Celebrating the Unpopular Arts

What I bought, read, watched, or otherwise consumed – February 2024

Those whom God wishes to destroy he drives mad. (Leo Tolstoy, from War and Peace)


Black’s Myth volume 2: The Key to His Heart by Eric Palicki (writer), Wendell Cavalcanti (artist), Rob Steen (letterer), and Cort Sedlmeier (collection editor). $17.99, 100 pgs, Ahoy Comics.

This is an interesting series so far, because Palicki has a nice hook – a werewolf private investigator in a seedy, noir-ish Los Angeles populated by all kinds of weird creatures – but he keeps it as slack as he can be, as the series very much feels like a “hang-out” kind of comic even though people are often being brutally killed by demons and other such things. It’s quite weird, but it’s been working so far, so I’m going to keep buying it. In this volume, for instance, our hero, Janie “Strummer” Mercado, takes on an intern who is not exactly the innocent teenager she appears to be, and she kills an intruder in her home that is also not what you might expect, and both of these plot threads lead to her life getting upset just a bit, but there’s also a vibe of *shrugs* whatyagonnado? about it all. She loses her lover over the intruder, but she also is working to get her back, so we’ll see how that goes, and the intern is a bit overwhelmed by the weird world that Janie lives in, and the rich douchebag from the first arc is back (and seemingly getting involved with them, but maybe not?), and there is, after all, a mystery to solve, but it’s … not exactly inconsequential, not that, but … somehow not as important as the relationships between the characters? I mean, it feels more important that Janie figures out how to help her intern that figure out why the intruder is in her house. They’re both important plot threads, certainly, but it feels like Palicki is more concerned with showing us how people deal with this weird world than what actually happens in it. I doubt if I’m making much sense, but that’s ok – this is just a pretty cool detective book that happens to star werewolves and genies and demons and witches. Cavalcanti’s rough, black-and-white art is very good, perfect for the noir vibe of the book, and after ten issues, we have a decent handle on the main characters and I, at least, would like to spend more time with them. I’m looking forward to volume 3!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

You think?

The Cull #1-5 by Kelly Thompson (writer), Mattia De Iulis (artist), Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (letterer), and Charles Beacham (editor). $19.95, 123 pgs, Image.

Kelly’s story about teens who kind-of, sort-of accidentally unleash Armageddon on the world is well done, which is not surprising, and while De Iulis’s technically precise but somewhat cold-feeling digital artwork takes some getting used to, there’s no doubt that it works well for the bizarre world the teens stumble upon, as that world feels beautiful and perfect but definitely creepy, and De Iulis does well with it. It ends on a cliffhanger, and I certainly hope there’s more.

However … I’d like to say that as I get older, things about fiction bug me more and more, but I was bugged by this stuff when I was young, so that’s not it. Kelly is good enough that her dialogue and characterization covers up some of the dumb things that happen in the plot, but they’re still there. In the second issue, after our group of five intrepid teens have stumbled into an alternate world looking for a missing person, a world that is beautiful, yes, but could still be full of hidden danger, one of the group suggests to another of the group that they should have sex. No preamble, no foreplay, just “Let’s bone, yo.” She justifies this by saying that they’re facing imminent death and neither should die a virgin, but, I don’t know, if you’re facing imminent death, perhaps you should keep your fucking wits about you instead of letting your hormones take over?!?!? Anyway, that’s just one stupid thing. The entire premise of the book bothers me, because the protagonist, Cleo, is trying to find her brother, who disappeared a while ago. Ok, fine. She discovers this weird alternate world and goes in, and the others follow because they’re her friends. Again, fine. But it seems like Cleo, despite having these friends, really hasn’t processed her brother’s disappearance, and this search is just a way to ignore that. Obviously, this is a comic, and I imagine we’ll see Cleo’s brother again (I mean, we do, sort of, but not really … just read the comic!) because the plot dictates it, but I’m always bothered by characters who would otherwise be in touch with their feelings ignoring those feelings for the benefit of the plot. Cleo, it seems, has not talked about this much with anyone, and the other characters appear broken in some ways as well, so it makes some sense, I guess, but it just feels … off. It feels like someone would definitely have confronted her about this by now, but because we have to get to the alternate world quickly, we lose some of that foundational stuff with regard to these friendships that would let us know why Cleo is still so wrecked about it. I don’t think I’m explaining it very well, and maybe I can’t, but I think most of us have seen some tragedy in our lives, and it seems like in this day and age, it’s far more acceptable to talk about it than it used to be, and it seems like someone – anyone! – would have gotten Cleo some help before this. That they haven’t seems like the real tragedy, but it’s ignored so the kids can wander off to Neverland or Oz or wherever the heck they are. It seems wrong, somehow.

Kelly’s comics always make me think, though. I dig that.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

That’s not something you want to hear!

DC’s How To Lose a Guy Gardner in 10 Days by several creators. $9.99, 80 pgs, DC.

As you know, I love these DC “holiday” anthologies, because DC usually gets some good talent on them and they’re full of lightweight but fairly decent stories, and I can see where we are in DC’s current continuity without investing too much in it. (I don’t care all that much about the status of the DCU – or the Marvel U – but it’s still kind of fun to check in. Of course, I know that some of these stories don’t reflect current continuity at all, but still.) This one is much like the others – enjoyable but largely inconsequential, with a lot of nice art. Vicki Vale dates Guy Gardner for a feature in her … magazine? newspaper? on-line gossip site?, and it turns out he’s kind of a douchebag. HOWEVER, in a shocking twist, he’s not quite as huge a douchebag as Vicki thinks, and they form a bit of a friendship. AWWWW!!!! Next, Red Tornado is stuck on JLA monitor duty on V-Day because he’s a silly robot who has no one to love! HOWEVER, in a shocking twist, it turns out he actually might have someone to love! AWWWW!!!! The goofiest story, perhaps, is Booster Gold going back in time to fix a dude’s first date because the dude gave Booster’s dating app such a bad review it will tank it. It’s silly but fun. Barry Allen’s first date with Iris is the focus of the next story, as he also keeps going back in time to fix it and keeps making it worse. The John Constantine story, which features Young John and his buddy, Gaz (who, of course, years later he screwed over), pisses me off because I learned that John’s sister is dead, which I think I already knew but had forgotten, and it annoys me. I wish DC editorial would say to writers that two people in John’s life are sacrosanct: his sister and Chas. But no, Cheryl’s dead. Chas probably is too, but who the hell knows anymore? The Plastic Man story is about our hero dating the wrong type of woman and crying about it to a super-cute waitress. I wonder what happens there?!?!?!? In the next story, everyone is asking Wonder Woman out on a date for Valentine’s Day, so she accepts them all and gets all the people in one place, where they find out they dig some of the other people there! Finally, Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon go on a date, and bad guys intervene. Of course they do! None of these stories are life-changing, but they are fun, and the art is nice, and I just enjoy them. That’s all there is to say!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Insurance – it never works like it should!

EC Archives: Weird Science volume 3 by several creators. $19.99, 214 pgs, Dark Horse.

I’m just thinking about EC’s early 1950s output and how weird it was. All anthology titles, and a stable of artists (with fewer writers), all of whom hadn’t been in the business for too, too long, but long enough to be established, and almost all of whom are considered legends today. Can you imagine if Marvel or DC did something like the EC model for, I don’t know, six months? Six months of anthology titles with about 5-10 artists doing short stories, with writers doing weird crime, horror, and sci-fi stories. And not new artists, either – established artists who might not be absolute legends, but who have been around long enough to be considered near the top of their game. So not some of the artists featured in DC’s Valentine’s Day issue, from above, but that one has Marguerite Sauvage, who’s the kind of artist I’m talking about – she’s very good, has done a lot of work, but isn’t at the end of her career and isn’t considered an all-time great. How weird would that be? I would love it if DC or Marvel did something like that, just to see what they would come up with. Put all your regular books on hiatus and do six months of 6-8 anthology titles, and see what happens. I know it would fail spectacularly, but it would be pretty cool.

I don’t get all of these collections (I should, but I don’t), but I got this because of one reason: there are a lot of Wallace Wood stories in this, even though I have many of them in other collections. He has the lead story in each issue, plus an extra one in the first issue, so that’s nice. Al Williamson has four stories (one with frequent collaborator Roy Krenkel), which is also nice, and Kamen, Orlando, Elder, and Check round out the art stable. These collections are always fun to check out for the art and the stories are usually pretty good. Six issues, six total artists (seven if we count Krenkel, who might have just inked Williamson but also might have drawn some things, as Williamson, Krenkel, Torres, and Frazetta often did that for each other) – Marvel and DC could handle that for a few months!!!!

Rating: Awesome

One totally Airwolf panel:

Yeah, that’s a pickle

Grim volume 3: Lust for Life by Stephanie Phillips (writer), Flaviano (artist), Rico Renzi (colorist), Tom Napolitano (letterer), and Elizabeth Brei (editor). $14.99, 107 pgs, Boom! Studios.

Volume 3 of Grim is better than volume 2, mainly because it’s more focused. It felt as if Phillips was a bit surprised that Boom! gave her more than the first arc, and so she came up with some cool shit that didn’t really cohere too well until this volume, when things get back to more like volume 1. Or maybe it’s something else entirely, but this is still better than volume 2, confound it! Last time, Jessica and Eddie lost Marcel in Hell, so they went to try to get him back, and this volume deals with what’s happening to them there, while a new threat comes to the fore, one that does not get dealt with here but presumably will be the major threat in the next arc. This arc is more about Jessica, Eddie, and Marcel coming to terms with themselves – Marcel gets an entire issue to himself, which is nice for him – and how they can become stronger through adversity. The major villain is fairly interesting, too, so it will be neat to see where Phillips goes with it. This continues to be a cool adventure story, and Flaviano continues to kill it on the art. I thought I saw somewhere that this was the final volume, but maybe it’s a good-selling book, because we’re getting at least one more!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Yeah, those guys suck

Heat Seeker: A Gun Honey Series by Charles Ardai (writer), Ace Continuado (penciller), Jose Zapata (inker), Asifur Rahman (colorist), and David Leach (letterer). $17.99, 88 pgs, Titan Comics.

I love this whole “Gun Honey” universe Ardai is creating, because the comics aren’t great by any means, but they are glorious, trashy fun. There’s nothing edifying about them, but who really cares – Ardai wants to write stories about buxom, hot women who kick all kinds of ass, and so he does! There are, I kid you not, three different full-page splashes of naked women lying in bed in this book, usually engaged in sexytimes with each other, and that’s the kind of sleazy adventure comic I can get behind! In this series, the star of the regular series, Joanna Tan, is on the run (as she is at the end of the second volume of the regular series), and she hires a woman named Dahlia to throw her pursuers off the track, because that’s what Dahlia does. This series is about Dahlia’s adventures doing just that, as she makes herself the target of a top-notch assassin so that Joanna can get away, and the entire book is about Dahlia’s efforts to fool the assassin. It’s a very fun cat-and-mouse game, with disguises and tricks and double-tricks and fake corpses and real corpses and all sorts of weirdness, plus the aforementioned nudity, which is plentiful. Dahlia knows magic, so she’s very good at misdirection, but the assassin is very good at not falling for misdirection, so the book is a game of one-up-manship, and it’s fun because it never becomes overly complicated even with all the fake-outs. Continuado gets to draw a lot of nekkid women, but he does a good job keeping all the hotties looking unique, so that we’re never confused about who’s who, which in a book with a lot of people going around in disguise is a good thing. These comics, I stress, are Bad For You™. But they’re fun as all heck!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

It’s all about nekkid people and guns!

The Jam Urban Adventure: Beginnings by Bernie Mireault (writer/artist). $20.00, 158 pgs, About Comics.

Mireault’s early work from the 1980s (and 1990s, but it’s part of the 1980s black-and-white indie scene), has been a particular white whale for me for decades, ever since Matt Wagner extolled Mireault’s virtues in Grendel and since Mireault drew the Best Riddler Story Ever™ in Secret Origins Special #1 from 1989. Mireault is a fine artist, one to whom Tim Sale probably owed his career (there’s a LOT of Mireault in Sale), and I’ve been wanting to read The Jam almost since I began reading comics. Now I have, and while it can’t possibly live up to the hype in my head (actually, I didn’t really hype it too much in my head, but I was just so curious about it), it’s still a very cool comic, so there’s that. Mireault gives us a weird, slacker vigilante named Gordon Kirby, who calls himself “the Jammer,” wears a very homemade costume, and wanders around the city looking for crime to thwart, but he’s also very interested in chilling with his girlfriend and eating pizza. The early part of the book has several short adventures, as he appeared in some anthology issues, but then we get to the main, five-issue mini-series, which is almost too weird to describe. There’s a sheik, and a doomsday cult, and … let’s see … oh, yes, Satan. A kind of bumbling, inept Satan who, for some reason, wants to destroy our hero (I mean, he’s Satan, so of course he does, but why Gordon?), but still. Mireault does a very good job balancing the inherent weirdness of superhero stories with some very nice slice-of-life storytelling – Gordon and Janet have a charming relationship, Gordon doesn’t want to work for the mysterious lady who offers him a job, but he needs the money, Gordon subcontracts out some of his vigilante work to others, because why wouldn’t he? – and the book has a nice, casual feel … when the doomsday cult isn’t causing trouble, that is. Gordon and Janet hang out, watch bands at their local bar, and act kooky around each other like two people in love do. Gordon loses his vigilante costume and doesn’t feel terribly anxious to get it back (although he does). It’s a weird book, certainly, but it’s still pretty keen.

Mireault’s art is terrific, which isn’t too surprising (although he was only in his mid-20s when he started drawing it, so perhaps it is a bit surprising that he’s this good already). His city is gritty and often noir-ish, but it’s not depressing – Gordon and Janet and the others live fairly happily in it, but it’s still a bit grungy, and Mireault does a nice job giving us a good sense of it. His characters range from the “normal” – Gordon, Janet, Jane Marble – to the utterly bizarre – Rasha, the leader of the cult – and he gives each of them their own, interesting personalities, so even the weirdest characters feel like real people – despite the raging of the cultists, they still like to watch a good movie and eat some pizza now and then. Mireault uses precise hatching to add depth to his characters, and his use of spot blacks and his knowledge about when to drop holding lines is on point, as it tempers some of the goofiness of the characters and makes the book a bit more noir. It’s an excellent blend of the humorous and the serious, which matches the tone of the writing. It’s very impressive to see how good Mireault is at storytelling so early in his career.

This a neat comic from a creator who doesn’t get nearly as much credit as he should in the comics world. Mireault hasn’t done a ton of comics work, which is probably why he’s not more lauded, but this is a good place to start if you’re interested in checking his work out.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:


Moon Knight: City of the Dead by David Pepose (writer), Marcelo Ferreira (penciler), Sean Damien Hill (penciler), Jay Leisten (inker), Rachelle Rosenberg (colorist), Fer Sifuentes-Sujo (colorist), Cory Petit (letterer), and Jennifer Grünwald (collection editor). $17.99, 110 pgs, Marvel.

The construction of comic books is fascinating to me, because DC and Marvel are still so locked into the 20-page, 5-6-issue arc structure that, if you want to write a decent adventure, it seems like you need to pace it the same way all the time, and it turns out like this Moon Knight story, which is perfectly fine but feels a bit perfunctory. You get the opening salvo, which is a bit action set piece, and then there’s some time to recover from that and figure out What’s Going On. Then the hero decides on a Course Of Action and takes it, usually ending the first issue by coming up against some bad guys. Usually these are not the main bad guys, but they usually show up by the end of issue #2. Then, of course, the hero is defeated for a bit, down on his/her luck, seemingly crushed, usually because of the Dark Event In Their Past, which is always present but which the hero never sufficiently deals with even though every writer brings it up. By the end of issue #3 or 4, the hero is usually Presumed Dead, and the bad guy cackles because his/her Evil Plan is ready to be Put In Motion and there’s Nobody To Stop It. But, of course, the hero overcomes the Dark Event In Their Past and returns, and he and his allies Save The Day. It’s kind of frustrating, because you can just plot out almost every superhero epic in this way. I mean, you’d think Batman, by this point, wouldn’t be reduced to a whimpering pile when he’s reminded that, oh yeah, his parents got shot, but every writer uses that event to turn him into one. Moon Knight has had years to deal with his guilt about being a mercenary and his guilt over killing his brother, but nope, both things get to him in this book. It’s not a bad comic by any means, but it does feel a bit rote.

Meanwhile, there’s an inker! I miss inkers, because a good inker can unify art nicely, and Leisten is a pretty good inker. Ferreira and Hill have similar styles (Hill only draws issue #3), but Leisten does a nice job, it seems, making Hill’s slightly rougher lines conform to the overall vibe of Ferreira’s art. I like Ferreira’s art quite a bit, and he lays out pages in interesting ways, which is good given that Moon Knight is in a place that can change based on your perception of it. I miss inkers, is all I’m saying.

I’m not sure if this is a necessary comic – the kid in it could be important in the main story going forward, or we could never see him again – but it’s decent enough. I just wonder if writers do this because they know that’s what Marvel wants, or Marvel tells them to do it this way. It’s a bit frustrating.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Sucks to be you, I guess

Peacemaker Tries Hard by Kyle Starks (writer), Steve Pugh (artist), Jordie Bellaire (colorist), Becca Carey (letterer), and Matthew Levine (collection editor). $24.99, 131 pgs, DC.

Starks is really channeling Mark Russell in this book, although it’s possible I’m linking this to, say, The Flintstones simply because Pugh drew both books. I don’t think so, though – Starks has done humorous stuff in the past, but in this, he’s really leaning more into the biting satire that has been Russell’s stock in trade for a while, especially when it comes to the vague “superhero culture” of the DCU and Marvel U. Peacemaker is ridiculous in these recent incarnations (he wasn’t always, of course), because creators have figured out that his desire to kill for peace is kind of ridiculous, and Jon Cena’s portrayal of him has become the default, so Starks runs with that. This is a fairly inconsequential story, but that’s what makes it so fun – Starks takes the ludicrously high stakes of superhero stories and lowers them considerably but still has the characters act as if they’re high, and the incongruity is what makes the book work. I mean, the Red Bee has PTSD flashbacks to World War II, and as depressing as those are, they’re still a cliché that Starks uses to his advantage. Peacemaker’s terrible self-esteem (masked by a manic-but-false high self-esteem) could be a serious mental health problem, but in this book, it’s played both for pathos and laughs, and Starks walks that fine line pretty well. And Starks uses the weird characters of the DCU well – Snowflame makes an appearance, and the very fact that Starks didn’t create him just for this comic shows the wild and bizarre possibilities of mining DC’s history. Pugh is terrific, as always – we’re probably not getting another series from him in his glorious, full-digital-paints style, which is too bad, but he’s a very good “traditional” artist, too, so this is just a fun book to look at. I don’t know if DC will ever bring out a softcover trade, because they seem to pooh-pooh that sort of thing these days, but the hardcover is a nice package and only a dollar more than if you bought the single issues. Which is nice.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

I mean, we’ve all been there

Rivers of London volume 8: Here Be Dragons by James Swallow (writer), José María Beroy (penciler), David Cabeza (inker), Jordi Escuin Llorach (colorist), Jim Campbell (letterer), Andrew Cartmel (script editor), and David Leach (editor). $17.99, 88 pgs, Titan Comics.

As always with this series, I just don’t have a lot to say about it. It’s entertaining and I enjoy reading each mini-series, but it’s also fairly forgettable. The art is slick and legible but not terribly brilliant, and we get a nice mystery full of supernatural weirdness like wyverns (don’t call them dragons!) and fairies and Jimi Hendrix, because why not? I just don’t have a ton to say about this, sorry. I like the series, but it’s just something that’s fun to read and has little impact on me otherwise. Damning with faint praise and all, I suppose, but I do keep buying them because they don’t let me down in terms of fun reading. Which is something.

Speaking of wyverns, does anyone remember “The Griffin and the Minor Canon”? It’s a 19th-century short story that I read when I was a child in a version illustrated by Maurice Sendak. It’s a bit darker in the original, although Sendak certainly didn’t believe in sugar-coating stuff for kids. I don’t know why it leapt into my mind while I was reading this – wyverns aren’t griffins, after all, but I think that the wyverns in this story are seemingly stone, as is the griffin in the story, made me think of it. It’s a cool story – read it here!

Anyway, Rivers of London. It’s fine.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

You don’t have to tell me twice!

Savage Sword of Conan #1 by various creators. $6.99, 77 pgs, Titan Comics.

There are a few ways to get me to buy single issues these days, and this book checks them all. It’s bigger (in dimensions) than usual, which is keen. It’s nice and long, and for not a terrible price point. It’s printed on rough newsprint, so the tactile nostalgia is strong in this sucker. And, of course, the stories have to be good, and they’re solid here. I get that Marvel and DC are locked into their silly publishing model, but I certainly wouldn’t mind them doing something different now and then, because I might actually go with it!

Anyway, Roy Thomas introduces the NEW SSoC, which Titan has revived with two comics stories and a short prose story by Jim Zub, plus an essay about Solomon Kane and some nice pin-ups. Honestly, the biggest problem I have with this is that the Solomon Kane story is “to be continued,” but I get that they want to lure people back if they just happened to pick this up because they thought it would be fun (it might work; I’m pretty sure I’ll get issue #2). The Kane story is about a strange monster in Wales, drawn beautifully by Patrick Zircher and written by … hey, Patrick Zircher! Good for him! Meanwhile, in the lead story, John Arcudi tells a story about Conan in the East, basically the Eurasian steppes east of the Caspian Sea (not that the Caspian exists in Conan’s world, but that’s where he is), as he’s leading the army of a prince trying to reconquer his homeland after his brother threw him out. Of course, not much is as it seems, and Conan’s innate sense of decency gets him in trouble, and there’s a hot babe who helps Conan out, and … well, there are dinosaurs. Good times! The only problem I really have with the story is that Max von Fafner’s art, while generally pretty good, occasionally relies on digital graphics a bit too much, and with the rough newsprint and the black-and-white … ness of the whole thing, it looks off a bit. I wish he had just drawn the stuff instead of relying on Photoshop or whatever tool he used. It’s not terrible, because it doesn’t happen too often, but when it does, it just looks weird.

So, this is a nice package for 7 bucks. It’s scratching a nice nostalgic itch … for the good ol’ days before I even bought comics. Weird how nostalgia works!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

I suspect he’ll survive

Sins of the Salton Sea by Ed Brisson (writer), C.P. Smith (artist), and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (letterer). $12.99, 101 pgs, AWA Studios.

I don’t want to spoil this, because it’s pretty keen and it doesn’t exactly go where you might expect, so I don’t know if I’m going to write much about it. I was expecting a crime story, because Brisson has made his bones in that genre, and it begins that way, with a dude named Wyatt, working in a diner in the ass-crack of nowhere, getting a visit from his brother, who runs a heist crew and needs his brothers help for the proverbial One Last Job™. Wyatt had a bad experience in his past and has been living off the grid, and Jasper – his bro – respects that, but he needs Wyatt’s expertise in explosives to take out an armored van. So far, so normal. The job happens very early on in issue #1, so this book isn’t about the heist, but what happens afterward. It goes pear-shaped very quickly, it seems that Wyatt is the only survivor, and the cargo isn’t valuables, it’s a woman and her son, who are trying to escape a Doomsday cult. The cult leader, Cecil, is a super-rich dude who takes the cult very seriously, and he’s very keen on getting the two escapees back. Wyatt wants nothing to do with them, but of course, the cultists come after him, and so he’s forced into helping. Things then start to get a bit weird.

As you might know, I dig stories that might be fantastical but attempt to look at the fantastical logically. That’s one reason I dig books like Astro City, which wonders what it would be actually like to live in a world with superheroes. Brisson has a weird cult at the center of his story, but he also wonders what would happen if the cult was led by a dude who was more practical than you might expect and wasn’t necessarily completely evil. Cecil does horrible things, but he has his reasons, and they become more interesting as the book goes along and we learn more about him. Wyatt, naturally, becomes the hero, but he’s also not completely in the right when he decides to do what he does. I don’t want to say too much more, but the book is far more complex and fascinating than a simple heist story. Brisson takes a very famous superhero ethical dilemma – even telling you what it is might be too much of a spoiler! – and thinks about its ramifications in a grungy world where superpowers don’t exist. It’s very well done, and it’s a conundrum with no easy answers.

I’ve never loved Smith’s art, but he’s pretty good on this book. His linework is a bit less heavy-handed than it’s been in the past, and his used of photographs and other media to create the environment works better, too, and I don’t know if technology has gotten better or his coloring skills have gotten better, but it’s probably both. I don’t mind mixed media in my comics as long as they’re integrated well, and this desert world of the book – it takes place primarily in eastern California and Arizona – is suited to a flat, dull landscape, and Smith brings that in pretty well. The artificiality of some of the backgrounds is, it feels, a bit deliberate, keeping with the overall tone of the book and even the way the desert can look as you cross it – believe me, it tends to blur together after a while. So the book looks pretty good, too.

The book is set around the Salton Sea for a good reason, but the Salton Sea has always weirded me out ever since I first heard of it. Brisson gives a bit of the backstory at the back of the comic, and it’s just a bizarre circumstance that almost perfectly encapsulates how men have so thoroughly fucked this world. Has anyone ever been to the Salton Sea? Is it as weird a place as it seems?

This is a very cool, somewhat disturbing comic. Fun!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

I mean, maybe that’s how HE makes money!

Weird Work by Jordan Thomas (writer), Shaky Kane (artist), Letter Squids (letterer), Nathan Kempf (letterer), and Frank Cvetkovic (letterer). $14.99, 109 pgs, Image.

This ended up as #44 on the CBR best-of-2023 list, and I don’t quite get it. It’s not a bad comic at all, and Kane’s art certainly raises it in my estimation, but … it’s just a detective story. It’s called “Weird” Work, but there’s almost nothing weird about it. We have an old, grizzled veteran teamed up with a brash up-and-comer to solve the murder of the vet’s partner, who was probably dirty but didn’t deserve to die how he did. There are crime bosses, rich dudes who are probably involved in crime but are smart enough to stay out of it personally, a crusty police boss who may or may not be involved … you know the drill! Again, this does not make this a bad comic – it’s pretty well done – but I don’t know what distinguishes this from, say, any other crime story out there. Sins of the Salton Sea, which also came out last year, is far better, but it doesn’t have Kane’s wacky, Day-Glo artwork, so it gets left behind. I mean, yes, Kane’s art is great, and his characters are weird, and his city – Stellar City – is bizarre, but is that enough? Those people out there who think the story is more important than the art might accuse me of backtracking because I think the art is more important than the story, but story does count, and Kane’s art does make this better than if someone less talented had drawn it, but it doesn’t paper up the generic nature of the story. It’s fine, but just fine. I’m just confused as to why it got so much love from the critics. (Even Brian’s write-up on the CBR list basically say, “Yeah, this is a generic cop story, but it’s drawn by Kane, so it’s cool.” Again, fine, but #44?)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

They should arm ALL babies!

The Witches of World War II by Paul Cornell (writer), Valeria Burzo (artist), Jordie Bellaire (colorist), Simon Bowland (letterer), and Sebastian Girner (editor). $16.99, 144 pgs, TKO Studios.

This collection smells good. Well, not exactly good, but interesting. Most modern comics have no discernible smell, or if they do, it’s completely inoffensive, but this book, with its thick, rougher paper stock, smells like a proper comic. Never underestimate a good-smelling comic book!

Cornell gives us five key figures in the development of modern witchcraft, all of whom knew each other at some point in their lives but none of whom, it seems, knew each other during the Second World War, and puts them together in 1941 to form an intelligence unit. Because of course! It’s a good hook – the British government knows that the Nazis are into all the occult shit, so they get people who may or may not be witches and may or may not believe in such shit to figure out ways to freak out the Nazis with witchcraft … which they may or may not be using. There’s nothing really supernatural about the story – whenever something vaguely supernatural comes up, Cornell has the characters explain it – although it’s clever that Cornell has Aleister Crowley act like he’s actually supernatural all the time, so it’s occasionally hard to see through his schtick. The leader of the group, Doreen Dominy (who was later better known as Doreen Valiente), brings them together, and Cornell does a nice job giving us some of her backstory (the biggest event in which is real) and why she’s so good at her job. The group is able to bring down an occult group of highborn Brits who are collaborating with the Nazis, and then they’re sent to Germany to hang out with Rudolf Hess. Cornell has always been a good writer, so he does a good job building the tension, keeping us on our toes as to who’s a good guy and who’s a bad guy, and making sure when he puts the characters in peril, the way they get out is conceivable (I didn’t know any of the people except Crowley, but they all survived the war, so it’s not really a question of whether they’re going to live or not). Burzo’s art is nothing spectacular, but it doesn’t have to be – it’s just good and solid. I imagine that Doreen’s hair, which you see on the cover, really did look like that, as ridiculous as it is, and Burzo has some fun with that.

This is a nice, weird spy caper, and Cornell has some fun with it. Plus, it smells good!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Truth BOMB!!!!


The Chelsea Detective season 1 (Acorn TV/Sundance). This is another fun British cop drama, with Adrian Scarborough leading a team of detectives in Chelsea, which means there’s a bit of location porn in the proceedings as murders are committed and solved. Sonita Henry is his second-in-command (sadly, it does not appear she’s in the second season, which is too bad because she does a good job and it seems like they had plans for her character), and Anamaria Marinca plays his estranged wife, whom he still digs and seems to still dig him, but for some reason they’re not together anymore (I mean, the reason is “he’s a cop,” but he doesn’t seem very “American” about his job … as in, crazy obsessed with it to the detriment of his personal life). The murders are interesting and a bit twisty, and all’s well that ends well. With this site re-running Greg’s columns about “comfort food” a few weeks ago, this kind of story comes to mind. I like a good cop drama, and if we get some interesting characters with actors who work well together, that’s grand. There’s not much to say about this show except that it’s a nice thing to watch.

Echo season 1 (Disney+). Disney’s/Marvel’s first “R-rated” series doesn’t really need to be R-rated – it’s more violent than your usual Marvel series, but not excessively so, and it didn’t need to be, there’s a tiny bit of swearing, but again, nothing too bad, and there’s no nudity/sex. So why make it “R-rated”? Beats me. It’s a bit of a wonky series, a bit too short (only 5 episodes), with a bit of an identity crisis – it wants to have a bunch of action, of course, because it’s a Marvel show, but it also wants to be a family drama and a story about legacy, and it doesn’t quite work as any of those things. There are some good things in it, of course – most of it takes place in Oklahoma, and it has a nice, rural feel to it while still being connected to Wilson Fisk (the octopus-like reach of Fisk even to Oklahoma is a pretty nifty part of the story), the cast is quite good, and it’s nice that the stakes are relatively low – but it never quite coheres. Alaqua Cox is fine as Echo, although she fades a bit when she goes up against people like D’Onofrio, Tantoo Cardinal, and Graham Greene. No shame in that, but it’s still a thing. D’Onofrio is weird, as always – his Kingpin shouldn’t work, because he embodies him so awkwardly, but he still does, and it’s very cool to watch him work. I didn’t love that they came up with a different reason for her to be called “Echo” – the comics explanation was goofy (and, of course, too much like Taskmaster), but it didn’t rely on weird supernatural stuff, which this does. There’s also the point that Echo is a bad guy, basically, and they don’t quite thread the needle with making the audience want her to succeed with what she’s doing when she’s kind of a jerk. At least I didn’t think they did. Still, it’s a decent show, and it will be interesting to see where Marvel is going with it, especially with Fisk.

I do have a question, and while this might not be the place, what the hell. Of course, it’s certainly nice that most of the cast is Native American, but I’m curious about the casting. None of the main cast, it seems, are Choctaw, and in a world where we don’t want … I don’t know, a white person of, say, Swedish background playing a Mexican person (even if the Mexican person has light skin), what’s the thinking on Natives playing people from different tribes? Is the distinction too fine? I honestly don’t know, but it does seem like we’re trying really hard to make sure that people playing, say, a deaf woman with a prosthetic leg are actually deaf people with prosthetic legs (Cox is both deaf and has a prosthetic leg), so I’m not sure about the “that guy’s not Choctaw” thing. I’m always trying to learn, people, so I’m not asking to be a jerk, I’m just curious. Personally, I don’t care – I could watch an hour of Graham Greene and Tantoo Cardinal chatting with each other and not care if they’re Choctaw or not, but I am curious.

Fleabag seasons 1 and 2 (Amazon Prime). We finally got around to watching this critically acclaimed show, and … I’m not going to critically acclaim it. It’s pretty good, but man! the accolades seem a bit over the top, don’t they? I loathed “Fleabag” – Phoebe Waller-Bridge, whose character never gets a name – after a couple of episodes, and that tended to color my appreciation of the show, although it did get better once they stopped making her fuck anything that moved. The second “series,” in which she falls in love with a priest (played by Andrew “Moriarty” Scott), is far superior (although it would have been better if they hadn’t had sex, but whatever), as Waller-Bridge is far more interesting as a quasi-success (which she is in the second season) than as a train wreck (which she is in the first season). She’s still a bit of a train wreck in season 2, but not as much, and it’s just a more interesting show. I’m not a huge fan of passive-aggressive “humor” anyway, and this show has it in spades – it works occasionally, but it’s fairly relentless, and it just gets to me. Waller-Bridge addresses the audience directly, which is fun, although they do something very intriguing with it in the second season that they never really pay off, which is annoying. I guess I’ve always been a person who’s not only gotten along fine with my family (I mean, we have blow-ups occasionally, but we do like spending time with each other and we never have nothing to talk about, so it’s not awkward being around them), but I’m also not someone who stays in bad situations, so the fact that “Fleabag” (half the cast, it seems, never get names, including Waller-Bridge, her father, her father’s new wife, and the priest) is not only in not a great place with her family but also continues to see them doesn’t make sense to me. She doesn’t have many friends (her best friend, with whom she started her business, is dead at the beginning of the show, and what happened with her forms the emotional fulcrum of the first season), so she spends time with her sister (who is played brilliantly by Sian Clifford), so that’s a thing, but it still doesn’t mean she has to actively seek out time with her father and quasi-stepmom (they don’t get married until the final episode of the show, but they’ve been together a while). The cast is very good – Olivia Colman as the stepmom is superb, and Fiona Shaw as a therapist and Kristin Scott Thomas as a businesswoman who hangs out with “Fleabag” in a bar for a while are both terrific – and the show is often very funny, but I don’t love it as much as, I guess, a lot of people. It’s still a pretty good show.

True Detective season 4 (HBO). I loved the first season of this show, even though it ended messily, but I skipped seasons 2 and 3 because I heard they were garbage. Jodie Foster headlining this season got me back into it, and … well, despite the lack of series creator Nic Pizzolatto (who apparently was not a fan of this season), it’s still a mess, although it’s also fairly compelling. Writer/director Issa López sets this in a small Alaskan town during the winter, and I missed some of the links to the first season even before a character says that time is a flat circle in the final episode (and López, probably unknowingly, rips off From Hell in the same episode), but it’s a pretty good mystery that is a bit too short – six episodes instead of eight, which means there’s a bit of cramming in the final episode. Foster and Kali Reis play cops who were once partners, but a bad case in their past drove them apart, but now they’re back together on a weird one. At a research station outside of town, every scientist disappears, and all but one are later found out on the ice, frozen. One survives for a bit, but the missing scientist becomes the prime suspect. They find a tongue at the site, which belongs to a murdered indigenous woman from a few years earlier – a case that was never solved. It’s unclear if the scientists were even murdered, but it’s clear that Foster’s boss – an almost unrecognizable Christopher Eccleston – is in cahoots with a mine executive, who happens to be the richest person around – to shut the investigation down, or at least take it out of Foster’s and Reis’s obsessive hands and give it to someone who will be less inclined to dig into what’s going on at the station and the mine (which are obviously linked, but how?). Of course, all sorts of supernatural stuff seems to be going on – Reis’s sister sees things, Reis might be seeing ghosts, Foster is haunted by a tragedy in her past, the dead indigenous woman might be stalking the land – you know the drill! Now, in terms of atmosphere, the show is amazing – López makes great use of the (Icelandic) landscape, and the show feels like a horror movie quite a lot without going too far into that territory. Foster and Reis are very good, as is Finn Bennett as Foster’s protégé, who’s also the only cop who seems to know how to investigate a murder correctly. John Hawkes shows up as Bennett’s dad, playing a cop who is not very good at his job and is probably wildly corrupt, and Fiona Shaw (her again?) is excellent as usual as a woman who had a “normal” life back in the real world but decided to move to Alaska and is now very much the kind of person you want on your side. The show delves into the treatment of women, especially Native women, as well as the issues with environmental problems in a place where the polluter is the only meaningful employer in an area, but it also packs a bit too much into the show and wraps everything up in the final episode either too quickly or not at all. The police work is amazingly shoddy, too – Foster and Reis could have solved the mystery far more easily than they do, it seems, just by being as thorough in their part of the investigation as Bennett is in his. I get that you don’t want to make a mystery too convoluted, but if you make it too easy, then the fact that it takes your “genius” detectives so long to solve it is annoying, because they should have done it sooner. Maybe I’m being too harsh, but even if you like the way they figure out the mystery, there are a lot of loose ends that are still dangling, and it might have been nice if this was seven or eight episodes (apparently HBO was fine with that, but López said she only needed six). Oh well. It’s not a bad show, overall.

Monsieur Spade (AMC). Sherlock Holmes isn’t the only olde-tyme detective that writers can work with, and so we get this show, in which an older Sam Spade is living in France in 1963, where he gets caught up in a missing persons plot with some weird murders thrown in to keep things spicy. Clive Owen plays Spade, very well (I’ve mentioned before that I’m not sure why Owen didn’t ever become a bigger star, but he’s a pretty good actor), as a dude who just wants to be left alone but shit keeps happening that draws him in. We discover in the prologue that he arrived in a small village in France with a youngster in tow, a girl he says is the daughter of Brigid O’Shaughnessy of The Maltese Falcon fame, who died a bit earlier but made arrangements for Sam to get her daughter to her father, who lives in town. The father turns out to be a prick, and a missing one at that, and Sam meets an attractive older lady with whom he falls in love. Cut to 8 years later, and Sam’s lover/wife is dead (cancer, it’s implied), he’s still living on her estate, the girl is living at a convent, and Sam has learned French and become an integral part of the village, co-owning a jazz club in town. He hears the girl’s father is back in town, but before he can do anything about it, all the nuns at the convent are brutally killed, and the girl – now an older teen played by Cara Bossom – is the only witness. She knows that the murderer – who is dressed like a monk – is looking for a boy, and Spade reluctantly begins investigating the boy, because the girl’s father is linked to him, too. It’s a nice, twisty mystery, with several people interested in the boy – the Catholic Church (represented a bit hilariously by Dean Winters, who works in the role partly because I’m sure someone told him to play it as a toned-down version of his “Mayhem” commercials), the British government (with two very British spies who are hilarious because they’re so British), his co-owner’s husband (who has a connection to the girl’s father), and the French right-wing group OAS, which is a bit peeved that France was losing Algeria at this time. The Algerian war, which no one in the States knows much about, is very much a big part of this show, as it was such a traumatic event for the French (even more so, it seems, than Dien Bien Phu) and the soldiers who fought in it, who were generally traumatized by fighting in a place they considered part of France and where the civilians were often in the line of fire (I mean, they have no justification for thinking it’s part of France – they invaded it, and only in 1830, so it’s not like it’s this long-standing historical homeland, but it’s still traumatic for them to be fighting there). Owen does a nice job evoking the hard-boiled private investigator without having a good noir setting in which to do it – so much of this show is sun-drenched, and even the nights don’t seem terribly menacing – and as he slowly comes to care a bit more about the girl and even others among whom he’s lived for several years, he does a good job showing how Spade softens a bit. It’s a gorgeous show – it was shot in France, and they make sure to really imbed us in the surroundings – and it’s a pretty keen mystery. The only small problem I have is the deus ex machina at the end, which isn’t too out of left field but is a bit convenient (and I won’t spoil who shows up, but that was, for me, a whole other annoying thing, despite the fact that the actor is terrific and has fun in the role). Overall, though, it’s a pretty neat show.


Here’s the money I spent in February!

7 February: $208.23
14 February: $102.71
21 February: $86.75
28 February: $129.12

Money spent in February: $526.81
(Feb. ’23: $325.60)
(Feb. ’22: $765.35)
(Feb. ’21: $679.20)
YTD: $956.21
(2023: $826.15)
(2022: $1531.21)
(2021: $1076.55)

The publishers from whom I bought comics:

Ablaze: 1 (1 graphic novel)
About Comics: 1 (1 “classic” reprint)
Abrams: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Ahoy: 1 (1 trade paperback)
Antarctic Press: 1 (1 trade paperback)
AWA: 1 (1 trade paperback)
Boom! Studios: 1 (1 trade paperback)
Clover Press: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Dark Horse: 3 (1 “classic” reprint, 2 single issues)
DC: 3 (2 single issues, 1 trade paperback)
Image: 3 (1 “classic” reprint, 1 single issue, 1 trade paperback)
Invader Comics: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Mad Cave Studios: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Marvel: 3 (1 “classic” reprint, 1 single issue, 1 trade paperback)
Penthouse: 1 (1 single issue)
SLG: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Titan Comics: 4 (1 graphic novel, 1 single issue, 2 trade paperbacks)
TKO Studios: 1 (1 trade paperback)
Viz Media: 2 (2 manga volumes)
A Wave Blue World: 1 (1 graphic novel)

4 “classic” reprints (9)
8 graphic novels (11)
2 manga volumes (2)
8 single issues (14)
10 trade paperbacks (17)

Here’s where we are so far this year:

Ablaze: 0 + 1 (1 graphic novel)
About Comics: 0 + 1 (1 “classic” reprint)
Abrams: 0 + 1 (1 graphic novel)
Ahoy: 0 + 1 (1 trade paperback)
Antarctic: 0 + 1 (1 trade paperback)
AWA: 0 + 1 (1 trade paperback)
Boom! Studios: 1 + 1 (1 “classic” reprint, 1 trade paperback)
Clover Press: 0 + 1 (1 graphic novel)
Dark Horse: 3 + 3 (3 “classic” reprints, 2 single issues, 1 trade paperback)
DC: 1 + 3 (3 single issues, 1 trade paperback)
Fairsquare Comics: 1 + 0 (1 trade paperback)
First: 1 + 0 (1 graphic novel)
First Second Books: 1 + 0 (1 graphic novel)
Image: 4 + 3 (1 “classic” reprint, 4 single issues, 2 trade paperbacks)
Invader Comics: 0 + 1 (1 graphic novel)
Mad Cave Studios: 2 + 1 (1 graphic novel, 2 trade paperbacks)
Marvel: 3 + 3 (3 “classic” reprints, 2 single issues, 1 trade paperbacks)
Oni Press: 1 + 0 (1 trade paperback)
Penthouse: 0 + 1 (1 single issue)
Scout: 1 + 0 (1 single issue)
SLG: 0 + 1 (1 graphic novel)
Titan Comics: 0 + 4 (1 graphic novel, 1 single issue, 2 trade paperbacks)
TKO Studios: 0 + 1 (1 trade paperback)
Top Shelf: 1 + 0 (1 graphic novel)
Vault: 1 + 0 (1 trade paperback)
Viz Media: 0 + 2 (2 manga volumes)
A Wave Blue World: 0 + 1 (1 graphic novel)


I don’t have much to ramble about this year; this post is already late, and I’d like to get it posted. I’ve been weirdly unmotivated most of this month, which is partly why it’s late, and I apologize if it’s not up to my usual standards, such as they are. I don’t know why I’m in a funk, but I am. It comes and goes, and it’s annoying, but what are you going to do? Things seem to be falling apart around here – you’ll notice that the Amazon links are gone, or at least the ones with the images, and I don’t know why, and today I couldn’t upload images to the latest Hatcher post, due tomorrow, because something is going on with the server and I don’t know what it is. Jim is the tech guru around here, but he’s busy in something called “the real world,” so I don’t know what’s going on. Anyone know anything about servers and their inability to “process” an image? So that’s bugging me. It just seems like entropy has taken hold over my life more than usual, in a variety of ways, and I don’t like it. But I’m working on it. We shall see how I feel next month.

Anyway, sorry to end on that note. They can’t all be upbeat! How is everyone? Read any good comics lately? See any good movies (I haven’t seen the second part of Dune yet, probably because I haven’t watched the first part of Dune yet!)? Or, if you’re Eric, attended any good concerts? I hope everyone is not in a funk like I am!


  1. conrad1970

    Greg, you hit the nail on the head regarding Savage sword. I was looking forward to it so much but unfortunately the art put me right off.
    It comes across as single images rather than sequential art in some places, if you get what I mean.
    Hopefully issue 2 will have a far stronger artist, the monthly Conan the Barbarian title has been excellent in that regard so far.

  2. Comic smells: I’ve noticed that certain Marvel trades printed at a certain facility have a weird diapery chemical smell in them that really bothers me. Though the Hulk trade I just got wasn’t too potent, so maybe they’re improving. I do have a copy of Witches of World War II somewhere here, so I will have to give it a sniff.

    Not only did I buy Peacemaker Tries Hard!, but I actually read it! And I thought it was great– very silly, occasionally very funny, with some charm and nice character work– especially all that stuff with the Red Bee. And it included a few of my favorite obscure DC characters. (The Demolition Team have shown up in like three books lately, after a lifetime of never having seen them in any comic except an issue of Who’s Who I had as a kid.) Plus, I thought the Pugh art was great. I’ve read a bunch of his stuff lately (since he keeps drawing Mark Russell books), and for whatever reason I think this was his best of his recent work!

    I have ordered the trade for The Cull. That art looks gorgeous.

    As for other recent comics I’ve read: The third and final volume of Superman vs. Meshi is even more ridiculous and endearing than previous volumes– (spoiler) Superman tries to Superman-II-amnesia-kiss Batman, Doomsday kills Superman but he’s resurrected by the smell of microwaved frozen dinners, etc.

    I still haven’t read all the Immortal Hulk trades I bought, but I really dug the first trade of the Phillip Kennedy Johnson/Nic Klein/Travel Foreman Incredible Hulk. It’s got a little bit of the Bixby/Ferrigno show, a lot of the Wein/Wrightson Swamp Thing, and per PKJ some Hellboy and other influences. Basically it’s a hard-travelin’-hero horror comic now, with some legit frights and violence beyond the “T+” rating on the cover. Awesome, scary Hulk transformation scenes and a lot of eldtrich monster action.

    Clobberin’ Time by Steve Skroce had some great cartooning and a Marvel Two-in-One spirit, but I don’t know if I loved the story, which I found to have an odd right-wing bent to it? Though I could be reading way too into it. First volume of Ryan North and company’s Fantastic Four was fun, comics the way mama used to make, with episodic science adventures. Over at DC, the latest paperback of Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo’s Nightwing continues to be an excellently-done superhero comic, and I am also digging Taylor’s Son of Kal-El in trade. From Image, I’m into Kaya by Wes Craig right now– vibrant, boldly illustrated apocalyptic fantasy in the Kamandi mold.

    Lastly, I finally tracked down a hardcover copy and read Wednesday Comics from years back. Like any anthology, a bit of a mixed bag, but it’s got a lot of great art in there, and some of the stories really take advantage of the Sunday-comic-strip style and one-page episodes.

    I thought this season of True Detective was solid, no better or worse than any other season. They’ve all been fine to me, even the first season everybody loved. I hadn’t seen Kali Reis before, but she has good presence and holds her own against Jodie Foster.

    I was digging Monsieur Spade, its dialogue, rhythms, and Clive Owen doing a hangdog Bogart sort of part, but I thought that last episode was a total dud. And it makes Sam Spade seem superfluous to his own series.

    I remember liking Fleabag season one, but don’t remember it too well, and never saw season two. But in general I’m a Waller-Bridge fan.

    I also still watch network TV, unlike everyone else on the internet. Loved that first episode of Elsbeth, which is another clever Columbo clone like Poker Face, but I will take all of those I can get. And, Todd help me, I’m digging So Help Me Todd. But mostly I’ve been catching up on Star Trek Discovery. Just finished season two. It’s enjoyable, though not without its faults. I really like Doug Jones as Saru.

    All my friends are Duneholics, but I am the holdout who did not like the first movie at all, so…

    1. Greg Burgas

      I agree with you about the smell of Marvel trades. The Moon Knight one isn’t unpleasant, so perhaps not as bad as the ones you’re talking about, but it’s more chemical-y that is nice.

      I haven’t read this latest Hulk, but I think I’m going to have to, because everyone seems to dig it.

      I thought I got Clobberin’ Time, but it hasn’t shown up yet at my store. Maybe I didn’t get it?

      You never read Wednesday Comics? Interesting. The newspaper format was very cool, so while I’m sure the hardcover is nifty, I wonder if it loses something in translation.

      I still like some network television. I DVR’ed Elsbeth, so I’ll watch it eventually. I wanted to watch So Help Me Todd but never got around to it, and it’s on Paramount +, which I don’t want to get, so who knows. I will say that I get old-school “A-Team” kind of vibes from Tracker (although it’s only one dude, so maybe Knight Rider?), which is very cool with me, so I’m enjoying that!

      I read about 100 pages of Dune some years ago and was bored to tears, so I’ve never read it. The movie looks neat, though, so I’m sure I’ll get around to it eventually!

      1. For whatever reason I didn’t buy the newspaper singles of Wednesday Comics when it came out, then the hardcover seemed pricey so I foolishly waited for a paperback that never came into existence (and would be a bookbinding challenge), then it fell out of print and got much pricier. I almost bought all the old singles but I was worried they’d disintegrate– plus the hardcover has two extra pages of filler strips that didn’t get used.

        Anyway, I finally found the hardcover for a good price and snagged it. It’s still a huge book, the tallest in my collection, but probably smaller dimensions than the newspaper. Pages seem the wrong dimension to take full advantage of the art– a lot of white space at the top and bottom. But it lays flat and is a lot of fun to pore over. If only it would fit on any shelf…

        I also finally completed the Herbie Archives this year, and snagged a missing Kirby hardcover. So I’ve nearly got all my holy grails. With all the recent omnibus announcements, fingers crossed for a 2001 A Space Odyssey reprint.

  3. Der

    This was a slow month for me, I didn’t get any comics and didn’t read that much(only a volume of the original Marvel Conan series, wich I like a lot and I’ll keep reading, but is something that I tire of if I read volume after volume. But if I read a issue here, then an issue a few days later it keeps me hooked.

    This month we watched a few movies:

    -Chicago: I hated this one. I think the plot was paper thin, I felt that the characters were really really unlikeable, the songs were really really boring(I forgot all the songs after we finished the movie) And for a moment I was thinking that I didn’t like musicals(wich is not true, because I liked Mamma Mia and love all the animated disney movies my kid likes to watch)

    -The summit of the gods: I remember that Greg mentioned this manga in the cbr, but I never got it. Well, the movie is pretty good, so maybe I’ll look for the manga again who knows.

    -John Wick Parabellum: We thought that this was the newest Wick movie finally on netflix, so we watched it. Around the five minute mark we started to say “waaait a minute. Have we watched this one before?” And yep, we watched this one a long time ago but whatever, still decent. Not the best(haven’t seen the fourth one) but not bad

    -Porco Rosso: One of the Studio Ghibli movies on netflix. It’s about dudes in seaplanes in Italy between WWI and WWII, except that one of the dudes was turned into a pig for some reason. Great comedy

    -Pom Poko: Other Studio Ghibli movie on netflix. This one is about magical racoons fighting to protect their forest from humans. The racoons use the powers of their magical testicles. Well, everything about them is magical, but man oh man, this is a weird movie. Great animation, but long(two hours, way longer compared to the 90 minutes of previous Ghibli movies) and lots of animated racoon scrotums on display. Weird movie

    Also we watched a show that is basically a musical and I loved it, so no, I don’t hate musicals, only the bad ones. Carole and Tuesday is basically about two girls meeting each other, making music and trying to get famous. Pretty good with decent songs, but I knew that I was going to like it because it was directed by the same dude that directed Cowboy bebop and so far he has never led me astray

    1. Greg Burgas

      I saw Chicago, but it left very little impression on me – I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t like it too much, either. Whatever!

      It’s been too long since I’ve seen any anime. Sigh. Not enough hours in the day!

    2. Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

      Carole and Tuesday is amazing!!!

      Sinichiro Watanabe is the best – and I would add that it’s not really a “musical,” per se, because all of the music is diagetic…and that’s a feature, not a flaw.

  4. Eric van Schaik

    I certainly saw some bands Greg 😉 Thanks for asking.

    2/2 Hackberry and Inhalo
    I got free tickets for his concert. Originally we didn’t want to go because of the festival we were going to visit the next day, but after ordering tickets for a concert of Caligula’s Horse in may I got an e-mail with tickets. It was a record company whose bands they were promoting. Both dutch bands were great, with instrumental band Hackbarry being my favorite.
    Shirt: yes, Hackberry had a nice one and I also bought the album and cd.

    2/3 Midwinter Prog Festival (with MEER, Temic, Lazuli, Spock’s Beard and Pain of Salvation)
    This was in my hometown Utrecht so we had a short trip. The day started with (for us) the best band of the day. We had seen Norwegian band MEER last year in Valkenburg and they didn’t dissapoint us.
    Temic was giving their very first concert ever so they were a bit nervous and timid. They shouldn’t be because most people liked the music. French band Lazuli had the mixing wrong so we couldn’t hear the vocals very good. The worst band of the day was American band Spock’s Beard. I think Alan Morse was drunk because he was playing complete other parts than the others and Ryo Okumoto thought he was god’s greatest gift. Not quite. Swedish band Pain of Salvation also had some problems with technology but in the end it was the perfect ending of a wonderful day. Tickets for next year were on sale and we bought them although we don’t know who’ll come. We have confidance. 🙂
    Shirt: yeah 4! The festival shirt, MEER shirt, Lazuli shirt and Pain of Salvation shirt.

    2/24 The Pineapple Thief
    My friend from Madrid gave me the advice to get tickets and he was right. Just 2 week prior I bought their latest album and I liked it very much. They played the complete album and a lot of other great songs.
    Shirt: yes, after such a good performance I wanted to thank them with my wallet. Apart from the shirt also 2 cd’s.

    We’ll see the second Dune movie this weekend. My wife saw the first one last year in the plane to Brasil and liked it enough for me to buy the blu-ray. We watch it this saturday so it will be fresh for me.

    Personally everything is going well. Finally a job for 40 hours, at the administration of a traveling agency called Buro Scanbrit, who are specialised in trips to… Scandinavia and Great-Brittain. In march I work 24 hours for them and 16 hours at the funeral home. In april it will only be at Scanbrit. In a way both are traveling company’s, 1 is a 1 way ticket and the other a return flight 😉

    Recently I saw an item on Jimmy Kimmel Live. They were interviewing Trump voters and told them quotes from Trump but said at first they were by Biden. You can guess the reaction. Then the interviewer discovered her “mistake” and asked them what they thought now. It was the complete opposit. It’s like watching monkeys in a zoo. The scary part is that these people will vote for a man the can’t be caught with saying something that is true.

    In Holland there is no new government in sight. After 3 months of talking 1 of the 4 party’s talking stepped out of the negotiations. It would be a miracle if some of the party’s can agree before the start of the summer…

    Did I buy any comics? No… 🙁

    1. Greg Burgas

      Always fun to read about your concert-going exploits, sir!

      Good to hear about the employment situation. It always eases the mind when things in that area aren’t stressful. I think it would be both neat and distressing to work in a funeral home.

      I try very hard not to be so partisan – if someone I like says something stupid, I don’t automatically try to justify it. I know both sides do that sort of thing, but recently, it really does seem that it’s tilted toward the Trumpist end of the spectrum. Frustrating.

      I just thought the Netherlands never needed a government – you just wind it up and it runs by itself! 🙂

  5. Terrible-D

    I am so close to finally reading The Jam. I have all the single issues, but am looking for the Special that collects the back ups from New Triumph, so I can start at the beginning.

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