubt #6 - I don't think there is any way I could even start to attempt to sum this book up - or even any parts of it - so I'll just say this one raised my eyebrows and amused me greatly and leave it at that.
  • Star Trek/Green Lantern V2 #4 - So, while Kirk is dinking about with Khan, Sinestro is ready to take on the universe? Well, it could technically be unwinnable, but Kirk has always cheated and I don't expect Hal to play it straight either.
  • Doctor Who 12th #2.15 - Sort of a predictable ending in some ways - of course the couple would be getting together and of course it would be an alien threat that really pushed them together - but there were a lot of nice elements of silliness and fantasy in there as well.
  • Mar 29th
  • Titans Annual #1 - Wow, Aquaman is more than a little obnoxious in this one. On the other hand, he does have the right to take charge - just glad he gave it up for Batman. I didn't know that about Donna, but then Donna's origin has altered so much I have no idea who or what Donna is in this universe anymore. I mean, heck, Aqualad isn't exactly the same guy that I love in the Silver Age comics either. As for the mystery villain, I have my guesses, and I'm sure I'm wrong, but it'll be fun to find out.
  • Green Lantern/Space Ghost Special #1 - This was a nice fun one-shot, with a good character introduced. The back-up was... painful. But, hey, the main story was great!
  • Back To The Future: Biff to the Future #3 - Biff does more stuff, gets more famous and buys the town. It's not bad, but it's about how I figured it went down while watching the movie, so there isn't a whole lot of new in this particular issue. I suspect the next issue will be slightly more interesting on that front.
  • Doctor Who 9th #11 - Typical Doctor, getting himself caught to investigate something suspicious. Not so typical? His reaction to the treatment. Good thing Rose is there to help, even if she hasn't got much of a clue of what to do. This is a very nice set-up, and slightly unexpected - I was thinking we would see the events leading up to his arrest. This isn't the story I anticipated, and that's a good thing.
  • Rough Riders: On The Storm #2 - The readers knew Annie was alive, but it's clear that no one else did. In any case, this sets up some kind of cult going after the president, and has a nice cliffhanger, even. I have enjoyed this series, and I'm certainly curious to see what comes next.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Haircuts and Life

A week or so ago Eric and I drove out to our usual place to get haircuts, the Sunnyside Beauty Academy. There was a note on the door that said the owner was retiring and the academy would no longer be giving haircuts to the public. Much disheartened, we went home without haircuts.

A couple of days ago I noticed my hair was in my eyes. All the time. It was driving me bonkers. I used a hair band to hold it back, but that turned out to annoy me even more. Then I read about record temperatures about to hit our area, with possible highs up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, and decided I needed a haircut NOW. Last night I got to the point that I was seriously (and not for the first time) considering cutting as much off as possible then using Eric's shaver to clear the rest.

We needed a new place to get haircuts. I'm not inclined to be stylish - I just want short hair. And the women in this town literally ALL have long hair, and don't want to cut short. So I thought about a place I went to many years ago to get a photo of a child's first haircut, and suggested to Eric we try Fred's Barbershop. I checked the hours online, and off we went.

When we drove up, the place looked abandoned and I was a little worried until Eric pointed out that a) the barbershop pole was spinning, b) the open sign was out and c) it's Monday morning. Oh, right. We walked up and just before Eric could put his hand on the door, it opened. The gentleman behind the door was none other than Fred himself, who I remembered taking a photo of for that assignment at the paper. Sure enough, my photo was posted in the shop, with my credit on it and everything. I took the photo in September 2011 - not long after I started as a reporter.

I asked him if he was up to cutting my hair, and he asked - with a little trepidation - what sort of style I wanted. I told him I wanted a typical guy's haircut, and he said it would be fine. "It's all hair, right?" He admitted he hadn't cut a woman's hair in years, but he had no problem once we got started. And I love the cut. It's perfect for me. Short, even all the way across, above the ears. Just what I always want and hardly ever get.

Eric then got his cut, not as short as he might have since school only starts in another month or so. We were delighted and, frankly, I think we've found our new place to go. His son and grandson also cut hair, and if they learned from him I'm not afraid to get my hair cut by them.

Ok, I promised a photo of my new haircut when I got it (if only to let people know I didn't go for Eleven's look on Stranger Things). I took a few photos and all of them were awful, but here's a couple that I can tolerate (barely) other people seeing:

Hubby and I both got haircuts this morning.

It's nice and short!

My hair has always been a cause of stress for me. I never liked it long, and I hated bowl cuts that my dad gave us when we were children. I don't like fancy - my cowlicks make that pointless in most cases. I just want something I can wash, towel dry, comb and go. This is just what I want.

Ok, moving on to another topic... Below the fold: Fires and Boxed shipments (with Inkwell photos)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Sunday Comic Books Review

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic books that I've gotten around to reading and reviewing, sorted by the original shipping date:
  • Mar 1st
  • Aquaman #18 - I love this. I love how Arthur uses both force when needed, and reason for the most part, to get through to the man who was perverted into a killing machine. The back-story of the new character was great. There's enough emotion there for anyone. I also liked how it tied into the signal sent by NEMO. There's just a great deal of good pieces put together nicely in this one. An excellent story, and I hope there will be repercussions along the line at some point - I'd like to see this character again. And speaking of return characters, the final splash was a good one as well. Honestly, this book has just gotten better and better. This is the Aquaman I want to read.
  • Justice League #16 - Aquaman in pre-sinking Atlantis is often interesting... I'm curious exactly how that little storyline will play out. He clearly has the support of the folks around him. I also wonder who those twins are... I have my suspicions, but DCU history has changed enough that I'm almost certainly wrong. Oooh, I want to read more! This has been a good Aquaman week!
  • Green Lanterns #18 - I'm far more interested in Jessica and Simon than I am in Volthoom, so this being basically the entire Volthoom origin story... I'm not impressed. Like previous issues in this series, the twice-a-month format has allowed further exploration into the backstory of villains, but I'm not really all that interested in those backstories. Oh well. Next issue will be better, I suppose.
  • DC Comics Bombshells #23 - Some flashbacks to previous events and the way certain characters had to deal with them. I'm still finding the reading more confusing than I like, and I'm not sure if it's me or the work itself. But at least I get it - Wonder Woman has joined the fight and the bad gal says mechanicals are more reliable than zombies. Well, maybe? I wonder about these mechanicals.
  • Super Powers #5 - I love that Mera features so prominently in this book. Just seeing Aquaman and Mera together fighting as part of a team is awesome. And when the rest is so cute and fun - bonus! I have to admit, that's the cutest Darkseid I have ever laid eyes on. I recognized most of the heroes - but who is Golden Pharoah? In any case - fun fun fun!
  • Doctor Strange #18 - Not knowing about Thor's civilian identity proved to make this one a little more interesting, as I wondered about the surgeries. The final frantic surgery scene while Strange fought Mr. Misery was pretty good, all told. And I'm curious about the next issue and whether or not Wong can be saved. So a good issue overall.
  • Spider-Man 2099 #21 - I couldn't for the life of me remember who Sonny Frisco was. If I'd just read the freaking infodump on the first page, I would have known. Still, despite the lack of certainty, it was a good issue full of action. And Miggy seems to be digging himself a deeper hole, as well. How much of his past can he change before something truly nasty happens?
  • Doctor Who 9th #10 - Transitions in this issue were a little rough, making it hard to follow in spots. In the end, the whole thing seemed to turn out alright, but with those shades of gray that have become more common in the show. Rose is disillusioned, the new companion is disillusioned, and the last couple of pages hint at a rockier road to come. Decent.
  • Doctor Who 11th #3.3 - I'm not even going to pretend to understand what is happening with earth in this story, because if I do I think my brain might break. All just read along and smile and nod like I know what's going on and maybe the thing will come together as a story before it's all over. *smile* *nod*
  • Mar 8th
  • Titans #9 - Yeah, sure they reformed. I'm both amused and apalled at Garth's "punch 'em" attitude. It's true he was a hothead in the original version of the Titans, so it's not off-character, but I expect a little more from my Atlantean. This is a nicely plotted issue with the villains knowing exactly what the heroes are likely to do and planning for it. But there is a wildcard in there - so next issue we find out if she tips the balance.
  • Earth 2 Society #22 - I guess this is the final issue, and there's not really any plot, just a wrap up showing most of the new world and what's in it. I didn't see any Atlanteans, which makes me sad, but otherwise a nice upbeat ending.
  • Astro City #42 - What a delight for an Aquaman fan! An aquatic villain who never reformed, but did spend a very long time alone. I like the Mermaid, and thought it was incredibly funny when Manta almost commented on how old she looked. Her response to seeing him again was hilarious as well. I almost felt sorry for him when he returned to his island and isolation - I thought it would have been nice for him to at least have Mermaid visit and reconcile with him - but his "practice talking" thought at the end made it clear he's fine with who he is. Lovely issue.
  • Scooby Apocalypse #11 - With everything out in the open, I think the team can finally start to figure out what and who they are. I liked Fred's calm discussion with Daphne about Velma and why Velma left. Contrasted with Velma's nightmare in the last issue, it worked really well to show how Daphne has worked through her anger. And then there was the back-up story, showing one of Velma's brothers. Apparently the plague affected him in an entirely different way - perhaps because he was already a monster.
  • Back To The Future: Biff to the Future #2 - Biff goes to Hollywood and meets Hollywood accounting. Ok, so he's a bit of an idiot. We already knew that. And has a thuggish way of getting back at people. We knew that too. And had a fling with Marilyn Monroe?!?? Um. Ok. On to the next book.
  • Spongebob Comics #66 - The best thing about this issue for me is the back cover. It's an ad for the Mermaid Man action figure that appears in one of the stories, and has a number of other action figures. In short, I giggled a lot. The story featuring the creepy little action figure was also very fun for me... even Mermaid Man was scared of it. This is why I continue to buy the book - for the snarky Mermaid Man jokes.
  • Planet of the Apes/Green Lanterns #2 - Guy is making too much sense in this issue. And Hal, trapped in a cage, still manages to outsmart folks. I love it.
  • Torchwood #2.2 - Nope. Still can't quite tell what's going on. Oh, I get the gist of it, but it's all a bit confusing and strange. It's a very disjointed style of comic book. Perhaps I'll get used to it during one of these mini-series.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

New Podcast: Levar Burton Reads

Levar Burton Reads. I heard a reference to this podcast on a different podcast, then after I thought about it for two seconds I went and hunted it down. I mean, I didn't exactly "grow up" with Reading Rainbow*, but I definitely watched it sometimes and loved it. So to have him reading stories for adults? Yeah.

The podcast started in June and is up to seven episodes covering six short stories. The latest story is by Neil Gaiman, but Burton also reads pieces by Percival Everett, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Richard Parks, Daisy Johnson and Bruce McAllister.

In the first episode, Burton reads "Kin" by Bruce McAllister. It was excellent. The story is good, and Burton's reading is suitably creepy and solid, depending on which character he is focused on. The length of the story, 35 minutes, is perfect for a podcast as far as I'm concerned.

It will take me a few days to catch up, but from then on it looks like this will be on my weekly listens.

I have always been a visual learner, preferring reading or seeing to listening alone. However, I've come to enjoy my podcasts, particularly after I've been writing. They seem to recharge me - because I don't have to remember them or take notes on them. I'm currently working on catching up with two other podcasts, and I thought I'd mention them...

The first is the History Goes Bump podcast, which combines two of my favorite subjects: history and ghost lore. I love the stories they collect from all around the world, and have listened to the latest few podcasts with joy. I finally decided to head back to the beginning of the podcast and start listening from the start. I was warned, but the audio quality in the first few episodes is truly dreadful. Fortunately, it seems to have been fixed fairly quickly, and starting with about episode six the sound improves dramatically.

The podcast takes either a place or a person and tells the history of that place and person, then covers any ghost tales associated with them. The result is a generous heaping of history with a dash of human nature thrown in. I adore this podcast, and love it when a new one drops. Now, however, I have more than 200 episodes to catch up on.

The other one I've decided to listen to from the beginning is Tea & Jeopardy. I've listened to a handful of episodes thanks to the Hugos, but I decided I wanted to hear them all from the start. And I'm glad I did, because Emma is MUCH more sinister in the first episode, providing considerably more peril to her guest than just her disturbing butler, Latimer. As the third episode features my friend Paul Cornell, I'm looking forward to continuing my listening and finding out what dangers Paul endures.

Both these podcasts have Patreon accounts, and if I were a rich girl I would support them both for the joy they provide (and the extras would be nice to get, too).

* I was 11 years old when Reading Rainbow started, and already an avid reader. Most of the books on the show were for younger readers, like my two younger siblings, so I watched when they were watching. I really loved the theme song, though.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Random Reviewlet 5

Goddess, Worm by Cassandra Khaw, published in Uncanny Magazine.

Warning: some spoilers may be ahead.

A goddess tries to get justice.

Wowsa. It took me a second read before I really understood what was happening, but it was worth the reading. The main character is all burning hate - mixed with memories of horrible torment. But she's still someone. All the other gods and goddesses are not. They have no reality, no depth - and that's how they prefer it.

I've spent a great deal of time thinking about ancient pantheons of gods and wondering about how they are structured and so forth. This story takes that to its natural conclusion. How does one punish a god who committed an act that a human found horrible, but the gods just found normal?

The ending is sharp but perfect. She cannot change the past, cannot get justice - but she can be the goddess that she herself hoped for but didn't find. Instead of a story just about revenge, which this could have been, it becomes a story of progression, of dealing with the problem and moving past it and becoming something greater both despite and because of the pain that came before.

Conclusion: Yeah, I liked it.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Sunday Comic Books Review

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic books that I've gotten around to reading and reviewing, sorted by the original shipping date:
  • Feb 15th
  • Aquaman #17 - Yay, another panel of people celebrating Aquaman with unbridled joy. I am terribly amused at such scenes, as I always imagine myself in them somewhere. That said, the rest of the story is fairly straightforward - Aquaman searching for the problem, getting past the obstacles without hurting innocents and then... well, I'm not really sure what that last panel represents. I guess I'll find out next week.
  • Justice League #15 - Oh joy, more time travel shenanigans. With people's history being wiped or about to be wiped depending on the view. And some other bits from previous issues brought back to confuse us more. And a new character - a timeless watcher - who immediately made me think "the ultimate Mary Sue" before I clamped down on that. The next few issues are going to have to work hard to get me to like this story, I think.
  • Green Lanterns #17 - Ah, the development I was hoping/waiting for happened. I mean, it was kind of telegraphed from the start, but Simon could have gone a different way with it. Overcoming great fear was interesting - both Jessica and Simon have had to deal with it, in entirely contrasting situations. Eh, this was a decent issue.
  • Teen Titans Go #20 - Two stories, as usual - one about bad love poetry and the other about spring break. I liked the Aqualad appearance in the spring break story. I also like the appearance of Aquaman and Mera on the cover, although they are obscured by the title on the finished book.
  • Doctor Strange #17 - Not a big fan of the artwork here, although it works well enough for this type of story. The underlying concept of Mr. Misery using Wong to find how to hurt Stephen the most is brutal. A good issue, with a very *ahem* strange guest-star at the end. Next issue is going to be odd.
  • Doctor Who 10th #3.2 - Ah, more mental control fighting. At least we didn't spend another entire issue inside the illusion - just most of it. And I'm amused by what it looks like from the outside when they break free. It's another ok issue, but nothing to write home about. Barely enough to blog about.
  • Forever War #1 - Confession time. I've never read the book. It's in my to-read pile, and has been for some time, but I've not actually gotten to it yet. So this comic book is going to be my first experience with this story. So far, so-so. It's a standard "training" story, in which everything is brutal and people die in horrible ways. Just as we get to where the action apparently is, the book ends. But hey, it's a comic book - that's sadly normal.
  • Feb 22nd
  • Batman Beyond #5 - Lots of revelations in this one, including the fact that Terminal attracted entirely the wrong kind of attention by claiming he was going to bring the Joker back. It's a pretty intense issue, with lots of action to back up the revelations. But it's enough to make me wonder about all the timelines and the odd changing and crossing of them.
  • Batman '66 Meets Wonder Woman '77 #2 - With Bruce successfully fighting both Nazis and assassins as a child, no wonder (pun not intended) he becomes a hero in the future. I loved the classic Wonder Woman story, but I'm curious to see how Batman can bring in the modern, or at least the 1966 version, of Wonder Woman into the tail. The timing of everything is more than a little confusing.
  • Future Quest #10 - Now that they've got all the pieces of the puzzle together, the only thing that remains is to figure out how they fit and then - boom, battle the evil and save the world. I'm really enjoying how each character gets enough time for us to learn what their strengths and powers are, and how they relate to the current crisis. It's a pretty good series for something based on old children's cartoons that weren't really meant to stand the test of time.
  • Scooby-Doo Team-Up #23 - I'll admit to being not very familiar with Quick Draw McGraw and El-Kabong, but it's not hard to pick it up from context. In fact, it would be terribly difficult to not pick it up. This was pure silliness all the way through, and it worked. I admit to rolling my eyes and giggling at the same time.
  • Astro City #41 - A beautiful story. There's a touch of the ongoing thread in there, just enough to make the reader say, "wha-?" but not so much that the story is ruined or strained by it. The explanation of why the city was renamed is very nice in context. It's clear that heroes are never as well treated as they could be, but that's because the public is fickle and sometimes cannot understand the reasons for certain things that happen. I like the way this book forces me to think.
  • Star Trek/Green Lantern V2 #3 - Manhunters who haven't betrayed their programming yet? And Sinestro leaving Larfleeze as a Lord of Klingons? I'm just not sure how this is likely to turn out, but in combination with the newest Red Lantern, things are not looking good for the side of the light.
  • Back To The Future #17 - Marty and Doc have to find a way to short-circuit the past, and so they go to the start of their problems to make things right again. And, as is often the case, leave their enemy better off than before. A nice conclusion to this story. If it is the conclusion.
  • Dirk Gently: Salmon of Doubt #5 - Well, this issue explains quite a bit about Bart, actually. If her powers are disrupted, she can be "aimed" in the wrong direction - which is what happened in the tv series. And it was all due to a friend of Dirk saying the wrong words at the right moment. Or the right words at the wrong moment. Hard to tell. This is getting really strange, which is saying a lot when referring to Dirk Gently. I do believe Douglas Adams would approve.
  • Doctor Who 3rd #5 - A typically quick finish to the story, as technology overrides everything. I love seeing Jo successfully explain the Doctor and friends to a lady in the past. All throughout, fun stuff. I could hear Jon Pertwee and the others saying their lines. The ending was a neat little way of keeping the universe insane. All-in-all, a good book and a good storyline.
  • Rough Riders: On The Storm #1 - It's a pull-the-team-back-together issue, and as such has only a little action worth talking about. Edison's train car and method of bringing people on board being the main one of note, along with the recruitment of Monk.

The List

Amy Siskind has been publishing a weekly list of things that are not normal about the current presidential administration, starting right after the election. It's a bit eye-opening. I would love to see this done for every administration now, just to keep track of the things they are doing that might be "off" the acceptable path. It certainly gives stark reminders of what Congress is allowing to happen to the highest office in the land by not taking action.

However, at the moment, I'm just linking all of her lists so far, so I have them available to look through. While this is mostly for my own use, I figured other people may find it interesting or enlightening.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

New Trailer


The Eisner Awards were announced at San Diego Comicon. File 770 has the list.

Here's my thoughts, as unqualified as they are.

Best Single Issue/One-Shot was won by Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In, by Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer, and Jill Thompson (Dark Horse), and was very deserving of it! I love every issue of Beasts of Burden and wish we could get more of it. The series is great, the premise is solid, and I love the art and writing.

Best Anthology was won by Love is Love, edited by Marc Andreyko (IDW/DC). Another deserving work with a lot of passion in it. I'm still reading a page or two every week, and will savor this one for a long time - probably start over and reread once I'm done. There's just so much in it.

Best Reality-Based Work was won by March (Book Three), by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Top Shelf). I loved all the March books, especially how they showed that the whole movement wasn't entirely peace and harmony within, but people still got it done. There was no cleaning up of the history to make himself or his fellows look better - John Lewis told it warts and all. And the entire series was fantastic and a must-have.

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art) went to Jill Thompson, Wonder Woman: The True Amazon (DC); Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In (Dark Horse). Yay to Jill, who is an amazing artist and a wonderful person. If you ever get the chance to meet her, take it. She's lovely in person, too.

Best Webcomic was won by Bird Boy, by Anne Szabla, Hrm. Never heard of it. Must go check it out...

The Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award went to Comicazi, Robert Howard, David Lockwood, Michael Burke. Somerville, MA. This was a slight disappointment to me, as my friend Anna (Illusive Comics and Games, Anna Warren Cebrian. Santa Clara, CA) was one of the five finalists.

Overall, I thought the list was mostly excellent and enjoyed seeing familiar names.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Random Reviewlet 4

A Series of Steaks by Vina Jie-Min Prasad, published in Clarkesworld.

Warning: some spoilers may be ahead.

A specialist in forging foodstuffs gets a new client.

I love the founding concept of this story - that food can be printed to order, and people are willing to forge types of food so they don't look like they've been printed. Even better, this particular food is being made from cloned cells, so it's really the same food - just not from living animals. Honestly, I find the idea of printed cloned meat being so much cheaper that people claim it's the "real" stuff to be very hopeful for the future.

As for the story, it starts out as a standard blackmail type tale, then twists into a buddy film sort of thing. I love it. Honestly, the concept alone was great, but after Lily comes on board and Helena has someone to help her, I'm just happy with the whole thing. The characters are both great, with Helena's world-weariness more than offset by Lily's checkered history and happiness with herself.

The way the issue is resolved also makes me happy. I spent a little time squeeing at the totally obnoxious trick, which was kinder than the victim deserved. I would probably write a lot more about this story if I disliked it, but I really did enjoy it, so I guess this is enough.

Conclusion: A fun little story that does a great job world-building.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Random Reviewlet 3

Monster Girls Don't Cry by A. Marc Rustad, published in Uncanny Magazine.

Warning: some spoilers may be ahead.

A woman who spends her life hiding herself finds out what acceptance really means.

Well, if that isn't a giant metaphor, I don't know what is. However, it's so nicely done that I can't help but enjoy it on the surface level as well as the underneath. Oh, I suppose it's a bit clumsy in some respects with the metaphor - almost going overboard - but it's a story about literal monsters.

I usually don't like second-person narrative... but this story needs that little push into the personal space, and that's what the narrative does. The reader isn't really a monster, are they? But the narrative insists that for the length of this telling you see the world as the monster girl.

Of course, this story is about how good intentions aren't always positive, but it's also about finding people who don't mind the monsters and see the real people behind what others would call deformities. This metaphor could mean any group of people that are abused or shunned - from those with visible disabilities to those who can "pass" for normal.

I think my biggest problem with it is how it feels like a metaphor, even though it doesn't have to be. I feel like I have to think of who the monsters might be representing. That feeling is a result of our society. If I read this as a child or teenager, I would probably have understood the metaphor less, and because of that I would have enjoyed the story more and probably found it something to think about for a long time after. Coming to it as a jaded adult, I don't know if it works the way it should.

Conclusion: I really liked it, but can't shake the feeling that its message comes on too strong.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

More on Who

I can't help but think of the people afraid of the Doctor changing as being like Light in Ghost Light.

DOCTOR: But you evolve too, Light.
LIGHT: Nonsense!
DOCTOR: Of course you do. You change, adapt, all the time. Your attitude, your place, your mind. I mean, look at you now. You're no longer your original shape. And I don't think much about your catalogue. It's full of gaps.
LIGHT: All organic life is recorded.
DOCTOR: What about the gryphons, the basilisks? You missed the dragons, the bandersnatches. Then there are the slithy toves and the crowned Saxe-Coburg.
LIGHT: Where are these items?
DOCTOR: I can't think how you missed them. You have to complete the catalogue before you can destroy all life here.
LIGHT: Control?
DOCTOR: She's no use to you now. She's evolved as well.
LIGHT: No! All slipping away.
DOCTOR: All is change, all is movement. Tell me, Light, haven't you just changed your location?
LIGHT: Not yet.
DOCTOR: What's the matter, Light, changed your mind?
LIGHT: You are endlessly agitating, unceasingly mischievous. Will you never stop?
DOCTOR: I suppose I could. It would make a change.
LIGHT: Nimrod! I can rely on you. Assist me now.
NIMROD: I'm sorry, sir. My allegiance is to this planet, my birthright.
LIGHT: Argh! Everything is changing. All in flux. Nothing remains the same.
DOCTOR: Even remains change. It's this planet. It can't help itself.
LIGHT: I will not change. I'll wake up soon. No change.

Spoilers below the fold, sweeties... (just a round up of some of my favorite reactions)

A Sunday Comic Books Review

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic books that I've gotten around to reading and reviewing, sorted by the original shipping date:
  • Feb 1st
  • Aquaman #16 - I like seeing Aquaman getting his people involved in the clean-up after the terrorist attacks. If nothing else, it will get his own people used to thinking of the surfacers as people like themselves. This was a transition issue - there's a new villain being introduced while the impact of the previous storyline is explored. Not bad, for what it is.
  • Justice League #14 - Wow, this was a talking issue. I means, there's a tiny bit of action, but the giant fight that is being built up is actually skipped entirely! Brave choice, there. A bit surprising. I liked that the elephant in the room was discussed as they waited to recharge - elephants. Enough of them to make a herd or two. The implication is that they've now had it all out and will adjust and be a team. I'm not sure, personally, as team conflict is one of the drivers of modern superhero comic books. Still, a very odd issue.
  • Green Lanterns #16 - Ah, the gun. Yes, that would be an issue in that particular place. I found it a little strange all around, considering that it's something that is an essential aspect of the character and his flaws at the moment, that Commissioner Gordon was the one who made a fuss about it. Still, the whole storyline here has the potential to resolve the gun thing, and that's all good in my opinion.
  • DC Comics Bombshells #22 - I'm not sure how interested I am in the Zambesi storyline here, but this is where we are, so I'll keep reading. I'm afraid I can't tell some of the characters apart, which annoys me - it's less because of the way they are drawn and more because I just haven't internalized which is which. And, is it just me or does everyone seem to have red hair?
  • Super Powers #4 - It's a bit of an Aqua-issue, as Mera and Aquaman arrive to take on the Legion of Doom... with a little help. This story is making more sense as it goes along, but it's still pretty nonsensical. Not a bad thing with this type of book.
  • Planet of the Apes/Green Lanterns #1 - I'm not a big Planet of the Apes fan, but hubby is a big enough Green Lantern fan that we got this. The ring in this issue appears to be exactly the same thing as the Phantom Ring from Green Lanterns, only it doesn't look like it. I wonder if that will be addressed at all in this series and if not, who in editorial let this happen? In any case, I'm really happy with who ended up wielding the ring. Heh.
  • Spider-Man 2099 #20 - This is pretty much an entire episode about Tempest. I feel like anything I write would be a spoiler (I know, silly for a book that's been out for months). But not much happens here if you write it out: Mig learns that Tempest is awake and pregnant, and Tempest makes an informed choice to trust Tyler Stone. Oh, and a fight happens, but isn't there always a fight?
  • Back To The Future #16 - A surprisingly substantial issue. A lot happens to get from point A to point B, but each piece fits with each other piece. I liked the Doc's plan, such as it was, to save them from the past - we already know things can change in this universe. As for the future, well, I'm not sure how the bad guy's plan is going to work. There must be a twist in here somewhere.
  • Doctor Who 12th #2.14 - Oh, I just love when stories bend back upon themselves. In this case, two comic book creators whose work is based on legends of The Doctor get an unexpected trip in the TARDIS. All of which goes fine until it doesn't, which is sort of how Doctor Who works, I would think. The knock-off Doctor is amusing, the comic creators are strange, and all told it's an odd adventure. I'm curious to see how the story ends.
  • Vampirella #0 - We bought this because of the price (25 cents) and the writer (Paul Cornell), because normally I wouldn't bother with this character. As expected, an interesting prologue to a greater story of some sort. Certainly worth the price for the fun bit of story.
  • Feb 8th
  • Titans #8 - Oh my, are we getting the introduction of HIVE here? I'm not sure, but there's some fun stuff about to happen as the team bursts in on ... well, whatever it is they are bursting in on. Even more interesting is Mal's choice, though. I wonder if it will be permanent, and what the ramifications will be going forward?
  • Earth 2 Society #21 - This definitely seems to be winding up. Batman being as heroic as a Batman must be while everyone else fights the big fight. I just don't see how it's all going to tie up and finish. I think the next issue is the last, though.
  • Scooby Apocalypse #10 - Ok, while I knew it had to be a dream, I didn't know who was dreaming until the end. Given the events of the previous issue, it should have been clear. In addition, once one of the characters was introduced as Velma's brother - well, only one person knows the connection between the Four and Velma. This doesn't move the story forward much, but it does provide some insight into Velma's state of mind.
  • Doctor Who 11th #3.2 - A Silence so good at what he does that even other Silence cannot remember him (I guess that answers that question about them). An infection spread by a sapling child. And lots of memories being stolen/shared. This is the conclusion of one storyline, yes, and a farewell to Jones - but it's also a set up done well for a new set of adventures with one potentially very sticky (bad pun intended) problem.
  • Torchwood #1 - I still don't know what's happening in this book, but I decided to just let it go and try to enjoy the ride. Clearly there's a mental process behind the plotting I don't get - so maybe if I read it long enough it'll pull together. I'm enjoying the individual set pieces, which is good, I just can't figure out how everything fits.
  • Spongebob Comics #65 - As a person who has done the camping thing, learning all the lessons required to not die on a real hike, I feel for Sandy. She really should know better than to worry about Patrick and SpongeBob, though. The Plankton story was very strange, as was the switching roles tale. At least Mermaid Man made an appearance on the back cover. Fun as usual (so if you don't like the usual humor in the cartoon, avoid the book).

Spoilers Ahead for 13th Doctor Announcement

As you all know, the actor playing the next Doctor was announced today. I'm going to talk about my reaction to the choice after the fold.

I would love to avoid spoilers for the handful of people who truly believe they are going to make it more than five months without hearing the news, which is why I'm trying to allow for a little spoiler space for anyone who might be reading this in a newsreader, which ignores the "after the fold" stuff and just gives you the entire post.

So I'm going to blather on for a short bit about other things. For instance, I installed an add-on called "Distill" that tells me when a change has been made to a page. I'm mostly using it to follow the comment threads on File 770 (since it allows me to pick just a section of a page to follow) and to keep up with a handful of webcomics I'd fallen behind in paying attention to.

Have I blathered enough? I don't know. Here's what I'll do. I'll post a graphic about the fan cycle regarding new Doctors, then the official "reveal" trailer from the BBC next, then talk about it...

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Wrinkle...

It has been many many years since I read A Wrinkle in Time. So many, in fact, that I only remember clearly ONE scene of the entire book. That scene is in this trailer.

Last Day for Hugo Voting

Ok... just logged in one last (?) time and made only two changes, so I think I'm pretty much done with it. There are so many good pieces this year (compared to my first two years of voting) so I'm likely going to be happy at most of the winners. I'm still a little upset I couldn't finish the Best Series category, but it's a bit much to expect anyone to read five series they'd never read before in two months along with everything else in the packet, so I guess I shouldn't be.

I'm going to be trying to read a lot more short fiction this year than last - keeping up on the pace I set for reading during the Hugo voting, I hope. I will be posting my little reviews as I go, although I don't promise to review everything I read. I would get even more bogged down.

I'm still debating whether or not to ROT13 stuff I feel is spoilery... if you have an opinion on it, please let me know (I have a bookmark that automatically deciphers ROT13 so I never think of it as a pain to read - but some people might find it more difficult).

If you have any recommendation for novels that I ought to read for next year's Hugos, please let me know. I read all the comments that aren't clearly spam, so I'll see your recommendation even if I don't reply. For short works I'm finally getting around to reading this year's Uncanny Magazine and using Rocket Stack Rank to find short works from other publishers.

Random Reviewlet 2

Bodies Stacked Like Firewood by Sam J. Miller, a short story published in Uncanny Magazine.

At a funeral, two people make a connection. Warning: some spoilers may be ahead.

I understand why this story is in Uncanny Magazine, as it's about an uncanny event between two people who were dealing somewhat poorly with grief and life choices. But most of the story is about relationships, with only the slightest connection to fantasy/science fiction.

The main character is a bit of a sad sack, going through life listless and unhappy because he is unwilling to commit himself to joy. The woman he meets at the funeral is equally messed up, but for reasons we aren't really all that clear about. The decision they make to honor their dead friend's wish to be cremated was both frightening and amusing - frightening because they were drunk, and amusing because they couldn't, in the end, go through with it the way they wanted to.

This is very much a story about knowing who and what you are - couched around a slightly mystic story of a young trans man who believes some people can see the future. The only one in the story who I find at all appealing is the dead man, and we only see him through his writing and the viewpoint of the main character.

I couldn't decide if the ending was supposed to be about the dead man setting up the others to be together, or if he was just sending a message to them. Either way, the ending had a nice impact, but seemed terribly slight for such a heavy subject matter. Was it a dream? Was it the alcohol? Had they had a bit more than just alcohol? Or was the ending literal?

Conclusion: A surprisingly slight story, a decent read, but nothing that's likely to stick with me.