Celebrating the Unpopular Arts
 

What I bought, read, watched, or otherwise consumed – September 2023

September was a weird month (I’ll write a bit about it below), so these reviews might be less than stellar. I apologize in advance!

COMICS

Batman: One Dark Knight by Jock (writer/artist), Clem Robins (letterer), and Chris Conroy (collection editor). $19.99, 140 pgs, DC/Black Label.

One night (one dark night?), Jock was sitting down to watch a double feature of The Warriors and Escape from New York, and he thought, You know, Batman would work great in either one of these stories, and he wasn’t wrong. That’s all this is: Batman needs to get a prisoner across Gotham during a blackout, and every gang in the city is either trying to free him or kill him. He’s not really an evil dude – he sucks energy from power sources, and if he gets too hot, things get bad, hence the blackout – and while it’s a bit unclear why most of the gangs want to kill him, it doesn’t really matter – this is just an excuse for Jock to draw a self-contained, cool Batman story, and he does a good job with it. It’s a thrilling adventure with a few small twists here and there, and it works well (plus, because it’s Black Label, a character gets to say “fuck,” which is nice). I do worry about Renee Montoya, though. At one point she’s in a dire situation and we cut away from her, and we never see her again. What the hell, Jock? Or, you know, what the fuck? I assume she’s fine, but it’s kind of darkly humorous that we never see what happens to her. I wanted an epilogue where Gordon, back in his study catching up on his TikToks, suddenly sits up straight and says, “Montoya!” before the smash cut to black, but whatever. It’s a fun Batman story. That’s all that matters, right?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Jock has reached the ‘McFarlane Level’ on the cape index!

Behold, Behemoth volume 1 by Tate Brombal (writer), Nick Robles (artist), AndWorld Design (letterer), and Ramiro Portnoy (editor). $17.99, 132 pgs, Boom! Studios.

This is a good comic about the apocalypse, which I usually don’t love, but because Brombal comes at it from both sides, as it were, giving us things from before the apocalypse and after, it makes it a bit more interesting, especially because it’s an unusual apocalypse. There’s a dude on a quest after the apocalypse, and he’s traveling with a young girl, and Pedro Pascal will play him in the show, sure, but why they’re together is fascinating, and when you throw in the giant monsters … well, it’s pretty keen. I don’t want to give too much away, but Greyson and Wren have a good relationship, as Greyson is trying to be a good role model for Wren but the apocalypse keeps getting in the way, and in the pre-apocalypse times, we see why he might not think he’s good role model material. Robles does really nice work with the art, too – the few “big monster” scenes are intense, and he does well with the characters, too. I dunno – this is a good apocalypse tale with enough twisting of the standard narrative to work well. I’m looking forward to more of it.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Dude can’t even enjoy a bath!

Bulls of Beacon Hill by Steve Orlando (writer), Andy MacDonald (artist), Lorenzo Scaramella (colorist), Carlos M. Mangual (letterer), Teodoro Leo (editor), and Mike Marts (editor). $17.99, 102 pgs, AfterShock.

This is a good little crime drama – nothing spectacular, just a crime boss who tries to kill his own son for … well, it’s unclear why, exactly, which is why the book doesn’t work as well as it could. Chris Boldt is the son of Orin Paige (he uses his mother’s maiden name), a Boston crime boss, and Chris is a successful surgeon and is planning a run for city council. He’s also gay, which never made his father happy, as you might expect. He denies the rumors that he’s Orin’s son, but the night before he’s going to announce his candidacy, Orin sends a crooked cop to kill him (the cop might actually be the best character in the book, which is strange). It’s never terribly clear why Orin wants to kill Chris – it seems like nobody really knows if it’s because he doesn’t want the attention that Chris’s family would get from a council run or if it’s because Chris is gay or if it’s because Chris denies that he’s Orin’s son – Orlando has everyone kind of dance around the reasons, and it’s a bit frustrating. Anyway, after surviving the initial attack (because Chris is a lot tougher than he lets on, as he hates the violent part of himself), he goes after his dad. Of course. Things get violent.

It’s fine. MacDonald is always a terrific artist, and the story hums along, but it’s kind of an empty-calorie story, as Orlando just wants to have Chris have a showdown with Orin (which is fairly well done) and figures out a way to get them in a room together, whether it’s completely logical or not. Chris, his boyfriend Bill, and his ex-girlfriend (and campaign manager) Sean are decent characters, but they’re at the mercy of the plot, and they move through it like they’re supposed to. It’s an entertaining story with some fascinating undertones – Orlando making Chris gay is a nice touch, as it adds a layer of meaning to everything without him having to do too much heavy lifting – but it’s also not as good as it feels like it should be.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

That’s the problem with being a henchman – poor dental coverage!

Captain Marvel by Kelly Thompson volume 1 by Kelly Thompson (writer), Carmen Carnero (artist), Annapaola Martello (artist), Tamra Bonvillain (colorist), David Curiel (colorist), Clayton Cowles (letterer), Travis Lanham (letterer), and Jennifer Grünwald (collection editor). $34.99, 264 pgs, Marvel.

I don’t know why I didn’t get the shorter trades of this run, but now Marvel is giving us big chunks of it, so I’m in. It’s good superhero stuff, with Thompson doing her usual excellent work with the characters and dialogue and giving us old-fashioned cool superhero plots on which to hang them. It’s interesting to me that as women write more superhero comics and female characters star in them, the bad guys’ misogyny is highlighted much more, as in the first arc here, where the bad guy is Mahkizmo (now calling himself the Nuclear Man). He was created in 1974, and it seems like his ridiculous misogyny has been treated kind of like a joke or something really silly, at least, in our enlightened times, but Thompson not only takes it seriously, it’s almost the driving force of his nature. Whether you agree with her choice or not, it’s interesting that in the past, misogynistic villains (and there are plenty) were allowed to spout off before someone simply punched them in the jaw, but today, female writers are showing that it’s not that easy to shut them down, and Thompson does so here. Well, I find it interesting, at least. In the “War of the Realms” crossover, the Enchantress switches Carol’s mind with Stephen Strange’s, so that he’s in her body and vice versa, and while it’s played for humor, it’s also an interesting examination of gender and powers. Then, someone is trying to turn the world against Carol … by pointing out that she’s an alien? Would that even work in the Marvel U? As with all allegories, I get the whole “we don’t like the Other” thing that Thompson is going for, but in the context of a world with aliens zipping around all the time, I’m not sure if it works. It’s still an entertaining superhero story, though. Finally, we get Marvel’s latest in The End series, as Carol returns to Earth after some years flying around the galaxy and finds that things are not great. I liked the fact that Thompson doesn’t isolate Carol throughout these stories, so we get a lot of neat characters helping her out and making her world seem bigger and even friendlier, as Carol knows she can count on other heroes. Thompson does her usual nice job of trying to solve problems without simply punching out of them, and it makes reading the book more fulfilling. The art is solid superhero stuff, so that’s nice. This is just a good superhero book. Those are always nice to check out!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

I mean, good for you and all, but the dude is wearing armored pants, so I don’t see how you could?

Earthdivers volume 1: Kill Columbus by Stephen Graham Jones (writer), Davide Gianfelice (artist), Joana Lafuente (colorist), and Steve Wands (letterer). $17.99, 140 pgs, IDW.

Jones puts us a bit into the future, when the rich have left the ruined planet and the remainers are living in destitution. Some Native Americans find a time-traveling cave and send one of their group back in time to kill Christopher Columbus before he arrives in the New World, thereby … saving the planet? The motivation is a bit wonky, especially given that some European was bound to find the New World eventually, and Columbus wasn’t as much the problem as a symptom of the problem, but Jones does a decent enough job with the story, especially as he makes his time traveler – Tad – screw up almost immediately by speaking English on a Spanish ship, and things go poorly from there. I mean, a better idea would be for Tad to tell the Indians in the Bahamas to slaughter Columbus and his crew and any other Europeans who showed up, but that wouldn’t have been as compelling a story. Tad slowly becomes savage, which is Jones’s point (gazing into the abyss and all), and in the “present,” those he left behind are looking for any evidence that he succeeded and are dealing with some bad things themselves. It’s a bit confusing, as most time travel is, but the idea that “History” is trying to push back against Tad’s efforts to “correct” it is an interesting idea, and Tad’s degradation is fascinating to see, even if it stems from his own stupidity. Frustratingly, this is “volume 1,” and it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, but if Jones gets a chance to continue, I might have to check it out. Gianfelice is a good artist, and the art is quite nice, so that’s all right. All in all, an entertaining comic.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Yep – sassy talking goat

Immortal Sergeant #1-9 by Joe Kelly (writer), Ken Niimura (artist), and Joe Illidge (editor). $35.91, 339 pgs, Image.

Kelly and Niimura collaborated on I Kill Giants, one of the best comics of the 21st century, so of course I wanted to check out their latest. It’s not as good as I Kill Giants, which is ok (see: 21st century, one of the best comics of), but it’s still pretty good. It’s a father-son bonding story, which might be eye-rolling, but Kelly does a good job keeping it from becoming too weepy, even if there is some powerful emotional stuff in it. Jim Sargent, a detective, is about to retire, and his semi-estranged son and his family is coming to visit, both for the retirement and for his son’s birthday. When Sargent sees a relative of a murder suspect who got away with it three decades before, he decides to track the relative in the hopes he’ll lead him to the suspect (so he can kill him, it’s strongly implied), and he drags his son – Michael – along with him. They travel for many days and through many states, with Michael constantly trying to convince his dad to turn back and his dad telling him that he needs to track this dude. Eventually, they find the suspect, of course, and things get serious. It’s not a bad hook, as it ties into Sargent’s anger about getting old and his anger at the injustice of it all, which ties into his feelings about his son and his marriage (Michael is fairly happily married to a lawyer, which Sargent, of course, doesn’t respect). His son’s birthday is an important day for all concerned, as well, although Michael doesn’t know why. Sargent is a typical Old Straight White Dude who can’t understand why his kind isn’t completely in charge of the world anymore and doesn’t like all these formerly marginalized groups getting a say in things, but Kelly does a good job showing that he’s not really racist, just ignorant. He treats everyone pretty much the same – gruffly – and it occasionally slides into racism, but Kelly keeps him on this side of the line, and when he does meet an actual racist, it’s interesting seeing him slowly realize what a tool he’s been. He’s a good detective, though, and Kelly shows this throughout as he acts strangely sometimes but we realize that he’s just working an angle. The problem with the book, to the degree that it’s not as good as I Kill Giants, is that Sargent and Michael veer slightly too far into the stereotypical – Sargent is a bit too much the cantankerous grump and Michael is too much the milquetoast. He’s a bit henpecked, but he’s also a bit of a man-child, so his wife kind of has to bug him, but otherwise, he has a far better relationship with his wife and kids than his father did/does, yet he can never say anything to the old man and just falls in line whenever the dude challenges him. I get it – father/son relationships, like all familial relationships, can be fraught, but it feels a bit too ridiculous that Michael is so passive around his dad. It puts a big dent in the story, and while Kelly does a good job showing how their relationship evolves, it does keep me from loving it more. The plot plays out almost exactly as we expect it to, as well, which isn’t the biggest deal in the world but is also somewhat of an issue. Niimura is a good artist, but occasionally he falls too far into sketchy “manga” style – the characters emote ridiculously, and with the way Kelly makes things so emotive, it sends things over the top a bit. Still, it’s a pretty good comic. The complaints I do have aren’t enough to make it bad, just … a bit annoying. But hey, I can be annoyed at some things and still enjoy the overall narrative! (Oh, and someone gets what ought to be a pretty serious brain injury yet recovers with seemingly no side effects. This is personal to me, of course, but I really dislike when characters in fiction are in a coma with head trauma and then they wake up with literally no consequences. Stop doing that, writers, because it’s extremely unrealistic.)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Sarge is such a tough guy!

Know Your Station by Sarah Gailey (writer), Liana Kangas (artist), Rebecca Nalty (colorist), Cardinal Rae (letterer), Maya Bollinger (assistant editor), and Elizabeth Brei (editor). $19.99, 110 pgs, Boom! Studios.

This is a pretty good satire, as we get a space station where the super-rich have fled because the Earth sucks (hmmm, seems to be a theme these days), but then the elite begin getting killed, and it’s up to the Security Liaison, Elise, to figure out what’s going on, even though she’s not much of a detective. A detective from Earth arrives, but she isn’t much help, and Elise is pretty much on her own. It doesn’t help that she’s addicted to a fancy drug that alters her perceptions, and it doesn’t help that Marin, another staff member, begins to suspect that she herself is responsible for the murders (the drugs might make her forget things she’s done). She is assisted by the artificial intelligence on board, but as it’s just a program, she’s not sure how much she can rely on it. And, of course, there’s the idea of Elise maybe, just maybe, not caring all that much that the pampered people are getting eviscerated, a theme that becomes more open as the book moves along. It’s not the cleverest book in the world, but Gailey does a nice job taking it to its logical extreme, and Kangas and Nalty do a nice job with the art, giving Elise weird, colorful visions to contrast the blandness of the space station. It might not be quite as searing as it could be, but it’s still a pretty neat comic.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Bad sign when you have a choice

The Last Barbarians by Brian Haberlin (writer/artist), Hannah Wall (writer), Geirrod van Dyke (colorist), and Francis Takenaga (letterer). $19.99, 128 pgs, Image/Shadowline.

You have to respect Brian Haberlin – he’s not the greatest writer or artist, but he just does his thing, creating these weird one-off comics that are usually entertaining but never rise to any level of greatness. This book is basically the kind of thing he does – a young lady named Sylv lives in a world in which everyone belongs to a guild and no one can do anything but what is prescribed by the guild, but she’s a jack of all trades and master of none, so she’s always trying to get in with different guilds, none of whom want her. She has a very large brother who has some kind of mental deficiency, so she needs to look after him. She takes a job with a sketchy character who is trying to rescue a child (he claims to be related to the child, but Sylv doesn’t buy it), and when they do, she finds out the child is a bit strange and her employer might have nefarious reasons for getting him. Others want the kid, too, and there’s a war going on in the land, so that’s a thing, and there are zombies at one point, and it’s all very exciting. Haberlin always does a nice job with characters – they’re not grimly serious all the time, as they get in goofy situations occasionally and even the ancillary characters feel like they have interesting back stories. His art is a bit too computer-aided for me to love it, but it still is pleasant to look at, and it always helps his story, which is never a given in comics. This is just a nice comic. Entertaining and fairly forgettable. But Haberlin’s doing what he loves, so good for him!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

The cow says ‘True!’

Memoria by Curt Pires (writer), Sunando C (artist), Mark Dale (colorist), and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (letterer). $22.99, 127 pgs, Dark Horse.

I mentioned recently that I think I’m done with Curt Pires, but I had already ordered this, so here we go. This isn’t as deliberately weird as some of Pires’s work, which means it’s a bit less annoying, but still not great. It’s an old-fashioned cop drama, with every single cliché you can think of. You want to old, grizzled cop with a ton of regrets? Or do you want the young hothead? YOU GET THEM BOTH!!!! They’re put on a case that, it becomes clear, no one really wants solved, but the reason for that – which becomes wildly obvious very early on – isn’t a great one. There’s a serial killer who has apparently been operating for decades, and as our heroes – I’d tell you their names, but it doesn’t matter, so I’ll just call them Grumpus and Ragey – unpeel the onion, and it all stinks. This is just like every other cop story you’ve ever read, and while I like a good cop story, the fact that Pires doesn’t even try to throw any curveballs at us is distressing. Sigh. I said I was done with Pires, and this hasn’t changed my mind. Oh well.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Tell us how you really feel!

Moon Knight volume 4: Road to Ruin by Jed MacKay (writer), Danny Lore (writer), Alessandro Cappuccio (artist), Federico Sabbatini (artist), Ray-Anthony Height (penciler), Le Beau Underwood (inker), Rachelle Rosenberg (colorist), Cory Petit (letterer), and Jennifer Grünwald (collection editor). $19.99, 128 pgs, Marvel.

I don’t know if this is a real thing, because I don’t read enough Marvel (and DC) comics to know, but a while back it seemed like Marvel (and DC, but not as much, it seems) began employing a lot of Italian artists – or at least artists with very Italian names – on a lot of their comics. You see it above with Captain Marvel, and Moon Knight’s main artist in this iteration has been Cappuccio, but even the back-up artists have been Italian (mostly Sabbatini, but I think there’s been another one). I have nothing against, I just thought it was odd, and I wondered why. Are Italian artists faster than Americans? Do they demand less money? Do they work in studios so it’s easier to find them? Beats me. Has anyone else noticed this, or am I just a weirdo? (Wait, you probably shouldn’t answer that.)

Anyway, MacKay continues to do a good job with this book. This time around, someone is killing members of Moon Knight’s “Shadow Cabinet,” which is deep cut from the back end of the Marc Spector: Moon Knight series (when people like James Fry and Stephen Platt – yay, Stephen Platt!!!! – were drawing the book), and MK wants to find out who it is (which he does, at the very end, setting the stage for the next volume, when he … dies?). Morpheus shows up, which is always fun, and MacKay keeps delving into MK’s psyche and he deepens our hero’s relationship with Tigra, which, you know, good for them. It still looks very good – Cappuccio uses more blacks on his costume than most Moon Knight artists, but it’s effective – and it’s an interesting book. There’s a back-up story set in 1974 with a different Moon Knight, which makes me grumpy, because I hate that Marvel has turned everyone into a legacy hero, but whatever, and Blade and Kid Venom show up (Venom is a kid now, in case you didn’t know). It’s just chugging along, and it’s a solid superhero/supernatural book. Good for all!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Is that his actual head?

Mosely by Rob Guillory (writer/artist), Sam Lofti (artist), Jean-Francois Beaulieu (colorist), Andrew Thomas (letterer), Sierra Hahn (editor), and Bryce Carlson (editor). $19.99, 139 pgs, Boom! Studios.

Guillory gives us a fairly standard “humans-vs.-AI” story, and it works pretty well. He has a decent central character, Marvin Mosely, who helped “train” AI to be more human but now, years later, thinks that humans have become far too dependent on it, which is personified by his daughter, who works very closely with the central AI, which is guiding humanity toward … something? Of course it’s sinister, because in the “humans-vs.-AI” story, it’s very rare that AI is a good thing, but Guillory does a nice thing with Mosely – for much of the book, he’s fighting a lonely battle, because so many people dig AI and the people who don’t – his ex-wife, for example – are kind of “get off my lawn” cranks. Ultimately, naturally, Mosely is in the right, but Guillory doesn’t make it easy on him. He gets Thor-like power to fight the AI, and he seems unbeatable, but Guillory still makes it more difficult than we think it will be. Guillory is very interested in family, so the story is more about Mosely trying to reconnect with his daughter and wife, and that’s the beating heart of the book, and it works pretty well. Guillory has some skills as a writer, and it’s interesting seeing him grow that way. Lofti does nice work with the art – the AI creations are creepy and menacing, and his action scenes are well done. This is a solid comic about the “dangers” of AI, but it’s really about how estranged people can try to make it back to each other. It’s heartwarming!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Creep Spider Robot makes a reasonable point!

She-Hulk by Mariko Tamaki (writer), Nice Leon (artist), Dalibor Talijac (artist), Georges Duarte (artist), Julian Lopez (artist), Francesco Gastón (artist), Bachan (artist), Jahnoy Lindasy (artist), Diego Olortegui (artist), Matt Milla (colorist), Andrew Crossley (colorist), Federico Blee (colorist), Chris Sotomayor (colorist), Cory Petit (letterer), Travis Lanham (letterer), and Jennifer Grünwald (collection editor). $39.99, 320 pgs, Marvel.

I don’t quite get this comic. Jen is back to being Jen, and she seems a bit terrified of “Hulking out,” which is fine, but when she does, she’s not out of control at all. She’s a bit less “Jen-like” and more “savage Hulk,” but it’s not like she rampages around like Bruce used to do. She seems largely in control, which is why it’s weird that Tamaki goes out of her way to keep her from being, you know, She-Hulk. I get that she’s recovering from some confrontation with Thanos and Bruce’s “death,” but it’s just weird. If Tamaki wanted to write a more Jen-centered comic, I’m on board with that (although she either changed her mind or the PTB changed it for her, as She-Hulk becomes more prominent after the initial story arc), but it’s still a bit weird. Also: what’s with the renumbering? We get 11 issues of the title, then Marvel reverts to “legacy numbering” with … issue #159? I’m sure there was a reason at the time, but it’s strange to go back to “original” numbering with such a random number. Fuck the heck, Marvel?

Anyway, this is fine. The first story, which veers fairly close to horror, is the best one, but it’s still an entertaining if forgettable run. The art is competent, but the lack of a regular artist hurts it, and none of them really rise to a higher level (I like Bachan, but his cartoonish style seems an odd fit here). Jen does some lawyering, hangs out with Hellcat, goes on a bad date, fights the Leader … it’s fine. She sorts through some things, and all is well by the end of the run, although she’s lost another job and I wonder if there’s a story somewhere where no one will hire her because she rocks the boat too much or if, if she sets up her own shop (which I know she’s done), no one will hire her because it’s too much trouble. I dunno. I keep trying to like Tamaki’s work, but I’ve been unimpressed so far (I did get her latest graphic novel, so we’ll see!). This is just a decent but kind of bland run of comics. Oh well.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Everyone loves a good montage!

Red Room: Crypto Killaz! #1-4 by Ed Piskor (writer/artist). $15.96, 103 pgs, Fantagraphics.

I’m not as enamored of Ed Piskor as much of the comics literati seems to be – he’s a terrific artist, but his writing leaves something to be desired. Case in point: Red Room, which looks wonderful – the characters are fully realized and unique, the “red room” killers are weird and terrifying, the violence is horrific and visceral – but which is ultimately empty. I don’t usually think this, but what is the point of all this? Piskor gives us one character across the entire span of the series who’s mildly sympathetic, which I know isn’t a complete requirement to make something worthwhile, but if you don’t have that, you ought to have something else, and it seems like the entire point of this series is to say that humans are depraved, which, yeah, of course they are. Issue #3, with “Quentin Tarantino” explaining the history of red rooms, is a decent enough satire, but the rest of the series seems to take itself too seriously to be satire (the final issue of the series is also bitingly satirical, but it’s also kind of obvious, so it’s blunted a bit) and it’s too disgusting to be entertaining and, because Piskor focuses on a bunch of different characters, there’s not even a satisfying through-plot to the whole thing. It’s as if Piskor just wanted to draw people getting butchered in horrible ways, and so he did. I don’t know the reception Red Room has gotten amongst comic writers who are smarter than I am (the death of the comics blogosphere has been depressing, man), but it’s by Piskor and it’s Fantagraphics, so I imagine it’s largely positive. I don’t hate this series, but I do wonder why it exists. I want to say Piskor is too talented to waste his time with this, but I don’t know that. I do hope for something better from him, though, and I hope he’s gotten whatever drove him to do this series out of his system.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Testify, Brianna!

Spine-Tingling Spider-Man by Saladin Ahmed (writer), Juan Ferreyra (artist), Joe Caramagna (letterer), Joe Sabino (letterer), Kaeden McGahey (assistant editor), and Nick Lowe (editor). $9.99, 85 pgs, Marvel.

Nick Lowe, the editor of this book, has to be lying. In the back of this “collection” (this was an Infinity Comic a few years ago that’s been altered to fit the printed presentation), Lowe writes, “I first edited this a few years ago, and it scared the crap out of me then. It still scares me now!” I mean, I get that Lowe is just following in the footsteps of Stan Lee and he’s just trying to be Mr. Hype Man, but come on, “scared”? Really, Nick? I mean, this is a creepy story in which Peter Parker has nightmares that gradually come into the real world, but it’s not really scary. It’s just not. Lowe needs to chill a bit, because he’s just a liar. Come on, Nick!

Anyway, this is a creepy story in which Peter Parker has nightmares that gradually come into the real world. Juan Ferreyra draws the shit out of it. We’re getting another weird story from these two, and I’ll get that, too. Man, I wish Ferreyra would do something creator-owned, either by himself or with a good writer. I’ll keep buying his Marvel work because he’s just that good, but it bugs me that he just keeps doing these oddball projects and isn’t getting the recognition he deserves. Oh well.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

I hope someone brought a mop!

Tiger Division by Emily Kim (writer), Creees Lee (artist), Craig Yeung (inker), Yen Nitro (colorist), Ariana Maher (letterer), and Jennifer Grünwald (collection editor). $15.99, 100 pgs, Marvel.

Axiom: White Fox is awesome.
Observation: White Fox is in Tiger Division.
Conclusion: Tiger Division is awesome.

However … Marvel created this amazing character, and then made her a … bureaucrat? What, exactly, the fuck, Marvel? She appears in ten (10!) panels in this entire comic, none in costume (Marvel sneaks her onto the cover, because even they know she’s awesome), as she sends the actual Tiger Division off on a mission. It’s fine. It’s a superhero comic in which Doctor Doom appears, so there are fights, betrayals, ties to a character’s past, heartache, and weird energy weapons. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it, either. It’s “Korean” only that it takes place in Korea, has a sprinkling of Korean things, and is written and drawn by a Korean (or, you know, Americans of Korean descent). It simply proves that Koreans can write boilerplate superhero books as well as anyone else, so good for them!

I just can’t believe Marvel wants to put such a great character on the sideline. Now, there are probably good stories about White Fox, government bureaucrat, waiting to be told, but I have no faith in Marvel to produce them. Sigh. White Fox is awesome, y’all.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

You tell ’em, Ami Han aka White Fox!

The Vineyard by Brian Hawkins (writer), Sami Kivelä (artist), Jason Wordie (colorist), Taylor Esposito (letterer), and Mike Marts (editor). $17.99, 96 pgs, AfterShock.

This is a fairly by-the-numbers horror story, as a family of vintners gets their wine great by sacrificing people to Dionysus, as you do, which is a pretty good hook (it’s unclear if there’s actual blood in the wine, but the wine is very tasty as a result of the sacrifices). The patriarch is mad at his wife because she doesn’t want to do it anymore, but his son picks up the slack, and it becomes a battle of the sexes when the prodigal daughter returns to try to convince her mother to leave. Things get bloody, as you expect, and everything plays out pretty much the way we think it will. It’s greatly assisted by Kivelä’s art – he’s so good, and I wonder if the Big Two are ever going to snap him up. His line work is superb, but his layouts are stellar – he excellent at creating seemingly complicated panel layouts that nevertheless move your eye effortlessly across the page, allowing you to soak up all the amazing details in his work. He stretches and bends time so effectively in his layouts, and it makes each page a gorgeous immersive experience. Wordie does nice work with the colors, too, and the book simply looks wonderful. It’s not a bad story, just familiar. The art gives it some nice juice, though.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Well, that’s certainly a thing

BOOKS

Explaining Hitler by Ron Rosenbaum. 444 pgs, 1998, Random House, Inc.

I read this years ago, and for some reason (I don’t fully understand it myself), I decided to re-read it even though I still have a big backlog of books I haven’t, you know, read. Anyway, this is a terrific book, as Rosenbaum examines the many historians and philosophers over the years who have tried to explain Hitler and whether that’s something we should even do (some people are very, very adamantly opposed to it). He looks at the people who try to find a reason for why Hitler was so evil – was he ashamed of his Jewish ancestor (no proof of which exists), was he angry about his missing testicle (for which there is only hearsay), did he get syphilis from a Jewish prostitute when he was young (which might have happened, but might not have), was he just bugfuck crazy? There’s also the debate over whether Hitler thought he was doing good (ridding the world of the “Jewish plague”) or whether he knew he was doing wrong but didn’t care. There’s the question of whether Hitler was “exceptional” in history or whether the forces of history created him and would have created someone like him if he didn’t exist. Finally, there’s the occasionally violent debate over whether we should be trying to explain Hitler at all, because spending so much time on him grants him a posthumous victory. It’s a fascinating book – Rosenbaum interviews the major players in the Hitler Studies World and gets their opinions on all the others and their thoughts on what Hitler was and why he existed, and it’s written well and pretty gripping. The Geli Raubal incident, in which Hitler’s niece was found dead in his apartment, gets a lot of play, because many historians think that had a significant impact on the way Hitler viewed the world (although Rosenbaum doesn’t necessarily think so), and other incidents in the life of Hitler are examined as well, to see if there’s a “ground zero” for his hatred of Jews. (I mean, some people think he didn’t decide on murdering all the Jews until 1941, which makes no sense to me, because he told everyone what he was going to do in Mein Kampf, which he wrote in the mid-1920s.) Rosenbaum works out some of his own feelings about Hitler, and he writes a lot about how Jews today (well, in the 1990s) feel about Hitler, which also makes the book interesting, because there are so many different strands of thought about studying Hitler (much like Columbus, there’s an element of looking into the abyss and all that). It’s just a really well done book, although I do think at times some of these people are overthinking it (which seems to be Rosenbaum’s conclusion, as well). Hitler was evil, but he wasn’t an “exceptional” evil, and he lived in an anti-Semitic world and just happened to take it to its “logical” (for him, at least) conclusion because he had the means to do it. If people think Hitler was an exception to the norm, I suggest they dig into some of the ways people in power have tried to exterminate “the other” in their societies going back centuries. Hitler might have been exceptionally good at extermination (as horrific as that is), but his impulses certainly weren’t unusual. Anyway, this is a neat book, but I can’t keep re-reading old ones when I have so many new ones to read!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆

TELEVISION

Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland (PBS). This is a five-part documentary about the recent history of Northern Ireland, from the late Sixties when the “Troubles” started to the peace process in the Nineties. It’s very good, as we get perspectives from all sides and realize that everyone involved is both pretty shitty and very convinced they’re right, and only after very hard lessons do some of them start to think that maybe killing everyone who says the Lord’s Prayer differently isn’t the best way to go (religious wars are stupid, sure, but wars between sects of the same religion are an extra layer of stupid). The filmmakers interview a lot of people who were in the thick of the conflict, and it’s fascinating hearing them tell their stories, as they’re confronted with their earlier selves (many of them either participated actively on either side or were interviewed for the news, so they get to watch archival footage of themselves) and they work through what they felt then and what they feel now. Some of the subjects were IRA members, some were Ulster Constabulary people, some were British Army soldiers, and it’s very interesting hearing them, because a lot of it comes down to “Well, someone did something horrible, so we had to retaliate.” Digging two graves, such as it is. The biggest problem I always have with documentaries about violent times is that the filmmakers rarely confront them on their stupidity – “Don’t you think killing people who worship the exact same God as you do in almost the exact same way is mind-bogglingly idiotic?” – but the documentarians (who don’t appear on camera) do push a tiny bit, so that was at least a bit better than most. It’s a bit of a depressing series, and when you see and hear Margaret Thatcher, you might want to build a time machine just so you can go back in time and punch her in the brain (well, unless you’re a big fan of Thatcher, but I hope you’re not, because damn, she was an awful person), but it’s still very compelling. Documentaries are fun!

How To with John Wilson season 3 (HBO). Much like the first two seasons, Wilson begins with a clear purpose – he wants to clean his ears, he wants to get in shape, he wants to track his package – and goes off on weird and wild tangents, and we’re all better for having followed him. There’s so much going on in these half-hour slice-of-life vignettes, and Wilson ends up in the weirdest places – one dude is building a bunker in an unused missile silo, and his wife isn’t the biggest fan of that (although it does look like a luxury apartment, so it wouldn’t be the worst place to end up in a nuclear war) – and it’s funny, heartfelt, fascinating, occasionally disgusting (I mean, the first episode is about finding a public toilet), bizarre, occasionally sad, and often uplifting. Wilson interviews people who want to have loud birthday parties for their one-year-old in the middle of the night, meets men who collect vacuum cleaners (all men, which is a bit odd), and ends up at the Emmys, where all the beautiful people are getting their pictures taken and he wanders around like a homeless person who happened to wander in. This is the last season, so if you’ve missed this show, watch all 18 episodes right now and see what weird world we live in. It’s an excellent series.

Men in Kilts season 2 (Starz). Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish take a road trip through New Zealand this season, as McTavish moved there because he fell in love with the country while acting in The Hobbit (to be fair, New Zealand is pretty awesome), and Heughan comes to check out the country with him. Season 1 was eight episodes and this was only four, so it felt a bit incomplete – they show a montage of some things they did that didn’t make it into the show, and it seems like they could have at least gone six episodes – but it’s still a neat look at a gorgeous country. They go ziplining and bungie jumping, they learn about Maori culture, and they check out some of the natural wonders in the country, like the Milford Sound and the hot springs in Rotorua. Heughan and McTavish have good chemistry together, and they have a lot of fun, and it’s an enjoyable travelogue show … I just wish it had gone on a bit longer! Oh well.

Dark Winds season 2 (AMC). The second season of this show is pretty strong, which is nice. The mystery is weird and complex, but it makes sense, so that’s nice, and while there’s a bit of a tangent about the forced sterilization of Native women that doesn’t seem to fit into the show, it’s not like it’s not an important topic, so it’s fine. Zahn McClarnon continues to do nice work as Joe Leaphorn, the sheriff in Kayenta, Arizona in the early 1970s. In the first season, we learned that McClarnon’s son had been killed in an explosion at the mine where he worked, and in this season, we learn more about the explosion and what’s going on with the land. Meanwhile, Kiowa Gordon, who plays Jim Chee, the FBI spy in season 1 who has now quit the Bureau and is working as a private investigator, is hired by Jeri Ryan (who’s just the tiniest bit wasted in her role) to retrieve a box stolen from her husband. Meanwhile, some dude gets blowed up early on in the show, and it’s clear it’s not an accident, so Leaphorn has to figure out what’s going on with that. The leads – McClarnon, Gordon, and Jessica Matten as Leaphorn’s second-in-command – are all very good, and Matten’s growing disillusionment with life on the reservation is another well-done storyline in this season, and the guest stars do a decent job, as well – Ryan, A Martinez, John Diehl, and the creepy Nicholas Logan as a taciturn killer are fun to watch. The scenery is spectacular as usual – it’s filmed on the rez, which is nice – and it’s just a solid show. The social commentary is mixed in pretty well – I don’t love the part about the women, because it feels like they needed something for Leaphorn’s wife to do – but it also feels like they might be setting something up for the third season, in which case I don’t have an issue with it (even if they don’t, the fact that the United States government was sterilizing Native women makes this important enough to mention even if it doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the show). This is just an enjoyable mystery show with good actors, and there’s nothing wrong with that!

A Discovery of Witches season 3 (AMC). I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but here I go: I’m mystified when I hear that couples don’t watch television together, and I hear it quite often. My wife and I watch together almost all the time, and I’m puzzled by people who don’t. I assume that for most couples, both parties work. Even if one doesn’t, one does, so you’re not spending time together while one or both of you is working. So when you’re done with work, what do you do? Do you go to separate rooms and watch different television shows? That’s bizarre to me. Of course, it helps that I don’t watch a lot of sports during the week or, I don’t know, shows about truckers driving across Alaska and my wife doesn’t love home improvement shows or cooking shows or “reality” television, and our tastes align far more often than not, but I don’t know – when do these couples spend any time together? Do they? I like sitting next to my wife watching television, because we have similar senses of humor and we have a vast history of similar references so we can comment almost in shorthand about the shows and know what the other is talking about. I get that some couples might not watch television and some might watch a little and do things, you know, out in the real world together (which is hard for us because of the child), but man, I just don’t get two people who ostensibly like to be with each spending so much time apart watching different television shows. It’s mystifying.

That’s all preamble to this show, which I would not have watched if my wife didn’t want to watch it. We imagine most people watching it read the books on which is was based, most of whom were probably women. It’s a perfectly fine show, and it wraps up pretty well this season, and the production values were very nice, and the cast was generally good (except the female lead, Teresa Palmer, who was not very good), and it’s entertaining. Would I have watched it if my wife didn’t want to? No. But I enjoyed watching it with her. It’s weird that people want to be so locked into their own shows that they’re not willing to hang out with the person they love and watch something together. Unless we’re just weird for watching things together.

**********

The three “classic” reprints I got in September were Asterix volume 10 from Papercutz, another EC collection, Two-Fisted Tales, from Dark Horse, and Robo Hunter from Rebellion/2000AD, with nice Ian Gibson art. I’ll get to them eventually!

Here’s the money I spent in September!

6 September: $133.56
20 September: $284.44 (Two weeks’ worth!)
27 September: $110.08

Total for September: $528.08 (September 2022: $862.76; September 2021: $855.20)
YTD: $4919.26 (through September 2022: $8131.59; through September 2021: $6859.07)

Let’s break down the publishers and kinds of comics I bought!

Ablaze: 1 (1 graphic novel)
AfterShock: 2 (2 trade paperbacks)
Boom! Studios: 3 (3 trade paperbacks)
Dark Horse: 2 (1 “classic” reprint, 1 trade paperback)
DC: 2 (1 single issue, 1 trade paperback)
Drawn & Quarterly: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Fantagraphics: 1 (1 single issue)
Floating World Comics: 1 (1 graphic novel)
IDW: 1 (1 trade paperback)
Image: 5 (4 single issues, 1 trade paperback)
Invader Comics: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Mad Cave Studios: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Marvel: 6 (2 single issues, 4 trade paperbacks)
Oni Press: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Papercutz: 1 (1 “classic” reprint)
Rebellion/2000AD: 1 (1 “classic” reprint)
Viz Media: 1 (1 manga volume)

3 “classic” reprints (35)
6 graphic novels (45)
1 manga volume (9)
8 single issues (73)
13 trade paperbacks (114)

So far this year, we have:

Ablaze: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Abrams ComicArts: 1 (1 graphic novel)
AfterShock: 11 (2 single issues, 9 trade paperbacks)
Ahoy Comics: 2 (2 trade paperbacks)
Archaia: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Asylum Press: 1 (1 single issue)
AWA: 5 (5 trade paperbacks)
Battle Quest Comics: 2 (2 trade paperbacks)
Beacon Press: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Black Caravan: 2 (2 single issues)
Boom!: 12 (12 trade paperbacks)
Clover Press: 3 (2 “classic” reprint, 1 graphic novel)
Conundrum Press: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Dark Horse: 37 (8 “classic” reprints, 8 graphic novels, 11 single issues, 10 trade paperbacks)
DC: 23 (3 “classic” reprints, 14 single issues, 6 trade paperbacks)
Death Ray Graphics: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Del Rey: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Drawn & Quarterly: 2 (2 graphic novels)
Dstlry: 1 (1 single issue)
Dynamite: 1 (1 “classic” reprint)
Epicenter Comics: 2 (2 “classic” reprints)
Fairsquare Comics: 2 (1 single issue, 1 trade paperback)
Fantagraphics: 7 (1 “classic” reprint, 2 graphic novels, 4 single issues)
First Second Books: 2 (2 graphic novels)
Floating World Comics: 2 (2 graphic novels)
Greenwillow Books: 1 (1 graphic novel)
HarperCollins: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Helvetiq: 1 (1 graphic novel)
High School Heroes Productions: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Humanoids: 1 (1 graphic novel)
IDW: 2 (2 trade paperbacks)
Image: 59 (1 “classic” reprint, 2 graphic novels, 25 single issues, 31 trade paperbacks)
Invader Comics: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Iron Circus Comics: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Lev Gleason: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Living the Line: 3 (3 graphic novels)
Mad Cave: 7 (2 graphic novels, 4 single issues, 1 trade paperback)
Marvel: 34 (4 “classic” reprint, 8 single issues, 22 trade paperbacks)
NBM: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Oni: 4 (3 graphic novels, 1 trade paperback)
Papercutz: 1 (1 “classic” reprint)
Penguin Books: 1 (1 graphic novel)
PS Artbooks: 4 (4 “classic” reprints)
Rebellion/2000AD: 7 (6 “classic” reprints, 1 trade paperback)
Roaring Brook Press: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Silver Sprocket: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Titan Comics: 3 (1 graphic novel, 2 trade paperbacks)
Top Shelf: 1 (1 graphic novel)
TwoMorrows Publishing: 2 (2 “classic” reprints)
Uncivilized Books: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Vault: 6 (6 trade paperbacks)
Viz Media: 9 (9 manga volumes)
Z2: 1 (1 graphic novel)

**********

Here are some odd links I found over the month:

A few weeks ago, an Iowa cheerleader did a flip, and things went a bit sideways. He finished like a pro, however!

As the NFL season lengthens and more bad plays come up, we mustn’t forget that Justin Fields is a terrible quarterback and this is one of the worst interceptions you will ever see:

Obviously, all right-thinking ‘Muricans hate the Patriots, not only because of their run of success but because they cheated a lot during that run when they didn’t even really need to, so it’s nice seeing them face-plant now that Pretty Boy isn’t giving them a hometown discount so they can surround him with good players. Belichick is still a smart coach, though, and a few weeks ago, New England blocked a field goal attempt by the J-E-T-S in a very cool fashion:

Here’s a better angle:

This probably won’t become a thing, because it’s too difficult to do and the kicking team will adjust too easily, but it’s pretty keen.

In case you didn’t know, when Andrew Luck was playing football, there was a Twitter account in which Luck was a Civil War captain (because of his beard), and it was written as if he were writing to his mother about “the war” – the games he was playing. After Luck retired, the account went dormant, but he showed up in the post-game of the New York-San Francisco game, and it was clear he was very aware of the account:

That’s awesome. Well done, Captain Andrew Luck.

Here’s a fun story: A Bavarian prince has called Oktoberfest costumes “cultural appropriation.” I mean, he’s not exactly wrong? This is what a lot of people think of when they think of Oktoberfest:

I went to an Oktoberfest in Munich in the 1970s, and, I mean, there’s a lot of sitting in big tents drinking, so I’m not sure what highbrow stuff the prince is trying to go back to. I do love that his name is Luitpold Rupprecht Heinrich. THAT’S a name!

Here’s an interesting, comics-related story: Marc Tyler Nobleman, who wrote the book about Bill Finger that forced DC to acknowledge him as co-creator of Batman, decided to skip a presentation at an Atlanta school because they didn’t want him to mention that Finger had a gay son. Jeebus, people suck sometimes.

Speaking of idiots, here’s a story in which students complained about a teacher making them read Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me. This is an AP English class, but apparently these fucking white kids couldn’t handle it and the book made them feel ashamed to be white. I think they were just being asshole kids who knew they could get out of work if they complained, but apparently, this is against the law in South Carolina. Because of course it fucking is. I’m ashamed to be white reading about these assholes who can’t handle a little criticism. Jeebus.

So there’s apparently a thing out there about dudes thinking about the Roman Empire, which they do. A lot, apparently. Now, I’m a history nerd with a very keen interest in the late Roman/early medieval period and I don’t think about the Roman Empire all that much, so I’m going to say that dudes who think about it every day are a bit nuts. Also, I very much doubt they think about the Roman Empire correctly, because they don’t know all that much about the Roman Empire. Take this guy. He thinks “immigration” destroyed Rome, and he claims that today’s “woke” culture will do the same. But he’s, you know, an idiot, and doesn’t seem to know much about Rome or the Germanic tribes that replaced it in the 5th century. And this guy. He seems to think our decadence will be our demise, much like it was Rome’s, but rich people have always been decadent, and there’s no evidence the decadence of Rome led to its downfall. And, as great as Edward Gibbon was, he was writing in the 18th century, and he had a very clear bias, and while historians still use Gibbon for some things, scholarship has uncovered a hell of a lot more about Roman society and Germanic society in the last, you know, two hundred years!!!! This “I think about the Roman Empire every day” is just a way for dudes to whine about how they’re not always on top of the heap anymore without actually whining about it, because that would be unmanly and they’re oh so very manly. If you’re going to think about the Roman Empire, at least think about the real Roman Empire and not the one you think existed, you know, the one with Russell Crowe in it. Sheesh, these people. This is what I have to say to them:

**********

I mentioned that September was weird, and it was. It started fine, but then, a few weeks ago, I went off to Oklahoma City for my sister’s wedding. I was officiating the wedding, so I kind of had to be there. We decided to drive in a rented RV rather than fly, because we’d have to get a hotel room and a vehicle capable to carrying my daughter’s wheelchair, and by the time you added all that up, it was cheaper to drive (not by much, but still). So we spent a week driving to, staying in, and driving back from Oklahoma, and I got all out of whack. It took me a while to get back to reading stuff, and then I was way behind writing about it, so this is late. I do try to be timely! We had a good time on our “trip” (it was decidedly not a vacation), and I got to see my sister and her kids and my parents, so that was nice. Phoenix to Oklahoma City is about 1000 miles, and a good 800-900 of those are along Interstate 40, which is straight, flat, and extremely dull. Western New Mexico isn’t bad, but once you get east of Albuquerque you hit the plains, and Jeebus it’s boring. I can see why all those farmers go nuts and kill their families! Here are a few photos of our voyage:

We stopped at Window Rock, because when are we going to get up there again? It was by far the most interesting thing we saw on the actual journey.

There’s me, officiating the hell out of that wedding! The bridesmaids were my sister’s kids. My nephew was bummed they didn’t think to find a dress to wear. I agree, as that would have been fun.

My sister has a decent sense of humor, so she didn’t mind me wearing my Edvard Munch tie to her wedding. And she made her own dress (and cake!), so that was pretty cool.

The wedding was on the top (50th) floor of the tallest building in Oklahoma, and there were some nice views!

My wife and daughter. Mia is having none of this shit!

On the Sunday we were there, we went to the Oklahoma State Fair. I challenge you to find a more ‘Murican photograph than a Ferris wheel in the background and fried Oreos and Snickers in the foreground! (I mean, there could have been a truck with a gun rack in the photo, too, but still …)

Here’s the family: That’s my dad, my sister, my new brother-in-law in the back, my mom, my nephew with the hat and cheesy mustache (they’re 21, what are you gonna do?), my niece, my daughter, my wife, and my daughter. Not pictured: the ugly dude taking the photo!

This is the Texas panhandle, but let me tell you – this was most of the scenery along the way!

I’ve been slacking on the beard progress, but here’s the latest. The blue shirt is the first one, although there’s not that big a difference between the beginning of September to the end. I’m still committed to the whole year, but it’s gotten tougher recently – I kind of want to just get rid of it. We shall see if I make it the entire year!

In my weight loss quest, I had a decent month. As of this morning, I weighed 250.4 pounds. That means I lost 3.2 pounds in September, making it my best month of the year so far. I’ve been trying to be more aggressive about changing my eating habits, and I’ve finally shed some of the bad habits I’ve had in the past – not all of them, but some of the more major ones, and it’s reflected in my weight. Slow and steady wins the race and all that. I started the year at 260.8 pounds, so I’ve lost 10.4 pounds so far this year. I hope I can keep it going!

January: -2.1
February: +.1
March: -1
April: +.7
May: -3
June: +/- 0
July: -1.3
August: -.6
September: -3.2

How are you all? I hope everyone is doing well!

26 Comments

  1. 1. Congrats on the weight loss. I lost 25 lb in 2022 but have been stuck within a 7-pound range all year. When I am home, I can eat well, but on the road, not so much. To that end…
    2. I was in Las Vegas for the first time last week. I’ve been so busy there and subsequently that I haven’t had a chance to write about it. 
    3. As an old NFC fan of the NY/NJ Giants, I learned to hate the “America’s team,” Cowboys decades ago. Sans Brady, I found myself rooting for the Patriots, obviously to no avail.   

  2. Eric van Schaik

    Comics:
    Nothing! Still a poor outcome of both Marvelman and Savage Dragon so I’m still going strong with reading my X-Men Omnibuses.

    TV:
    Recently I discovered that my wife hadn’t seen any Bond movies!! Really shocking. Personally I like the Brosnan era and I have some of them on Blu-ray so we watched Goldeneye yesterday.

    Concerts:
    9/16 Ayreon – Dutchman Arjen Lucassen is a hermit who is great at making rock opera’s/musicals. He made the 01011001 album in 2008. He used 17 singers! to tell the story and had no intention to ever play it live. But 15 years later the unthinkable happend 🙂 He’s nervous of playing so he’ll never tour but instead let the world come to him (which means Tilburg in Holland). The 3 concerts sold out so fast that he added 2 matinee show on saturday and sunday. This meant 15.000 people coming from 60 different countries (yes, even people from the US). The record was played integral with 3 extra songs as an encore. It is recorded so within 5 months there will be blu-ray. Yeah!!
    As a bonus here’s a clip from the show Ayreon did 4 years ago staring amongst others fish because I know you’re a Marillion fan Greg.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6YFbgMzkZY&list=PL4GfAXngJVUcEqywgCB6nMH0FaNqnpFHf&ab_channel=ShaylonCarvalho

    Shirt: HELL YEAH. We both bought a shirt and sweater and even the sweater from the show we saw for years ago (The Electric Castle and other stories)

    9/27 Sisters of Mercy. It was 1 of my favorite new wave bands from the 80’s and it was in my hometown so going a ticket was a no brainer. What ones was a band is now just the singer, a guitarist and someone starting the drumcomputer Doktor Avalanche and all other sounds. This made it somewhat strange but still a nice concert.
    Shirt: no. Just a small logo and some random tekst didn’t justify to buy one.

    It’s brave you want have the beard a whole year but if I’m honest I have to say that it makes you look old. Sorry man. 🙁

    Thanks for the oktoberfest photo. Hubba hubba 😉

    Speaking of idiots (in the US).
    Parents in Texas went balistic because a teacher let students read the Anne Frank graphic novel which had some “inappropriate” passages. Personally I think it was nothing special but hey what do I know?

    1. Greg Burgas

      I know it makes me look old – it did even back when it was still very dark, and now that it’s gray, it make me look even older. But when I shave it in December (unless I get really sick of it before that), I’ll stun everyone with how young I look! 🙂

      Sigh. Stupid people trying to censor things. Sigh.

      Hey, check out Fish! Looking good! Thanks for that link!

  3. “It’s interesting to me that as women write more superhero comics and female characters star in them, the bad guys’ misogyny is highlighted much more,”
    One of the things I’ve noticed rereading Golden Age Wonder Woman is that Marston emphasizes misogyny much more than later writers. Dr. Psycho is an incel before the term was coined; the post-Crisis version is just a generic sadist. And rather than just a god of war, Marston’s Mars is a god of war who believes women have no place other than as spoils of war.
    I’ve read Explaining Hitler and it is very good. You might like “The World Hitler Never Made” which discusses alternate histories where the Nazis won.

    1. Greg Burgas

      Yeah, but Marston was a weirdo, so everyone else didn’t hang out with him at parties! 🙂

      I dig me some alternate histories, so I’ll have to check that out.

  4. Darthratzinger

    Hitler, Oktoberfest (and nobility), beards,… so much stuff I hate that I just need to comment on.
    You´re dead on in Your view on Explaining Hitler. At work the question I get the most from tourists is “why did Adolf hate jews” which no one can answer and it´s completely irrelevant. On the other hand the second most asked question is “why did Germans hate jews” (which is already kinda falling for Nazi propaganda because it implies that German jews were not Germans first and foremost) which is a lot more relevant. And as many books as there are on the first question there are as many on the second one. Unfortunately there is no real satisfying answer.
    So Oktoberfest then? The two ladies in the picture do not really represent the type of people going there. My hometown is a two-hour train ride from Munich (needless to say, most of us Nurembergers hate those snotty arrogant, always-winning-at-football Großkopferten Isarpreussen in the state capital) and the locals returning from Oktoberfest in the train station at night resemble more the corpses from the Walking Dead if they had been wearing Lederhosen. I myself consider those traditional clothes a more expensive form of cosplay. It just seems silly. The statement of that prince/nobleman or whatever does kinda make sense. There are so many people there wearing clothes they have absolutely no cultural connection with. On the other hand: who cares? The guy is just unhappy because all that inbred nobility hasn´t held political power any more since the end of WWI.
    Wearing that tie while officiating a wedding? Priceless! So good that it makes up for the face-fur. I do agree with Eric that in the close-ups the beard makes You look old but in the wedding pictures You look like a wise sage. It might be the facial expression. At the wedding You´re beaming, in the selfies You look like You´re contemplating who to execute next.
    Fried Oreos? Oh, You wacky Americans.

    1. Eric van Schaik

      Greg a wise sage? You give him too much credit. 😉 Just kidding. 🙂
      The oktoberfest clothing is terrible. I still get nightmares of Louis van Gaal (a dutchman) as coach of Bayern in lederhosen… 🙁

    2. Greg Burgas

      I know that photo isn’t emblematic of people who go to Oktoberfest, but we have to be knuckle-dragging men sometimes, don’t we?

      I didn’t want to smile too much in the “official” beard photos, because the focus is on the growth, not my beatific face!

    3. Greg Burgas

      I knew you’d be reading, so I should have put this in the actual post, but we went to this restaurant in Oklahoma and I had schnitzel with an egg on it (as seen here). When I lived in Germany, my sister and I would only eat wiener schnitzel no matter where we ate (I mean, we were both younger than 8 when we lived there), so I tend to get it when we eat at German restaurants!

  5. Der

    So let me get this straight? You spent traveling in a RV for a week, went to a wedding, then went to a fair and STILL managed to lose weight? You are a strong willed man, I would be stuffing my mouth during the roadtrip at all times. Kudos to you Mr Burgas

    Or should I say Preacher/Priest Burgas?

    I must know if those deep fried oreos are good or not. They sound tasty but really dangerous

    This month I didn’t get anything, a couple of videogames(well, one, a friend lent me one) and I’m mostly playing games just because sometimes I get the itch to play something. But I’ve been reading all the Conan comics I got recently, I think I’m around issue 30? I love it so far, and in my headcannon the change between BWS on art(with a leaner, “younger” Conan) and then Buscema(with you know, buff as hell Conan) is a change that is made to imply the “growth” and the newfound maturity of Conan.

    I mean, he started as a young dude that doesn’t know anything but Buscema takes the reins when Conan lost some friends, knew the horrors of war and he is more jaded than before. I know that this is just headcanon, but whatever, it’s a great comic and I’m loving it

    1. Greg Burgas

      I’ve gotten better at resisting things, so it’s become easier. It was easy while we were driving, because I didn’t have a chance to eat to much due to the driving and I didn’t want to stop too much because maneuvering the RV was a pain. While I was at the fair I got funnel cake, because it had been too long since I’d had funnel cake, and that filled me up. I appreciate the nice words – I’m working hard on it! 🙂

      I feared the fried Oreos, so I still haven’t had them!

      Yeah, those Conans are terrific comics!

  6. Corrin Radd

    10 pounds in a year is a big deal. Great job!

    I’m a big fan of some of Piskor’s work so I read an issue of Red Room and wow do I regret it. I don’t think of myself as squeamish and I even enjoy quite a lot of gross out humor but that issue went so far beyond anything that I would ever want to see or read or think about. Sheesh!

    1. Greg Burgas

      Thanks! The year isn’t over yet, and now that it’s getting cooler I hope to take more walks and ride my bike, so I hope I can do even better over the next few months. I’m working!

      Yeah, Piskor went a bit nuts on this series, which is why I wrote that I hoped he got it out of his system!

  7. fit2print

    This would’ve, indeed, kicked ass and possibly qualified as the best ending to a BM story ever (not really but still…): “ I wanted an epilogue where Gordon, back in his study catching up on his TikToks, suddenly sits up straight and says, “Montoya!” before the smash cut to black.”

    On an unrelated note….

    Greg Burgas: “ Justin Fields is a terrible quarterback and this is one of the worst interceptions you will ever see:.”

    Daniel Jones ahead of MNF: “Hold my beer, Greg.”

  8. Der

    About watching things with your wife:

    We watch tv together. I rarely watch anything without her(except the news, I sometimes watch those) I mean we mostly watch anime but still, we watch it together. Also sometimes we watch Tom Cruise movies on Netflix, or random kid movies that my kid choses to watch(this month is Sing, over and over again)

    Usually I select what we see because I know her tastes and mine. We take recomendations from some friends that so far haven’t steered us wrong.

    For example, we watch One Piece together. I used to read One Piece(the manga is like a year or more ahead of the anime) but even when reading it was the “better experience”(Better art, better pacing) it was not the best experience for me because well, we had lots of fun talking about One Piece episode by episode, sharing theories and disliking characters and all that good stuff.

    But when I was reading ahead, it was not the same for us, I already knew what was happening and that changed our talks from theories to “tell me what comes next” and that wasn’t as fun, so I stopped reading ahead and now we watch together instead and that is way more fun. So in my case yeah, watching things with the wife/husband is the way to go

    1. Greg Burgas

      That’s very neat. I agree that it’s fun to discuss what might happen and where the story is going. My wife remembers books she reads a lot better than I do, I think, so when we’re watching an adaptation, she can comment on where it differs and how she sometimes has no idea where it’s going because it’s so different from the book. I don’t read as much fiction as she does, so maybe that has something to do with it. But I’m glad I’m not the only one! 🙂

  9. William Wilson

    “What the hell, you can actually fry an Oreo.
    How is that even a thing?”

    Dip it in batter and deep fry it, I would imagine.

    Most disgusting thing I have seen eaten, was a deep fried pizza in Glasgow.

  10. Looks like we only have one book in common this time. I ordered One Dark Knight but it hasn’t arrived yet. I thought about ordered Mosley but I ended up passing.

    Whoa whoa whoa, Sleepwalker’s like #2 or 3 villain 8-Ball is in Moon Knight!? Do I have to buy this?

    I did notice the Italian artists, and we also had a wave of Brazilian artists in the past. I think the internet has made it easier to find talent and allow them to work from wherever they live, and also, yes, they’re probably cheaper.

    I finally started paying attention to football during the pandemic, but since the Browns hired a sex offender, I have switched my allegiance to the Dolphins.

    How to with John Wilson is a great show. Dark Winds passes the time. If they ever make that U.S. remake of The Raid, Zahn McClarnon better play Mad Dog!

    I have a wedding to go to this weekend and it turns out I don’t fit into any of my suits anymore! So that’s fun. I cobbled together an outfit out of pieces.

    The best comics I’ve read recently are Superman vs Meshi from DC, which is a manga about a socially awkward Superman eating at chain restaurants in Japan and losing his mind over how good the food is– that’s literally it, and it’s super delightful– and Oni’s collection of Mindless Ones’ Dan White’s Cindy and Biscuit comics, which is just phenomenal cartooning, and the story is like if Cindy Lou Who took a baseball bat to the Grinch and stole his dog and then they went on adventures in British folk horror.

    1. Greg Burgas

      Re: Moon Knight: Probably not. 8-Ball has shown up a few times in the series, and in this collection, he only shows up in a few panels because he knows something about the other ridiculous bad guys who are in the book. It’s a fun cameo, but still just a cameo.

      Man, the Browns really went all in on the creepiness, didn’t they? Sigh.

      I saw that Superman-versus-food manga, and I couldn’t bring myself to buy it. It’s still at my comic book shop, so maybe I’ll pick it up!

  11. Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

    Much as I agree with the Russian refugee from Derry Girls that the conflict in the North was and is “So Stupid!” I’d add that the conflict wasn’t really about religion, per se.

    The Protestant presence in Northern Ireland was and is a project of English imperialism, wherein Protestant settlers from Scotland and Northern England arrived in droves in the early 17th century, in order to murder the natives and take their land.

    It was the same model as the one used in Virginia and Massachusetts, and it happened at the same time (it was even called the “Plantation” of Ulster!)…but the Irish just had guns, steel, and herd immunity from English diseases, so they weren’t wiped out to nearly the same extent.

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