Friday, July 30, 2004


I’m back from the nerd-prom, and I’m not going to tell you a thing about it (you can read of my partial exploits thanks to CBG’s own Chris Allen)… I did, however, pick up a bunch of stuff – listed below – and the desire to issue a challenge.

A review challenge.

Because, I think that should be CBG’s thing, and here I am, writing something being published at CBG (and Marc’s blog, The Waiting Room).

Alan threw down the bejeweled gauntlet with Eightball #23 and I have set my sites equally as high:

Marvel’s brand-new collection of Jack Kirby’s Captain America and the Falcon: Madbomb

I read it on the plane on the way back from SD, and had discussed it previously with folks like CA and Matt Maxwell, but since I’m not really a reviewer (this column is an exercise in process, impression and place) -- I’ll leave it to the best and the brightest of the web log-o-sphere.

So, get reading, we all know you’ve got one in that stack somewhere, I mean, it’s Kirby fer chrissakes. Send your reviews here to myself and we’ll post the best ones. It’ll be fun, I swear…We’ll even make it worth your while with some free stuff for the ones we like.

Oh, and I’ve decided to give away some stuff from this weeks iteration of the stack (the stack is completely OUT OF CONTROL, standing close to 2 feet tall on the bedside table), rather than add to the further clutter of my already cluttered basement. Details below, savvy readers (although, this week’s stack is so HUGE, I’ll give you a pointer; seek out Conversation and Ursula for give-away details).

Anyway, here's the stack as it stands today:

Carnet De Voyage (Thompson): SAN DIEGO PURCHASE! A thoroughly engaging travelogue/journal that is much, much more substantive than I believed it would be from the initial solicit/press. I’m halfway through it, and I Highly Recommend it!

Battle Royale #8 (Takami/Taguchi): I’m in for the long haul, but talk about decompressed storytelling…

Same Difference And Other Stories (Derek Kirk Kim): SAN DIEGO PURCHASE! He won an Eisner, so I thought I’d check it out…

The Tomb (Weir/DeFilippis/Mitten): SAN DIEGO ACQUISITION! I know the inker (who was also the artist on Last Exit To Toll), he gave this to me…

The Kid Firechief (Steven Weissman): SAN DIEGO PURCHASE! Looks like fun, I’m sure I’ve read other work by Weissman, but his past credits don’t ring familiar…

The Horde (Baranko): The new deal with Humanoids and DC will keep me in head-y, European SCIFI from now until the very end of time…

The Technopriests 1 (Jodorowsky/Janietov/Beltran): So, I had the big albums of the first 2 collections, found out this past weekend there’s 7 of them so far, and this TPB collects the first 3. Ergo, this is the way to go if you can accept the smaller size of these new trade collections from DC.

The Lizard of Oz (Bode): SAN DIEGO PURCHASE! An impulse buy. I have Wizards on my Netflix queue. Maybe that’ll show, I can score some weed and work the three of these things into a burned-out weekend!

Eightball #22 (Clowes): SAN DIEGO PURCHASE! With all the talk of #23, I remembered I’d never read #22. I’m taking an indy trip back in time! Was there even a web log-o-sphere when this came out?

The Interman (Parker): SAN DIEGO PURCHASE! A perennial on the convention circuit that I’ve never purchased/read. Well, I have now…

End Times (Hiti): SAN DIEGO PURCHASE! This was a must-find the first day of the con after I skipped out on MoCCA this year. Beautiful looking book, we’ll see how it holds up to the hype.

Sebastian O (Morrison/Yeowell): I read the originals when they were published, but I remember zip about the series, we’ll see how it re-reads.

White Death (Morrison/Adlard): SAN DIEGO PURCHASE! I like historical fiction, and I like Adlard. Maybe this is my AiT sweet-spot.

The Filth (Morrison/Weston): Let’s see how it reads all in one sitting, shall we?

Wake the Dead (Niles/Chee): Didn’t read the singles, let’s see how the trade does.

The Last American (Grant/McMahon/Wagner): I may have read this in its original format, but I don’t remember (as you can see, I read far too many comics for anybody’s good).

Tim Sale: Black and White (Sale): SAN DIEGO PURCHASE! Tim’s dreamy, and his art’s not too shabby either! A nice looking book.

Back Issue #5 (various): SAN DIEGO PURCHASE! A nostalgia issue focusing on ‘70s superhero TV. Read bits on the plane, and its fluffy, but entertaining…

The Ballad of Halo Jones Books One, Two and Three (Moore/Gibson): Mo movement.

Stranger Than Fiction (Chuck Palahniuk): No movement.

Exterminator 17 (Bilal/Dionnet)/Gods in Chaos (Bilal): No movement.

The Incal 1, 2 (Moebius/Jodorwsky): No movement. Didn’t find #3 at the show, either.

Found (Rothbart): No movement.

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind 1,2,3,4, 5, 6 (Miyazaki): No movement.

Chronicles of Conan 2, 3,4 (Thomas/Windsor-Smith/Kane/Buscema): No movement.

Here's what's leaving the stack this week, and where it's going:

Captain America and the Falcon: Madbomb TPB (Kirby): Wonderful stuff in need of more insightful thought. Someone should issue a Review Challenge™ or something. This is heading to the shelf, or maybe I’ll leave it on a bus for a civilian to find and discover its beauty.

2020 Visions Hardcover (Delano/Quitely/Pleece/Romberger/Pugh): Read this on e the plane, and liked certain arcs more than others, but overall, a strong read. May have been better served in color. Not one for the shelf though…

This is heading to the basement, amid the stacks of stuff to get rid of, somehow... someday.

The Comics Journal #261 (various): Sometimes I like the Journal more in theory, than in practice, and this was one of those issues. Speaking with Dirk this past weekend though, has me enthusiastic for future issues under his tenure. This is heading the stacks in the basement with my other Journals and mags that I’m holding onto for some strange reason.

The Collected Jack Kirby Collector Volume 2 (Morrow): Read a good chunk of it on the plane. The art and story behind “Science Fiction Land” is worth the price of admission alone. This is heading the stacks in the basement with my other Journals and mags that I’m holding onto for some strange reason.

The Moth #2,3 (Rude/Martin): Finally, off the list! Although, truth be told, I more skimmed than read…

This is heading to the basement, amid the stacks of stuff to get rid of, somehow... someday.

Gotham Central #’s20 and 21; Plastic Man #7;; Tom Strong #27; Swamp Thing #5; Challengers of the Unknown #2; DC Comics Presents: Batman and Mystery in Space; She-Hulk #5; District X #3; Justice League Elite #1; Losers #13; Hellblazer #197; The Authority: More Kev #2; Batman: Harley and Ivy #3; Doom Patrol #1; HERO #18; and Books of Magic: Life During Wartime #1. Nothing to break-out here, Gotham Central’s still a good read; She-Hulk has a fill in artist that is not nearly as good for the book as Bobillo was; Life During Wartime is mostly impenetrable, but interesting; and the rest are just filler.

These are all heading to the basement, amid the stacks of stuff to get rid of, somehow... someday.

Here’s what popped on the list, then jumped right off due to being quickly read (I love stuff that fits this category):

Flight (various): SAN DIEGO PURCHASE! Beautiful book, with uneven stories. Worth a look, both for the production, art, and overall effort.

This is heading to the basement, amid the stacks of stuff to get rid of, somehow... someday.

Conversation (Kolchaka/Thompson): SAN DIEGO PURCHASE! Incredibly slight and incredibly over-priced. This is a give-away this week, so…


Kyle Baker: Cartoonist Volume 2 (Baker): SAN DIEGO PURCHASE! A quick, fun read. Heading to the shelf with the rest of my Baker stuff.

The Playboy Pad (various): SAN DIEGO PURCHASE! A photographic visit to swingin singles’ retreats across the… Hey how’d this get on here! Heading to the basement with the rest of the arty porn.

America at War: The Best f DC War Comics (various): SAN DIEGO PURCHASE! A best-of collection of DC War Comics from the ‘40s through the ‘70s that was on my list of things to look for, and I fond it, pretty cheap too. Heading to the shelf with my Fireside/Simon and Schuster Marvel Collections from the same time period.

Egg Story (Schmidt): SAN DIEGO PURCHASE! Recommended by Marc Mason. A cute little comic, but alas, after I give it to my wife to read…

This is heading to the basement, amid the stacks of stuff to get rid of, somehow... someday.

Slave Labor Stories (FCBD) (various): SAN DIEGO ACQUISITION! There is nothing from SLG that interests me other than Dorkin’s work… it may be an age thing.

This is heading to the basement, amid the stacks of stuff to get rid of, somehow... someday.

Demo #8 (Wood/Cloonan): SAN DIEGO PURCHASE! Earlier issues, with Cloonan’s art presenting more experimental lines/styles were more interesting to me, visually. Story-wise, I’m always left a little under-whelmed, but some may argue that’s the point.

This is heading to the basement, amid the stacks of stuff to get rid of, somehow... someday.

Grande Fanta: The art of Ashley Wood (Wood): I’m a big fan of Wood’s art and Popbot series. This collects the three previous “Art of” Books and is a nice, if not squat *why so small when the previous books this collect were so much larger) and expensive ($50!), collection. Heading to the shelf…

Family Reunion and Me and Edith Head (Stewart/Lieber and Ryan/Lieber): SAN DIEGO PURCHASE! Two excellent mini-comics! I’m way late to the game with Edith Head, but glad I finally showed, it’s excellent. I’ll hold onto these…

Ursula (Moon/Ba): Not my thing, maybe it’s yours…


Western Tales of Terror (various): SAN DIEGO PURCHASE! A nice anthology of – surprisingly -- western horror tales. This industry needs more anthologies, dammit! They signed this for me, so I’ll be keeping it…

The Walking Dead #9 (Kirkman/Adlard): SAN DIEGO PURCHASE! This one sails along; this will get ditched when that second trade hits.

A1 Sketchbook (various): SAN DIEGO ACQUISTION! Atomeka is going to be doing some interesting stuff, and I need to dig out my original runs of A1 -- Ross and Dave are swell eggs. I’ll hold onto it…

DC: The New Frontier (COOKE): I have no idea where this is going, but it’s a beautiful ride. I’ll be keep the singles until it’s fully collected, and if it’s not fully collected, I won’t be buying partial collections.

Metal Hurlant #12 (various): One of my favorite reads, always filled with interesting stuff; this issue is no exception. Features the first real substantive work from Rob G and Rick Spears. I hold onto these…

The Uncanny Dave Cockrum… A Tribute (various): A pricey tribute at that. I know it’s for a good cause, but 30 bucks? What’s the split on that…

This is heading to the basement, amid the stacks of stuff to get rid of, somehow... someday.

Fantastic Four: Hereafter TPB (Waid/ Wieringo): I liked this arc and I generally like Waid’s FF. This is heading to the secondary TPB stacks in the basement.

Daredevil: King of Hell’s Kitchen TPB (Bendis/Maleev): this may be the last good, strong arc of Bendis’ DD. This’ll find a home on the shelf along with the rest of his run.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #9; Sleeper #2; Planetary #20; Fantastic Four #516; Powers #2; Marvel Kight: 4 #8; Astonishing X-Men #3; Amazing Spider-Man #510; X-Statix #25: Kabuki #1; Loki #2; Daredevil #62; and Man-Thing #1! I’m exhausted after all of the above, so nothing to break out here, except: Kabuki #1 is a pretty mess; I’m coming around on Astonishing X-Men; the shock at the end of Amazing may end up being interesting; Marvel Knight 4 is not so much a good read without McNiven’s art; Powers is Powers (the events of this past week sure put those Personals in a new light, don’t they); FF mercifully starts a new arc next issue; Planetary moves slowly (duh!); Sleeper’s great and Ultimate FF ain’t half-bad and currently my favorite Ultimate book.

These are all heading to the basement, amid the stacks of stuff to get rid of, somehow... someday.

Here's what needs to go on the stack, but then the stack would be perilously tall:

Lone Wolf and Cub (Koike/Kojima): I too the first four volumes for the plane ride, didn’t crack a single one. And, I see the sequel/prequel Samurai Executioner is out this week… I’m doomed!

Joseph Rybandt has been working "professionally" in the comics "business" for close to 14 years. He lives in the mountains of Northern PA with his wife, daughter and companion Cosmo. His thoughts and opinions are, mercifully, his own.

Monday, July 26, 2004

SDCC: Day Four and The Return

Day four. The end.

This was, I think, the first year that I actually figured out how to enjoy the con for what it is. In the past, I was obsessed with getting things autographed. Beyond that, I worked as a drone for Khepri Comics. What I had never really done is just go, and go with the flow. This year, I was just me: Marc Mason, comics lover, and comics reviewer.

Sunday was actually sort of a weird parallel to Thursday, in that I spent a great deal of time walking through the small press areas and meeting folks who don’t exactly have an exalted space in the Diamond Previews catalogue. Some don’t really deserve that space; some will get it because they do. But to a fault, they are all looking for someone to take notice and look at their book. They are legion.

I also wandered around and spoke to a few creative types like hot Xeric Award winner Sam Hiti (“End Times”) and picked up their books as well.

Bumped into Joss Whedon again on the floor, shortly before we were both headed upstairs to his panel, which was heavily packed. He showed an early trailer for the Firefly movie “Serenity” and then brought out his nine cast members for a lively and amusing Q&A. Whedon once again showed that the real reason the un-powered Xander was such an integral part of the Buffy cast was that it allowed Joss to be a character on the show.

After that, it was downstairs to say goodbye to friends like Chris Ryall, Dirk Deppey and Steven Grant and I was out. While the con closed at 5pm, I vanished by 3:45. My bag was packed again, digging into my shoulder, and I was starving. So it was food and hotel to rest, ending my adventure.

Well, that’s not quite true.

22 trades/graphic novels
28 pamphlets
29 mini-comics
3 magazines
2 prose books

Plus: 10 manga samplers, assorted PR and other freebies, and a package of stuff from Fantagraphics that was waiting for me when I got back today. Not to mention the load of stuff that was still sitting here from before leaving. The real adventure is going to be reading and reviewing all that stuff over the next four months. Stay tuned here and at MoviePoopShoot to see how it turns out.


Sunday, July 25, 2004

SDCC: Day Three

Day three is always the worst.

It has the largest crowds, the biggest media presentations, and by default, the most morons per square foot. Early on, I wished for death.

It happened because I pay no attention to the panel schedule for shit that doesn't interest me. That's how I found myself being (literally) swarmed by hundreds of Star Wars fans. That panel let out of Hall H while I was working my way from Hall G towards the other end of the con. And apparently they announced the name of the new film and announced a free t-shirt giveaway at the Lucasfilm pavilion, the 10,000 square foot monstrosity at that end of the con floor. I was stuck, unable to move as the line for those shirts formed around and seemingly through me. A nightmare of both numerical and body odor proportions. Fuck almighty.

I had gotten off to a late start thanks to Friday night's partying, so I missed friend and editor Chris Ryall's first IDW panel, but I did hit panels for longtime comics scribe Gerard Jones, who has a new history of comics prose book coming in October, and Marvel EIC Joe Quesada's "Cup O' Joe" panel, which, while amusing, announced nothing I didn't already know. Still, both of those panels smartly allowed me to sit and rest my legs and feet here and there, so I was happy about it.

During the day, I managed to have a couple of odd Hollywood moments, as Tom "The Punisher" Jane stopped by IDW (he's working on a book with Steve Niles) with barely anyone able to tell. Jane's back to blonde with a full beard and was completely unrecognizable. I also met Joss Whedon at the DC booth. Whedon was, at the time, traveling without a security detail. I asked him about that and he told me "security just makes people notice." I hope that continued to work. Somebody would likely hump his leg if they had the chance.

Caught up with and chatted up Greg Rucka, signing his forthcoming Queen And Country prose novel at the Del Ray booth, Laurenn "Rent Girl" McCubbin at post-Quesada panel, and bumped into friend Steven "Permanent Damage" quite frequently. All-in-all, the day turned out okay. I called it an early evening, grabbing dinner and heading for the room to get some rest. Off for the finale now...