27 May 2009

I'm Outta Here!

No, I'm not closing down this blog. Was that a groan I hear? Yeah? Well screw you! No, the mid-term school holidays are coming up here in Malaysia so I'm taking the family on our annual vacation trip. This year we're planning to travel to the northern Malaysian state of Trengganu. There will be no emails, no fax and no handphones. I don't care what happens to the outside world. I'm taking a break. I'll be back in a week or so. Maybe I'll write something about the holiday. Who knows, I might see something interesting/weird/scary. So adios, ciao, see ya. I will have to miss the opening Friday Night Fight at Spacebooger.com but family's first, man.

In the meantime, here's 'spiky' Ben Grimm:

Sorry, man. You're too late. I am sooooo outta here. Go ask the Beyonder or somebody else.

20 May 2009

In Which I Officially Thank Spacebooger

Because, you know, he made me Grand Champion of the recently concluded Friday Night Fights: O.P.P. (One Panel of Pain).

I would also like to thank William Messner-Loebs and Greg LaRoque for writing and and pencilling the sweet scene of a crying Wally West super-speed bitch slapping Mark "Manhunter" Shaw. That panel was like, totally rocking, you guys!

And the grand prize? A copy of the Superman IV: Quest for Peace comic. Mmm, yeah. Well, it's free and I'll bet it'll be good for a few laughs.

18 May 2009

Before The Identity Crisis Retcon, Dr. Light...

...was kinda of a dweeb. He was a joke, a B-list villain who couldn't even win against a bunch of kids. So John Ostrander got permission to use him in Suicide Squad, the mid-1980s comic where obscure DC villains get a second chance or get killed. No one knew what Ostrander wanted to do with Dr. Light so in #36, we were surprised when the Doctor actually wanted to turn over a new leaf and be a hero (after getting some pep talk from the ghost of Jacob Smith Finlay, the first Dr. Light).

So the new 'heroic' Dr. Light gets to prove himself in everyone's favourite dystopia, Apokolips, but not after more morale boosting from the ghost of Jacob Finlay.

It was all a trick! Finlay wanted revenge! But wait...

Poor Finlay. First he gets murdered then he gets to spend all eternity with his murderer because causing someone's death won't get you into Heaven. We all know now that (the second) Dr. Light is back on Earth and is actually a rapist (gee, thanks a lot, Dan Didio). So when was he resurrected? And who is that ugly troll? That creature is one of Satan's minions and Light himsellf would be resurrected in another awesome issue* of Suicide Squad, a series that had pure awesomeness oozing out its pages in just about every issue even though it was saddled with less than stellar pencillers all throughout its run.

*yeah, I plan to blog about that particular issue soon. It's a hoot, I tell you.

15 May 2009

It's 'Thankless Job Day'...

"HAPPY TEACHER'S DAY!!" to all educators wherever they are

14 May 2009

Screw Star Trek, I'll Be Watching MEGA SHARK vs. GIANT OCTOPUS

Seriously, I will be. I mean, Lorenzo Lamas and 1980's teen sensation Debbie Gibson are in it. This is classic Cinema Du Fromage!

Didja see that bit at the end of the clip when the mega shark jumps out of the ocean and attacks the airplane and the one passenger who saw the shark totally wet his pants? That was cool.

12 May 2009

Spin In Your Grave, Ms. Austen!

After waiting for a few months, it's finally here. Haven't read it yet and I won't have an opportunity to really tackle it until the end of the week but boy, I don't remember the last time I was this excited to be reading a Jane Austen novel. Let's hope this won't turn out to be one huge suck. I was promised ninjas, zombies and Elizabeth Bennet kicking butt so you better deliver, Seth Grahame-Smith!

11 May 2009

Good Comics Not Many People Read: Green Manor vol. 1 (Cinebook, 2008)

I'm getting burned out by superhero comics lately but I still love to read books with pictures and word balloons so it was quite serendipitous that I found out about Cinebook, a British publisher that translates European comics into English, and a damn fine job they're doing too. Check out their site and see some stuff that may not have come to the attention of fans of mainstream comics (read: US superhero comics)

I particularly like Green Manor, a French comic. It is actually a series of short stories, none longer than 8 pages, framed at the beginning and at the end of the book by a mental patient who claims that he used to be an employee of Green Manor. The Green Manor is an exclusive gentleman's club in Victorian England which on the surface doesn't make it any special than the other clubs...except that the patient insists that most of the Manor's posh members are nothing more than thieves, conmen and murderers (mostly murderers). His years there have made him privy to a lot of stories and it is these stories that he tells.

The stories themselves are quite enjoyable. Seeing as how none of them exceed 8 pages, the stories have to move along at a brisk pace and writer Fabien Vehlmann succeeds. That doesn't mean the stories are simple though. The plots are intriguing and the mysteries always end in some kind of twist. My favourite story in this volume is Post-Scriptum where a club member challenges another member to stop him from killing a woman by midnight the next evening. He actually succeeds in killing both his intended target and the man he challenged to stop his murderous plan but did not realise that his victim had prepared something beforehand, just in case. Vengeance from the beyond the grave, so to speak.

There is no gore in any of the stories. The killings are almost always off camera and artist Denis Bodart's cartoony style presents a nice contrast to the dark mood of the stories. It is a pity that Green Manor, despite being translated into English, would probably fail to capture the attention of comic fans outside of Europe. It is time we realise that there are a lot of good stuff out there that is not necessarily from the US. They may not feature powerful people in spandex punching other powerful people in spandex but these books are no less well written and illustrated. If you like murder mysteries, check out Green Manor from Cinebook. I bought mine from Amazon UK. I wished the creators had written more but there are only three volumes of the Manor (Cinebook combined the second and third books together so the English version only has two volumes).

08 May 2009

Friday Night Fights: OPP - round 12

You know what? Call it lazy, call it 'phoning it in'. I don't care. I've won TWO OPP fights, boyo! If I want to showcase something ho-hum like a middle aged Batman kicking Superman in the jaw, well then, by golly, I'll do it!

Spacebooger has more fights from the other guys...but none of them won twice!

Dark Knight Returns by Miller, Janson and Varley

06 May 2009

PROOF book 1: Goatsucker (Image, 2008)

Proof is John Prufrock. He's a talking Bigfoot, wears a suit and tie and works for The Lodge, a clandestine agency funded by both the US and Canadian governments to investigate reports of 'cryptids' or sightings of strange animals and if true, bring such animals back to The Lodge before anyone else sees them. It's for both the creature's and the human population's sake. Think X-Files but set in Washington state and Mulder is a 9-foot ape (or think Hellboy but without the Nazis).

Sure, it's hardly original but I love these kind of stories. In this first trade collection, Goatsucker, Proof gets a new human partner, Ginger Brown, who is transferred from the FBI to The Lodge when she is rescued in a hostage situation by a Golem in New York's Diamond District. Oh, it'll all make sense once you read the book! Trust me. In this first trade the principal players are introduced (other than Proof and Ginger, there's the Lodge's boss, Leander Wight) and then it's off to Minnesota to investigate an alleged sighting of the Chupacabra or 'Mexican Bigfoot'.

This Chupacabra doesn't suck goats, it sucks out the insides of humans and puts on their skin over its own, essentially passing itself off as human because it wants, for some reason, to kill Proof. We are not told why. Even the monster doesn't remember why. Being a first volume of an ongoing series, Proof naturally raises a lot of questions and hardly answering any of them but it is intriguing enough for me to go out and look for the second trade collection. I hope I'll get some answers then. I mean, Proof is an English speaking ape who works for the government. How the hell did that happen? Where's the backstory there? And who is Mi-Chen-Po? What's up with the Golem in New York? Answers, guys! Give me some! Yeah, I'm hooked, damn you.

04 May 2009

DC Comics Library: The Batman Annuals volume one

I know what I will be reading at work tomorrow...during lunchtime, that is, 'cause reading when you should be working is wrong.

I'm not a huge fan of the Silver Age Batman, having grown up reading his grim and gritty adventures post-Dark Knight Returns of the 1980s. Still, this panel sold me on this book:

Jungle Batman clubbing a panther! How can anyone not like that?

01 May 2009

Friday Night Fights: OPP - round 11

Sobek eats Osiris in the pages of 52 volume 4 by Johns, Morrison, Rucka, Waid & Giffen.

Spacebooger does the same to all the jerkwads he meets. That's just how he rolls.