Monday, December 28, 2009

The Chill - Ross Macdonald

A special thanks to Ford Thomas for the hookup.

To bring it back to crime fiction, I recently took a heart-pounding stroll into the world of paperback novels. And as the title suggests, I read a Ross Macdonald work - The Chill, which was originally published in 1964.

The Chill starts out offering Detective Lew Archer, Macdonald’s MVP, the simple case of tracking down a runaway wife for a determined and very caring husband, but quickly the book reveals its true notions when the simple case explodes into Archer solving three murders….at once! The past always comes back to haunt, right? Now, in today’s form of crime fiction, a complex, twisting plot is nothing new – it is pretty much expected. But, in 1964 and even earlier in Macdonald’s career, probably not so much the case as I would dare to guess. Yeah, you probably had a few choice stories, but overall it was not a common thing – especially in crime fiction paperbacks.

Reading the book in its context, the structure and style are truly remarkable. Even in today’s standards, the book is still as riveting as ever. It is a plot that constantly grows and invites the reader to piece together along side Archer. How? Well, Macdonald does an awesome job providing so many suspects. And, leaning on Macdonald’s knack for penning three-dimensional characters, the book’s cast is one that holds weight. I absolutely loved the way he introduced each character to the reader. Macdonald lays out their connection to the case, but he also subtlety hints at the character’s flaw – that flaw is what tunes the reader in to question the characters presence and raises suspicion.

And, you cannot forget Macdonald’s dialog. Like any master of the form, the man’s dialog provides such a slick texture to the story that just allows the reader to continue for hours. Yeah, some of the dialog sounds like what a reader would expect from dry wit detective, but it is the way Macdonald structures the banter between characters that gives the book its flow.

From what I could gather of Macdonald’s writing in this one book, it appears to me that his style has had some significant influence of the contemporary stuff. His characters have depth, and the way he writes leans more towards the psychological aspects of people and how specific situations affect them. That idea makes it so that I need to read all of the man’s work. Overall, I just really enjoyed The Chill. The book has re-ignited my excitement to read more novels, and it has opened up the door for me to explore another writer of the crime fiction genre.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Santa Digs Me and My Show

So, I started this podcast a year ago as a fun experiment that quickly became a passionate hobby of mine. Now, time to be professional, baby. And that means equipment. So, the powers that be felt it necessary to help out in that area this Christmas Day.

Enter: the Xenyx 1204 Premium 12-Input 2/2 Bus Mixer with Xenyx Mic Preamps, British EQs and USB/Audio Interface from Behringer....alright, you got me, I do not understand all of that lingo, but hey, I'll learn with time. Check it!

So, yeah, I've got a nice mixer now, and I am pumped for the future. Next step: a professional microphone. Look for an update Monday or Tuesday on that front. Merry Christmas, all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Love Getting Gifts...

One of the coolest things about the community of podcasts I belong to is the TRUE community aspect. A majority of the people who listen, converse and podcast themselves all tend to be sincerely nice people - something that can be hard to find...especially on the internet.

So, this year The Comic Geek Speak Forum held its annual gift exchange program. The usual consists of your "Secret Santa" drawing a sketch of the character of your choice alongside a small stack of comics that may not always be considered top-notch. Nontheless, it is always a fun exchange and it brings about that holiday feel.

This week I recieved my package from Mr. Travis Fowler...and, man, what a holiday treat.

Yes. Alongside Miracleman #1 and a Chris Giarusso Spider-man sketch (if that wasn't enough), the man also sent along all three volumes of Jeff Lemire's Essex County, issues #107-110 & #116-119 & #500 of Ed Brubaker's Daredevil, issues #1-3 of Comics Now magazine, issue #1 of the new Doom Patrol series from Keith Giffen, Teen Titans Lost Annual, issue #1 of the Waid/Perez Brave and the Bold, issues #1-6 of the Adam Beechen Batgirl, Super Real TPB, and Attack of the Monstrology TPB.

So, as you can tell - Mr. Fowler is awesome. Plain and simple. Thank you, Mr. Fowler.

But, to all you thinking my title of "I Love Getting Gifts..." implies my range of joy is limited, think again. To me, giving is just (or even more) important as getting. I could sit here and tell you about all the gifts or time I gave this year, but I don't want to come off as boasting. I just want you all to keep in mind that it is not all about the getting. Sometimes giving brings the greatest joy (corney, yes, but true).

Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Episode 56 - Comic Talk

This week I return to the norm and review plenty of my recent comic book reading. Plus, a review of James Cameron's Avatar.

Books Discussed
The Black Coat - One Shot
Powers Vol. 3 #1
Egg #1
Criminal: The Sinners #2
Greek Street #1-5 "Blood Calls for Blood"

Music Featured is by The Counting Crowes

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Avatar - I Saw It

Yep. The new James Cameron visual spectacular - I saw it. And you know what?


With this movie, Cameron takes the expected "hero's journey" tale and injects it with high design work and amazing visuals to mold a theater experience. Yes, experience, I dare say....because it was.

You go to this film, put your ass in that seat, projection rolls and you are off to Pandora (the film's fictitious world) right along with the actors. It exists - seriously. For those 160 minutes, it exists in your mind. You don't question it. All of the creatures, the Na'vi tribe, the technology.... it all preoccupies physical space to you as a user. That feeling, that sensation all boils down to Cameron's team of designers, concept artists, effects specialists and 3D modelers who pay attention to the details - the very niche details.

I just cannot stress enough how wide the world of Pandora appears to be. It is truly incredible for a film.

If I could say anything bad (not even bad, really) about it, I would say that the story is a little bit worn. It's the typical good guys vs. bad guys/nature vs. industrialism flick and you have the some-what arrogant guy transform into the true heroic leader. It has the normal beats that you would expect. But, in the end, this movie is about going to the world and having a fucking adventure. You cheer for the good guys and spit at the bad guys. You sit at the edge of your seat during the epic battle at the end. It is a movie theater's movie - that's what it should be.

So, SEE IT! IN THEATERS! There is no other way to watch it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Episode 55 - Movie Talk

This week I sit down, go over some e-mail, and review (what I consider) a lot of movies. Enjoy, people.

Movies Discussed
Bad Lieutenant
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Pulp Fiction

Music Featured is by Lady Gaga.

Download / iTunes / Forum

Friday, December 11, 2009

Episode 54 - Alex Grecian of Proof

Yep, that title is no mistake. In this edition of TW, I have the pleasure of speaking to Mr. Alex Grecian (Co-Creater/Writer of Proof) about his writing process, his comic book career and all things Proof. It was an experience getting to talk to him, and as you can imagine I am very excited about this one. Do. Not. Miss.

Music featured is by The Rantings of Eva.

Download / iTunes / Forum

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Episode 53 - Top 10 Comic Book Stories

This week I call for a little help. Friend and co-host Joe Aulisio stops by the "studio" and converses with me about our Top 10 favorite comic book stories. Our personal picks make the cutting room floor, and a l0t of diversity finds its way into our chat. Listen in and see if you agree with what we highlight.

Music Featured is by Faith No More

Friday, November 27, 2009

Episode 52 - Comic Talk

I've been reading a lot, and this week it is time to discuss it all in this edition of...Comic Talk.

Items Discussed
Batman & Robin #6
Doctor Mid-Nite #1-3
Cowboy Ninja Viking #1
Sword #1
Punisher #11
Opposable Thumbs
X-Men: Children of the Atom #1-6

Music featured is by Bad Brains.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Episode 51 - Caught in the Web

This week I am a total (TOTAL) geek because I am talking about the awesomesauce that is Spider-man. All in the form of a recent review and a retro review. That's it! BOOOOM! Listen to it.

Items Mentioned
Web of Spider-man #1
Spider-man 2099 #1-3

Music featured is by Black Flag

Download / iTunes / Forum

PR: Episode 51 in Transit

The episode is not yet released, but I just wanted to assure all who were wondering that the show IS done. But, due to recent events surrounding the Comic Book Noise family of podcasts (Passing of Eric Martin, Server Move) the show is taking a bit of time to be hosted for download. Please be patient. The show will appear as soon as I have confirmation.

Thank you for your support & understanding.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chemical Box Injection #5 - Haunt #1

The Overdose Edition? WHAT?! Listen in as Alec and Joe discuss the uber important Haunt #1 from Image Comics and drop a little news. Peace, love, and fuck you.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Episode 50 - Comic Talk & A Look Back

The milestone! This week I take a look back on TW thus far and give thanks to all those who have supported and followed. Also, an e-mail, audio comments and a plethora of comic book reviews. Fifty in the can, ladies & gents, but I'm sure not done.

Items Discussed
The Darkness: Accursed Vol. 2
Deadman: Exorcism
The Factor #0
Northlanders Vol. 1
Sleeper: Season 2
Superboy (1994) #60-64
Unwritten #6
Young Liars Vol. 1

Music featured is by The Deftones.

Download / iTunes / Forum

Friday, November 6, 2009

Episode 49 - Paranormal Activity & Comic Talk

One hour of movie & comic book reviews from your host, Alec Berry.

Items Discussed
Batman #692
Blackest Night: Batman
Criminal: The Sinners #1
Detective Comics #857
Fantastic Four #572
Justice League of America #38
Paranormal Activity
Proof #23

Music featured is by PJ Harvey & Sneaker Pimps

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Episode 48 - Tristan Jones of Mirage Studios

The longest episode yet! This week I talk to up & coming comic book scribe, Tristan Jones, about his work on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, his film school adventures, and his writing process. Also, we shoot the shit about the current comics that have us jazzed. And! Respect for Charlie Huston!! Plus, I provide a review on TMNT Collected Volume 1, and speak upon the recent news involving the TMNT and Nickelodeon. Fun abound in this one!

Music featured is by Stone Temple Pilots.

Download / iTunes / Forum

Friday, October 23, 2009

Episode 47 - Comic Book & Movie Talk

This one is old school, ladies & gents. This week I say audios to the Question of the Week (for reasons which are explained) as I lay down the comic book talk with a great movie mixed in. Check it!

Items Discussed
The Brothers Bloom
Batman #'s 688 - 691
Batman & Robin #5
The Incredible Hulk #'s 215-232
Nomad: Girl Without a World #1
Savage Dragon #152

Music Featured is by God Lives Underwater & Glassjaw

Download / iTunes / Forum

Friday, October 16, 2009

Episode 46 - Album Commentary: "The Sufferer and the Witness"

This week's episode has a theme. Join in as I read the responses to the Question of the Week, which leads into my commentary on Rise Against's The Sufferer and the Witness. Music with a message, folks!

Music Featured is by Rise Against.

Download / iTunes / Forum

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chemical Box Injection #4 - Wednesday's Comics

Alec, Joe, and special guest Darrell Taylor converse upon the topic of the recently wrapped up Wednesday's Comics. The likes, the dislikes, and opinions galore!


Friday, October 9, 2009

Episode 45 - Vengeance!

Moon Knight, baby!! This week I bring the marathon attitude. Reviews & The Question of the Week.

Items Discussed
Vengeance of the Moon Knight #1
Unwritten #5
Unknown Soldier Vol. 1

Music Featured is by Minor Threat.

Download / iTunes / Forum

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Episode 44 - Feedback, Reviews & Adam Britt of The Last Exalted

A giant episode this week (in my terms)! I bring the e-mails, the Question of the Week, Announcements, Reviews and a Creator Interview. So, what are you waiting for? Listen in!

Books Mentioned
Awesome 2: Awesomer
House of Mystery
The Last Exalted

Music Featured is by The Fratellis.

Download / iTunes / Forum

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Chemical Box - Injection #3

They're back! In this episode, Joe and Alec hold a discussion with their friend Will Sabatini and talk about the Windy City Comic Con and all of its awesomeness. Later in the show Joe and Alec talk about the newly adapted Surrogates, movie trailers and mix CDs.

Download / iTunes

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Episode 43 - Philip Tan Haters, Don't Hate!

Answer time! This week I review the responses to the first Question of the Week, and I also run down a list of recent reads.

Books Mentioned
Dark Reign: The List - Daredevil
Batman & Robin #4
Dark Avengers #9
Deadpool #15
X-Force #17 & 18

Music Featured is by Sonic Youth.

Download / iTunes / Forum

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Episode 42 - Sweet Zombie Union

This week I will try once again to kick-start a new show segment (seriously, I mean it this time). After that, it is just a few recent reads and the usual B/S.

Books Discussed:
Marvel Zombies Vol. 1
Sweet Tooth #1
Union Station

Music Featured is by Red Tape.

/ iTunes / Forum

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Episode 41 - Ultimate Comics Spider-man

One topic. Thirty minutes. You know what you get? Spider-Geekfest.

Yep, I am taking a look at the Ultimate Comics Relaunch and how it affects my favorite character. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Again, just tune in to hear me be a geek. That's the hook of this episode...right?

Music featured is by Beck.

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Quick Hit Review

Dark Reign – The List: Avengers

Written By: Brian Michael Bendis

Pencils: Marko Djurdjevic

Inks: Mark Morales

Colors: Marte Gracia

Review By: Alec Berry

I had no interest in Dark Reign’s beginning, yet the tail end of the status quo’s existence is dragging me back to the Marvel Universe full force. Dark Reign – The List: Avengers kicks off a series of eight one-shot/special issues that entail what seems to be Norman Osborn’s full-force (if not final) siege upon the world of Marvel Heroes. As Osborn sees it, it is time to bring some real change to the world and take full control of the way things function – mainly the freedoms of the world’s largest super-powered individuals who constantly threaten his presence at the top.

This book did what all event-focused books should: take existing characters that we all know at the core and study them from another angle while exploring their reactions, attitudes and character under unusual and even extreme circumstances. Bendis does this by simply focusing on two different sides of the Norman Osborn argument: kill him or bring him to justice? The idea creates an interesting divide within the Avengers team, and it also allows reflects upon what makes the characters of Captain America, Spider-man and Clint Barton who they are. Ultimately, this question is what moves the plot of the issue and places a specific character in an interesting position which will surely see farther exploration in the core Avengers book (New Avengers).

The artwork within this issue is also very well produced – the tag team of Djurdjevic, Morales and Gracia work well in their collaboration implanting a tone of desperation and almost futility. Djurdjevic also captures the sequential feel quite nicely, which is shocking for the amount of cover work he produces.

All and all, this was well worth the read and adds to my growing curiosity of the current Marvel Comics landscape. Yet, to place a warning to potential consumers, this book is not oversized for the 3.99 price tag. It may feel heavy when picked off the spinner rack, but don’t let the dual eight-page previews of Dark Reign – The List: Daredevil & Dark Reign – The List: X-Men fool you. But, I will not linger on that complaint – I still bought it holding that knowledge after all. But yes, Dark Reign: The List – Avengers is a nice example of a good event-centric comic book; it packs interesting looks at favorite characters, gorgeous artwork and a cliff-hanger that leaves the reader curious for more.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Quick Hit Review

Fantastic Four #570

Written By: Jonathan Hickman

Art By: Dale Eaglesham

Colors: Paul Mounts

What can I say, this was an exceptionally good start to an exciting run. Hickman took Marvel’s First Family and brought them back to their basics: exploring the angles of family relationships, what makes the characters who they are and the questions of the larger landscape under a cosmic curtain. Yet, with that said, Hickman’s take on the team is not the same old campfire tale fans are used to. Within this issue Hickman is planting the seeds for what could be a very memorable take and exploration of the Fantastic Four, or namely the team’s leader.

The character of Reed Richards seems to be setup as Hickman’s main focus, to the point that I think this run may be more of a Mr. Fantastic story than a Fantastic Four story. He takes a sure-minded character and turns him upside-down leaving him in question: Reed Richards the genius is now beginning to wonder if he is truly always right in his judgment. This take on the character is a very interesting one because it is not what is expected nor is usually seen from him, and Hickman now seems to be introducing a surprising angle to make Mr. Fantastic more than two-dimensional. Also, the reader sneaks a peek at the pressure Richards deals with being the world’s smartest man. The world is not perfect, even with super-powered beings, and Richards wishes to change that with his countless projects, sleepless nights and even ideas he must keep hidden from the rest of his family. Richards sees himself as the world’s last chance as he stands on the brink of fixing everything with his scientific power.

I was excited about this run when it was first announced, and that excitement has carried through with the actual reading. Jonathan Hickman has kicked off a promising run for the Fantastic Four, one that could possibly show us the characters in a way we never imagined.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Episode 40 - A Marvelous Podcast

Yes, I am going to talk about the obvious(Disney/Marvel). I know, I know - how original. But, that was not the true intention of Episode 40 (Listen to discover the details)! Other than the obvious, I dive into a batch of recent reads and a newly found enjoyment of event comics (gasp!).

Music featured is by T-rex.

Download / iTunes /Forum

Friday, August 28, 2009

Episode 39 - My Life As a Podcaster

It's time to reflect. This episode is a calm one (sorry, Chemical Box listeners) as I discuss what I am doing with the medium, how it has affected me and where I plan to go. Also, I take a look at an Original Graphic Novel and a movie.

Music featured is by Dead Kennedys.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Chemical Box - Injection #2

We're back! This time Joe and me have one of our normal conversations about life, shitty jobs, reality TV, movies and comic books. This is the direction, folks: The Chemical Box is all about broadcasting conversations.

Download / iTunes

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Episode 38 - Archibald the Grey Alien

Some shout outs, recent reads, movies, and film franchise news that involves a character near and dear to my heart. Also, smoking aliens. Yeah, I said it.

Music Featured is by Lupe Fiasco.

Download / iTunes / Forum

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Episode 37 - Camilla Belle, Call Me.

I mean that too. You should call me.... Oh, hello, faithful TW'ites! In this week's installment I discuss and geekout at length at the awesomeness that is the recent adventures of the Amazing Spider-man. I also cover a few other recent reading experiences worth noting, a movie, an e-mail, and a random tangent. Something for everyone in this episode. Dig it.

Music Featured is By Norma Jean.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Back to the Bins - Episode 18

Time for a curtain call. This is an episode with plenty of random comic book fun and a special announcement.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Episode 36 - Satisfaction!

I Can't Get No!

Talk of street festivals, a movie, some comics and geeky comic book habits. This episode is pretty mellow, yet well worth the love.

Music Featured is by Beulah.

Download / iTunes / Forum


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Chemical Box - Episode 1

In this installment the guys chat about Comic Con 2009 news items that they themselves found exciting, yet were met with little talk. Voices in this episode provided by Joe Aulisio, Alec Berry, & Matthew Hammack.


Monday, August 3, 2009

TW Presents: Matinee Idles - Prequel

You heard about it on TW #34, and here it is. Matinee Idles the new podcast featuring myself (Alec Berry), Matt Burden, Joe Aulisio, & Vern Griffiths. We will discuss and debate classic film selections while also shooting the breeze on some recent watches. Matinee Idles will work one part as a "movie club" podcast which will make group selections allowing the listeners to play along, and one part four friends talking about current movies and shooting the shit.

Matinee Idles - Prequel

A prequel! A prequel! In this short installment the guys get together, break the show idea, give history on themselves, BS in a general sense, and announce their first Movie Club selection. Download this now, people! You want to witness the beginning!

Download / iTunes / Blog

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ford's Focus - July 20th 2009 to July 28th 2009

Written by: Ford Thomas


*Batman: City Of Crime TP (library)

*Miss: Better Living Through Crime TP (library)

*Epicurus The Sage TP (library)

*Blackest night: Tales Of The Corps #2(of 3)

*Final Crisis: Legion Of Three Worlds #5(of 5)

*Gotham City Sirens #2

*Green Lantern #44

*Supergirl #43

*Wednesday Comics #3(of 12)

*Jack Of Fables #36

*Amazing Spider-Man #600

*Doctor Who #1

*You Have Killed Me HC

*Asterios Polyp HC

*The Adventures Of Sock Monkey TP (borrowed)


*everything ‘bought’

*(half of) Asterios Polyp HC

When I woke up this morning I realised that I’m starting to get that 52 feeling with Wednesday Comics. What’s more exciting is that tomorrow is new comic day. New comic day for me used to be anywhere from Thursday afternoon to sometime Saturday and then came along 52. It was a DC experiment that worked, or at least it did for me. It succeeded in getting me down to the shop every week as close to the time the new comics hit the shelves as possible. I even remember a couple of weeks where I would pick up 52 with my last couple of bucks for the week. I was hooked, some weeks were better than others but the prospect of a new instalment the next week written by four of my favourite writers with a rotating cast of good artists who transformed into great artist over the course of the series, this kept me coming back every week.

I’m finding that my Wednesday Comics reading experience is starting to settle into a routine. I flip through it immediately before heading home to read it. With the flip through I’ve found that I stop and read one of two of the strips before getting to the rest of them. The Sgt, Rock strips has been the one that consistently makes me stop and pay attention and read straight away. Not sure what it is about it apart from the obvious, which is Joe Kubert’s art, something that I haven’t always been a fan off. I was a big fan of the Kubert sons (Andy and Adam. Adam writes the Sgt. Rock strip) when I was younger mostly due to my exposure to them on such titles as X-Men and Wolverine.

Neil Gaimen and Mike Allred’s Metamorpho strip has absolutely blown me away the past two weeks with it’s huge one panel pages. It’s been a nice reminder why I stick with Mike Allred through thick and thin. Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner’s Supergirl strip which at first seemed like the odd man out is proving to be a great balance to some of the ‘weightier’ pages. This is great because it shows the great diversity of genres comics can tackle, and within it’s fifteen tales Wednesday Comics delivers action, mystery, adventure, comedy, etc and mostly through using superheros as window to all this.

Episode 35 - Breakdowns on Casanova Pt. 7

The finale of my special look at Casanova!

Music featured is by The Beatles

Download / iTunes / Forum

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Episode 35 - Breakdowns on Casanova Pt. 6

The penultimate chapter of my continuing look at Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba's Casanova!

Music Featured is by The Beatles.

Download / iTunes / Forum

Friday, July 31, 2009

Episode 35 - Breakdowns on Casanova Pt. 5

Part 5 of 7 of my continuing look at Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba's Casanova.

Music Featured is by The Beatles.

Download / iTunes / Forum

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Episode 35 - Breakdowns on Casanova Pt. 4

Double Nirvana!!

Part 4 of 7 of my continuing look at Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba's Casanova.

Music Featured is by The Beatles.

Download / iTunes / Forum

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Episode 35 - Breakdowns on Casanova Pt. 3

Part 3 of 7 of my continuing look at Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba's Casanova.

Music Featured is by The Beatles.

Download / iTunes / Forum

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Episode 35 - Breakdowns on Casanova Pt. 2

Part 2 of 7 of my continuing look at Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba's Casanova.

Music Featured is by The Beatles.

Download / iTunes / Forum

Monday, July 27, 2009

Episode 35 - Breakdowns on Casanova Pt. 1

Part 1 of TW's daily look at Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba's Casanova. From here on out prepare yourself for espionage, deja vu, and whacked-out personalities.

Music Featured is by The Beatles.

Download / iTunes / Forum

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Episode 34 - K-Billy's Super Sounds of the 70s

Comics! Movies! E-mail! Announcements! A lot of Ed Brubaker (I like this in a non-creepy way but in a man-love way)! It's all in this episode. Not to be missed for you TW addicts!

Comics & Movies Mentioned
Batman: Streets of Gotham
Gotham City Sirens
Murder, My Sweet
Reservoir Dogs
Sleeper: Season 1
Tales of the TMNT

Music featured is by Stealer's Wheel.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Back to the Bins - Episode 15

Pulling out the Long Boxes once again this week to get our Back Issue fix!


Monday, July 20, 2009

Ford's Focus - July 13th 2009 to July 17th 2009

Written by: Ford Thomas

*The Amazing Spider-Man: Brand New Day Vol. 1 HC (library)
*The Amazing Spider-Man: Brand New Day Vol. 3 TP (library)
*Captain America: To Serve And Protect TP (library)
*American Virgin Vol. 1: Head TP (library)
*Captain America Reborn #1(of 5)
*Action Comics #879
*Batman: Streets Of Gotham #2
*Blackest Night #1(of 8)
*Blackest Night: Tales Of The Corps #1(of 3)
*Fables #86
*Incognito #5
*JSA vs. Kobra #2(of 6)
*Killer #9(of 10)
*Rasl #5
*Scalped #30
*Wednesday Comics #2(of 12)
*Madame Xanadu Vol. 1: Disenchanted TP
*Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter HC

*everything ‘bought’

If I could only read one comic a month it would be Scalped, no doubt about it. Month in month out this is confirmed. There were lots of great comics this week, some big splashes but it was Scalped that won out as my favourite book this week. I’m not sure if I react the way I do to Scalped with any other book. There are audible reactions, usually in the particularly gory/shocking moments but more so for the reasons beyond the violent acts themselves. Quite frequently I’ll start crapping on about what I’m reading while I’m half through it or immediately after in the form of incomprehensible nonsense to my spouse if she’s unlucky enough to be in the house at the time. But there are never gasps and winces of pain with anything but Scalped. These gory moments are so good because of everything they’re surrounded by, all the horrible, despicable characters and the terrible situations they find themselves in.
Scalped #30 as well as being the first issue in the five-part arc The Gnawing could also work as a good ‘jumping on point’. A new reader probably won’t have a clue who most of the characters are by the end of the issue and the scenes won’t have as much weight as they would without having read the previous 29 issues but the scenes are more than strong enough to draw a new reader in. There is also the strong feeling of imminent doom which draws in you like a good mystery but you know bad stuff is happening to everyone you just don’t know the when and how and sometimes the why.

The two volumes of Spider-Man Brand New Day that I read this week were mostly re-reading and a bit of following up on up where I left off, and it was a lot of fun. Wise-cracking is major part of the Spider-Man persona but rarely has it ever made me laugh, maybe it’s never made me laugh and at it’s best it comes across as a care free attitude which when done right is just as good if not better. Throughout both volumes most of the wisecracks did their job and got laughs out of me (guess this contradicts the above slightly), most of them I had read numerous times before in the case of the issues contained in volume one.
With Spider-Man coming out three times a month beginning with Brand New Day firstly I’d found it enjoyable and knowing the cliffhangers would be followed up within a week or two at most made the new weeks releases that little bit more exciting. But after a while I felt that the book was good and slightly above average, so I stopped reading it. Reading eleven issues in quick succession gave me the feeling of wanting to follow it up immediately by picking up the following trades. Sadly this feeling dissipated after a couple of days but thankfully it did because this week was a pretty big week of purchases for me. This is something that has been happening quite a lot lately after reading large chunks of some series, when I’m reading them I don’t want it to stop but then I find after a day or two I don’t care (as was the case with The Walking Dead Compendium). Having said all that, some things in the Brand New Day volumes worked even better in quick succession such as the references to “the Parker luck” which was especially hilarious in Amazing Spider-Man #559, that begins with Spider-Man chasing Screwball “the world’s first ‘live streaming super-villain’” who on escaping from Spider-Man says “Yeah? Well I’ve got a li’l thing called…the parkour luck!”. This is then later reused when Peter Parker is on his paparazzi beat and he is acrobatically avoids some disgruntled bodyguards and says “Yep. And I’ve got the Parker Luck!”.

Breakdowns on Casanova!

Alright, the time is approaching, and I am calling out to you all to inform. For the week of July 27th, 2009 Teenage Wasteland will be releasing daily installments for your podcast consumption, all in which will focus on a particular issue of Casanova Vol. 1 - Luxuria.

Each episode, as I mentioned, will focus on a specific issue in its reading order. I will provide the plot, looks at specific moments, and my general impressions. In a nutshell, these episodes will be SPOILER FILLED, and I encourage all who plan to listen to read along or re-read if you have done so before. I also encourage lovers of the book to check out the show forum (here)and discuss the specific issues in the episode feedback threads. I want to get a good discussion brewing over the book among many different people and talk comics for the sake of comics.

So, on July 27th check back at this blog or search Teenage Wasteland in iTunes and listen in. Get ready for a week full of audio on Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba's zany, spy comic. Now, go read the book! Do it!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Episode 33 - Shawn Pryor of PKD Media

In this edition I am joined by Shawn Pryor: visionary, comic creator and chief of PKD Media. Shawn was kind enough to sit down and have a one hour discussion covering his creative endeavors and his life as a business man holding the reigns of PKD Media. This episode is not to be missed! You know why?? Because, I am channeling Siuntres!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Back to the Bins - Episode 14

Pulling out the Long Boxes once again this week to get our Back Issue fix!


Monday, July 13, 2009

SOAPSTone on Enough

For any written work a reader should be able to distinguish two layers of structure: one being the surface level plot thread and the second being the deeper intent and the author’s purpose. Enough by Bill McKibben opens the door and sheds some light on the dusty opinion of an environmentalist who lives in the world built by the futurist. McKibben, as an author and environmentalist, has a strong opinion of leaning humanity more on natural solutions, localized economies, and the strength of community. He seems to be a man who wishes to build a compromise between technology and the earth, creating some sort of fusion of old and new world ideas. With this world we nurture today, McKibben sees it as important that we get a hold of ourselves when it comes to how much we allow technology and these “new gods” to anchor themselves within our lives. He’s writing this book now because he sees the time as the turning point in our collective human history.
Enough is a book filled with metaphors and science lingo. Mainly for the reason that it is supposed to jog one’s mind into overactive thought. With that said, McKibben writes Enough not for the average audience, instead it is for those who ask the questions and think about the larger picture. He intends as an author and a voice to, again, make you, as a reader, ask the questions. McKibben wants to you dust off that moral line and modify it to your own specifications for this new age of ethics. Those ethics being the question of whether man should be able to “play god” in a sense and change the species by the use of genetic engineering and nanotechnology.
McKibben as the author sees the coming of the “engineered age” as a post-human dystopia where we will loose our individuality and sense of humanity. With that in mind, the tone of Enough is all about persuasion and defending a personal opinion. McKibben can also come as a somewhat self-centered person in spots. Yet, for a work like this, it is a tone that is needed. McKibben needs to play himself up as the “only right man” on the planet, otherwise why would a reader allow themselves to trust anything the man is saying.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Episode 32 - I Have Something to Say

Some recent comic book reads and the introduction of the brand spankin' new 'Writer Watch' segment can all be found within this fine episode. Yay, audio!

Titles Mentioned:
Batman & Robin
Captain America: Reborn
Greek Street
Jersey Gods
Justice League: Cry for Justice
Justice League International

Music Featured is by Metallica

Download / iTunes / Forum

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Back to the Bins - Episode 13

Pulling out the Long Boxes once again this week to get our Back Issue fix!


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ford's Focus - June 29th 2009 to July 5th 2009

Written by: Ford Thomas


*Buffy The Vampire Slayer #26

*Batman And Robin #2

*Green Lantern Corps #38

*Justice League: Cry For Justice #1

*Locke And Key: Head Games #6

*Echo #13

*Chew #2

*Batman Confidential #31

*Greek Street #1

*Uptight #3

*The Perfect Planet and Other Stories TP

*Sleeper Vol.1: Out in the Cold TP (library)

*Sleeper Vol.2: All False Moves TP (library)

*Sandman Mystery Theatre: Sleep Of Reason TP (library)


*Oishinbo: Ramen and Gyoza TP

*Starman Omnibus Vol. 3 HC

*Blazing Combat HC

*Athena Voltaire: The Complete Web Comics TP

*Athena Voltaire: Flight Of The Falcon TP

*Superman: The Man Of Steel #90

*R.E.B.E.L.S. #1-4

*The Mighty #1-4

*Flash: Rebirth #1-3

*Blackest Night #0

*Final Crisis Aftermath: Run! #1, Escape #1, Dance #1, Ink #1

*everything ‘bought’

A new week brought more Starman for me. As I mentioned last week it has taken me a while to warm up to Starman in the omnibuses for a few reasons, mostly the gaps between reading them, but also the few years since my first experience with Starman. It shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise that the contents of volume three really hit home for me as some of my favourite Starman moments are contained within it, as well as Starman Annual #2, my introduction to Starman as the lead comic in the To Reach The Stars trade paperback.

The annual consists of three stories of ‘times past’ retold by Jack Knight to Sadie Falk’s (Jayne Payton) as their romance blossoms over different seasons of the year.

Volume three leads off with a four-part Shade mini-series; each issue featuring different artists and taking place in different times. It starts in the mid 19th century and ends in the late 90s where the Starman series was at the time the mini series’ publication. The strength of the series is in the singularity of each issue that when taken together creates a longer form story. I found this refreshing, after having read so much Starman lately I’ve become aware of the story meandering quite a lot. In small doses some issues can seem ordinary or at least until you hit an issue which really builds on the big picture, making you realise every issue has its reason and is a small part of a larger story that encompasses the entire series.

A good example of this is the story that kicks off the Infernal Devices arc in Starman #30 which builds on a few plot threads, and on the first page of #32 reads “six players gather on our stage…” Two of these players are Ted Knight and Solomon Grundy, both major players in the series but who aren’t featured in the previous two issues except for a couple of pages of Ted. From these lines we are given a clear sense that the story was written as a serial. While it could have been more effective to spend a little more time leading into where Solomon Grundy is placed as character, this can be forgiven by the end of the issue where we see Grundy’s greatest character moment and a high point in the series. These issues lead into two issues which contains cameos from Batman, Sentinel (the gold age Green Lantern) and Floronic Man but drops the villain The Infernal Dr Pip from the Infernal Devices issues, leaving his story partially unfinished. Both stories get wrapped up and tied together in #35. The highlight of this issue for me was when Batman revealed Crime and Misdemeanors as his favourite Woody Allen movie.

Issue #36 is a ‘time past’ story featuring the Will Payton the fifth Starman, which works a nice precursor to the revelation at the end of Annual #2. Next up in #37 is Talking With David, ’97, David is Jack’s deceased brother and the prior Starman who pays annual visits to Jack. The Talking With David issues are great for many reasons; they give Tony Harris’ art a chance to shine through in ‘colour’ palette of black, white and grey used in these issues where David is the only character to appear in colour. Each instalment takes place in a different setting, which fosters the growing affection between Jack and David who weren’t the closest of brothers while David was alive as well as a platform for Jack to receive some ‘hero tips’. #37 features seven dead heroes other than David, most of who were a part of the Justice Society, all of who have a nugget of hero-ing knowledge to pass on to Jack. #38 stops in with the new Mist as she nurses Jack and her baby while recounting a recent adventure that sealed her villainy status. The volume finishes up with Secret Files #1 and a story titled Talking With Ted… Talking With Jack… where Ted tells Sadie about Jack and Jack tells his tattooist about Ted. This is a nice cap to volume three because Starman is essentially a story about a father and his son.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Episode 31 - Comic & Movie Talk

I actually watched some movies. Three of them!! Yep, shocking I know.....wait....wait...ok, yeah, the sky is not falling. We're good! Also, some recent comic book reads to cap off this episode. Hope you dig!

Music Featured is by My Chemical Romance

Download / iTunes / Forum

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ford's Focus - June 22nd 2009 to June 28th 2009

Written by: Ford Thomas

*Electric Girl Vol.1 TP (library)
*Usagi Yojimbo #121
*Detective Comics #854
*Gotham City Sirens #1
*Green Lantern #42
*Superman #689
*The Literals #3(of 3)
*Madame Xanadu #12
*Proof #21
*Viking #2
*Daredevil #119
*Awesome 2: Awesomer TP
*20th Century Boys Vol.3 TP

*Agents Of Atlas #1-5
*B.P.R.D.: The Universal Machine #1-5
*20th Century Boys Vol.2 TP
*Light Of Thy Countenance GN
*Comic Books Comics #3
* League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century: 1910
*everything ‘bought’

Last week was a big B.P.R.D. week for me, which was very enjoyable. The week started with Plague Of Frogs (vol.3), which was even better a second time. Upon finishing The Black Flame (vol. 5) later in the week had made me want to continue reading through the future volumes. I started reading B.P.R.D. with what I guess might be volume 8 in single issues and then went to the next series before getting some back issues. So my reading of B.P.R.D. has been out of order but that hasn’t affected any of my reading, if anything it has improved the experience. This just shows the strength of the writing throughout each mini series’, each series are presented with a new title making them appear very new reader friendly, which they are. I found that every new arc fleshed out the past while adding extra weight to the present, which was exciting because it made you feel like you had made the discovery yourself. It also feels like any of these stories began when you started reading but from reading stories that came before my introduction to the B.P.R.D. series’ has further expanded the back story making me want to continue reading through additional series revealing more story developments in a new light. This week I re-read The Universal Machine, which wasn’t as revealing as the previous few volumes but contained an exciting main story whilst a majority of the characters sat around table telling stories that shed light on their pasts.
More revealing re-reading was done last week with Starman Omnibus Vol. 2. My Starman reading experience is similar to that of the B.P.R.D. in that I started in the middle and worked my way out and around till I’d read it all or as much as I could get my hands on. It’s been a few years since I first read Starman and what I found with the first Omnibus earlier this year was some of the shine had rubbed off. I wasn’t as awed by it as I was the first time. With each omnibus it has taken me a while to warm up (similar to Robinson’s current Superman run) to the writing that is very flowery and almost silver age (the word balloons are occasionally filled with almost pointless dialogue which isn’t quite stating what is being shown but also seems to retread over itself). In almost every balloon every other word is in bold to create inflections in the characters speech, this didn’t work for me at all and ultimately proved distracting. But after a few issues I got into the story and it proved to be a rewarding reading. The strength of the writing is definitely in the portrayal of the ensemble cast, each of whom are consistently given enough ‘screen time’ to progress their character and story and the readers affection of them. A treat for me was the Showcase issues that I hadn’t read before, especially the two part Shade story with Dr Fate (Showcase ’96 #4-5) which is from my memory the first mention of the Shade’s rival Culp who plays a big part later in the series, which was a big treat because it added more to the Starman ‘tapestry’ for me.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Episode 30 - A Hungover Detective

Coming at ya' quick this week as I break down a specific Comic Book and Movie.

Music Featured is by Rancid

Download / iTunes / Forum

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Back to the Bins - Episode 11

Pulling out the Long Boxes once again this week to get our Back Issue fix!


Monday, June 22, 2009

Ford's Focus - June 15th 2009 to June 21st 2009

Written by: Ford Thomas


*Action Comics Annual #12

*Batman: Streets Of Gotham #1

*Supergirl #42

*Jack Of Fables #35

*Madman Atomic Comics #16

*Incognito #4

*Tales Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #59

*20th Century Boys Vol.2 TP

*Starman Omnibus Vol. 3 HC

*Lazarus Jack GN (library)

*Blessed Thistle GN (library)


*Oishinbo: Sake TP

*Zero Girl #1-5

*Zero Girl: Full Circle #1-5

*Fun With Milk And Cheese TP

*French Milk GN

*Popgun Vol.3 TP

*B.P.R.D. Vol. 3: Plague Of Frogs TP

*B.P.R.D. Vol. 4: The Dead TP

*B.P.R.D. Vol. 5: The Black Flame TP

*(finished) My Inner Bimbo TP

*Starman Omnibus Vol. 2 HC

*Everything ‘bought’ except for Starman Vol.3 and 20th Century Boys

Food and comics, two of my favourite things, they rarely cross over and food might not seem like it could do so successfully beyond a visual point or as prop in a scene or as tool to bring characters together. But both French Milk and more so in Oishinbo prove that it can take centre stage in a comic book.

Lucy Knisley’s French Milk is an illustrated travelogue of her trip to Paris with her mother their birthdays (22 and 50 respectively). Not directly about food but on almost every page there is either a mention of food, an illustration of food and more often than not, both. The candidness of the writing at first seemed like it could be off putting but within a page or two I’d found that its honesty was positively charming, which was a relief because I had been looking forward to reading it for a very long time.

When I saw the cover last year in Previews I was instantly attracted to it because of it’s blend of photo and ink drawing, one of few times I’d seen this done well, which was exciting and good to see because when I was ten I had wanted to make a superhero comic using these mediums. Then the book lived on my Amazon wish list for many months. When Free Comic Book Day came around, I picked up a few things which have been sitting in my to read pile but have kept saving for later because I didn’t want them to be over if they were as good as I was hoping they would be (I’ll get to Athena Voltaire very soon). Needless to say French Milk lived up to and even surpassed all expectations I had. From the beautiful line work to the constant barrage of exciting food to the dilemmas of being an early twenty something, it was a pleasure to read.

Tetsu Kariya and Akira Hanasaki’s Oishinbo follows Yamaoka Shiro and Kurita Yuko on their unenviable task of creating the Ultimate Menu for Tozai News. Each volume of the series focus on a different subject, the first tackled Japanese cuisine and this week I read the one focusing on sake. Next in my pile is ramen and gyoza, forthcoming are on subjects such as sushi and sashimi, vegetables, etc.

On the surface this may seem like a very dry subject for a series but it is far from that. Each ‘chapter’ is about twenty pages and usually focuses on certain aspects of the food or drink that is featured. There is a constant story running through each volume that is easy to get into and is mainly there add more to the journey. At the same time as being extremely informative and interesting it is also filled with great moments of light hearted humour. The characters are depicted in a ‘cartoony’ manner while panels depicting buildings or food are highly detailed in a photo realistic style.

This could be a good introduction to manga for those who think that it is all speed lines and two or three panels per page. Most pages have six-ten panels and are dialogue heavy but never in an over used fashion.