Sunday, July 28, 2013

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:
  • Jun 12th
  • The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West Ongoing #8 - Knowing what I know about Tip makes this whole tale of his even more bitter-sweet. I'm curious to see the reveal, if this version of Oz follows the original.
  • World's Finest #13 - I'm not really a fan of hero-on-the-run stories, and that's what this is rapidly turned into. I guess I'll have to wait and see if it improves.
  • Green Lantern Corps #21 - That was kind of a confused mess of a book.
  • Smallville Season 11 #14 - Wow. That was an incomprehensible story. I feel like the whole book took a left turn somewhere and I kept going straight. I have no idea what's happening or why. And I'm beginning to catch glimpses of the stories I didn't bother to watch on TV when the show became too boring to tolerate.
  • Spongebob Comics #21 - I think the landquarium story was my favorite in this issue. Ah, the lies teachers told us.
  • Jun 19th
  • Green Lantern: New Guardians #21 - Joy. Another universe-destroying threat. Whee. Good stories can be told without upping the stakes to ridiculous level, but I think some comic book writers have forgotten that.
  • Batman Beyond Unlimited #17 - Nice end to the Superman story, strange end to the Justice League tale. The Batman one isn't quite over yet. I guess we'll have to wait and see how it turns out.
  • Fables #130 - The start of something new and different. This could be fun.
  • Doctor Who V3 #10 - I had the final reveal figured out almost from the start of the book. Still, I'm curious to see how they will get out of it.
  • Sergio Aragones Funnies #8 - Oh man, great stuff in here. I particularly like Sergio arranging the trip to Mexico for the Mad crew.
  • Spongebob Comics Annual Giant Swimtacular #1 - Definitely a fun issue, packed full of Mermaid Man and including some great Ramona Fradon artwork. Love the Edwardian Age Mermaid Man. I could handle more like this, yeah.

My book this week was Big Heroes! (DC Super Friends Little Golden Book). I loved the Little Golden Books as a child, and I love seeing Aquaman on the cover of one. Just makes me happy, y'know? Simple plot in this one, Lex Luthor uses a shrink ray on the five heroes (no Wonder Woman?) and they have to find a way to get back to full size and stop Lex from taking over. Lots of fun, but I am disturbed by the lack of a female hero (I mean, c'mon, she's one of the original team).

Fortean Times #303
Fortean Times #303 (August 2013). Spooky-ish cover, but the words are a little more wince-inducing than the picture. The place-name hearkens back to the original meaning of "faggot", which is a bundle of wood. A "scrapfaggot" refers to sticks used to tie the bundles together. The modern connotation of the word as an insult didn't appear until early in the last century, but it's now the primary meaning for most people and thus makes its inclusion on the cover of the magazine mildly wince-inducing. Only mildly because it would take a complete idiot to mistake it for an insult in context. But still irritating because there are a lot of idiots out there.

The cover article itself is a little scattered. It could've used another edit or two to pull it together. As is, however, it gets the information across. The story is strange... a witch buried under a crossroads who comes back to haunt the village after a stone is moved... but the kicker is the wonderful children's book mentioned at the end of the article, complete with enough interior artwork to make it clear that it's based on the same story. I love local lore like this. I'd be tempted to get a copy of the children's book, even. Just for fun.

This issue has another three main articles. The one on the Uncanny Valley was disturbing for the pictures, more disturbing when it moved into a discussion of sex toys. The story of Vril was a very strange look back into how weird movements like that arise and what they might actually mean in the context of the rest of the world. Dr. Phene's House of Mystery would no doubt be a tourist destination if it was still standing. I wish more pictures of it existed. Particularly the interior, which I gather was never photographed.

Strangedays starts with tales of survival after being trapped in rubble after disasters, then moves on to Pope Francis supposedly conducting an exorcism. A two page spread of mythical creatures shows a major museum exhibition currently in Kentucky. Sad news of the oldest oak in Wales, the Pontfadog Oak, blowing over in a windstorm. The piece has the history of what happened near the oak, which is filled with some exciting stuff. Other pieces are about a woman with multiple kidneys and a man living in a graveyard crypt for more than a decade. There's a great little piece on North Korean anti-American propaganda - a video that claims US citizens have eaten the country's entire population of birds and live off snow. It also shows North Koreans doling out cakes to hungry Americans. I want a cake! Sadly, while the video was real, the translation was fake. So, no cake. But then, there's a bit on the mania for mangos in China in the late 1960's, so maybe a mango instead?

Science is about labyrinths and the history of them since neolithic times. Ghostwatch is about Mother Leakey's ghost and what it meant in the context of its times. Archaeology is about ancient travel based on artifacts found in strange places. Classical Corner is about the illnesses in royalty, with some rather gross examples. UFO Casebook talks about VVS (Vasovagal syncope), a condition that acts a bit like a panic attack and can easily be mistaken for something paranormal by the sufferer. Blasts from the Past is about teleportation in Michigan. Fortean Traveller visits Bavaria and the Grail Church of Ettal. Phenomenomix is about Albin Grau.

The forum has a great article on the Renaissance classic The Anatomy of Melancholy, which is about a Fortean book as one is likely to find in the times. Another article is about Ray Harryhausen's contribution to movies in the form of his fantastical mythological monsters. Although there doesn't seem to be a lot new in the article, it pulls together some interesting points and makes me want to go watch the movies again.

There's three or four books likely to make it to my wish list from this issue's batch of reviews, as usual one of the highlights of the magazine. And some of the letters read almost like articles in and of themselves, particularly the piece on radio hacking. The correspondents of Fortean Times are excellent indeed.

With this issue I'm completely caught up with this magazine. I order my copies through IMS News, and usually get my issue about a month after it reaches British subscribers. The magazine is also available through, but I prefer to have the paper version and not just an electronic version. Still, it would be better than nothing (and roughly half the price for a year subscription).