Saturday, December 26, 2009

Updated Post

I updated the post for the week of 23 December 2009 to include JSA #34. Thanks to brainypirate for pointing it out to me.


Friday, December 25, 2009

My Favorite Christmas Present

My hubby, Thomas, made me this acrylic ornament at his laser shop. (The penny is there for scale.)

I'm thinking of wearing it as a pendant when appropriate.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Week of 23 December 2009

(SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers. Don't read it before you've read the comics.)
[Post edited on 26 December 2009 to include JSA #34]

"Merciless Part One of Two"
CUTE BOYS: Dr. Fate, Mr. America (and he has a whip!), Jeremy Karnes aka Karnevil aka Kid Karnevil aka All-American Kid (in bondage, no less)

I'd lost interest in the Justice Society. And after JSA All-Stars, I was even less inclined to pick up this issue.

Boy was I wrong.

This one has almost everything that makes a team comic good. Cute boys, teamwork, humor, cute boys with whips, good pacing, clever dialogue, cute boys on the floor with their legs spread, good art, Mordru, cute boys getting blown on the floor (I am not making this up), suspense, magic, cute boys being entered, technology, cute boys in bondage...all it lacks is Legionnaires. And nudity.

Mordru starts off as a disembodied spirit adrift in time, and winds up as a middle-aged version of himself with crazy eyes.


SUPERMAN #695 (2/10)
"Man of Valor Part Two"
ROLL CALL: Mon-El, Sensor Girl (Wilcox), Tellus, possibly others
CUTE BOYS: Chris Kent, Conner Kent, Jimmy Olsen, Mon-El

In the ongoing soap opera that is the Superman comics nowadays, all of the disparate threads are coming together into one tangled mess. While Wilcox and the other SPs capture Parasite, Mon regains his powers and chases off Bizarro...who vows to come back with a Bizarro Mon-El. Meanwhile, we learn more of Conner's secret mission to the Fortress of Solitude: Mon wants Conner to begin the repair of Mon's spaceship.

Mon can't tell the truth about General Lane and Project 7734 because Lane is way ahead of him. The only person who believes Mon about Chris and Thara being good is the dark-haired girl who may or may not be Duplicate Damsel. Wilcox greets Mon, who says he knows who she is (he doesn't; she's Jeckie in disguise). Mon dashes off in answer to Jimmy's signal watch, which is being held by Perry White.

Jimmy is still alive, but officially "dead" and in hiding. He was rescued and healed by Tellus. He's working with Natasha Irons, who is a double-agent inside Project 7734. Mon flies off to see Billi. Natasha goes to see her uncle, Steel, who is unconscious...but she uses her super-power of inspirational speech to bring him back to consciousness. Confused about his location, he demands an atlas.

Mon does the nasty with Billi, but then rushes off to where the SPs have discovered Nightwing and Flamebird.

BITS OF DAXAMITE HOT ACTION: When Mon finds out that Jimmy is still alive, he gives the boy reporter a really sweet hug. But with Perry and Natasha around, they can't really take it any further.

However, hugging Jimmy gets Mon so hotted up that he goes in search of Mitch. Unable to find his boyfriend, he has sex with Billi Harper. But notice: he turns her around so he can pretend she's a boy. Afterwards, Mon rushes off to find Chris...don't worry, with his Daxamite powers of regeneration, he'll be ready to have a go at Chris right away.


Week of 16 December 2009

You didn't miss anything. I didn't see any LSH content in DC comics this week.

Apparently there's a big upcoming crossover in all the Superman books to be called "Brainiac and the Legion of Super-Heroes." At last we'll get to see what all the Legionnaires in the 21st century are up to. Based on the last issue of R.E.B.E.L.S., the action will probably cross over to that comic as well. There may be others.

I have only one request for the DC creative staff: Please don't get rid of New Krypton by moving it into the 31st century. The Legion has enough problems without having to cope with that lot of malcontents.

Unless...Paul Levitz has said that he's going to start off slowly, by destroying a Legionnaire's homeworld. I would accept New Krypton going into the 31st century if it gets destroyed soon after. (Yeah, yeah, I know: it's not technically Superman's homeworld. But Kandor was part of Superman's homeworld, and Kandor is part of New Krypton, so...)

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS: In the "Five Legion Orphans" story in ADVENTURE #356 (5/1967), it was established that the planet Rokyn had been settled by the inhabitants of Kandor when Superman enlarged the city in the 20th century. The Earth-Prime version of Rokyn was shown in SUPERGIRL & THE LSH #23 (12/06), with basically the same backstory. The status of Rokyn/New Krypton in current continuity remains to be seen.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Organizing Those Comics

Lately I’ve been reconsidering the way I have my comics organized.

Naturally, I have comics all bagged and boarded and tucked away in their boxes (short comic boxes, preferably, because they’re kinder on the back). What I’m considering here is how to arrange those comics within and among the boxes.

Now, I’m not talking about my 1600+ Legion comics: those are stored in chronological order, which is the only proper way. No, I’m dealing with the 3000+ other comics, the Supermans and Actions and Flashes and Superboys that go back 50 years, the multi-title crossovers and one-shots, and the odd stuff that’s crept in here and there throughout the decades.

Like many other collectors, I used to do the alphabetical-order thing. (I’m a librarian, so alphabetical order comes naturally to me.) That’s how most comic shops organize their back-issues: Broadly separated by publisher (Marvel/DC/Other) then alphabetically by title, then (usually) separated by volume, then by issue number. And that makes great sense for a shop, where customers are going to be looking for specific issues of specific titles.

It has slowly penetrated to me that I do not live in a comic shop.

Alphabetical/issue-number worked fine in the olden days. Then, each title was separate, and most single issues were self-contained. A two-or-three-parter could go across successive issues of the same title, but it was very rare to see a story that (for example) started in Action then moved into Superman before concluding in Supergirl.

Nowadays, that sort of thing happens all the time. Even before Crisis on Infinite Earths, I remember stories that started in All-Star Squadron and continued in Infinity Inc. And now, there are story arcs that stretch across five or six titles – not to mention mega-crossover events like Final Crisis or Blackest Night. Even when there aren’t actual story arcs, story elements continue across all of the Superman books, the Batman books, or the Green Lantern titles.

It’s time to give up on alphabetical order.

This article tells us:

There’s a saying in the comic book collector hobby: alphabetical is for chumps. Attempting to keep every title is perfect alphabetical order will make adding to your collection a nightmare, as will trying to access a series that includes multi-book crossovers.

Instead go for either character or publisher.

That states the problem nicely, but it isn’t very helpful. (I have noticed some comic shops using a modified character-based system: i.e. all the Bat-books or Superman titles are together in one section, nicely alphabetized by title/volume/issue-number.) “Go for character or publisher” is probably fine when you have 20 Supermans, 18 Spidermans, and a handful of assorted independents – but it doesn’t scale up to thousands of comics.

I found a lengthy discussion from 2006 that talks about the different ways people arrange their comics. In that discussion, there’s the following from DrBombay:

Lately, with all the events, crossovers and relaunches, not to mention zero and half issues, what really seems to make the most sense to me is sorting by publication date. What would really be great is some way to have a database for physical objects where you could resort easily based on whatever mood strikes you.

But yeah, my collection, which is right now mostly in piles, is going to be sorted by year, then month, then week.

That’s more along the lines of what I’m looking for, although it goes a little in the anal-retentive direction: by week?! Year and month are on the cover (or in the indicia), but week? I generally don’t keep track of what week my comics came out, and I’m certainly not going to look it up for 3000 older comics.

Still, chronological arrangement has its advantages. Mega-crossover events will pretty much all be together. Story arcs will be much easier to follow.

And since I have my comics cataloged (in HanDBase for the iPhone and Mac), it’s no trouble to look up the year and month of a particular issue.

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of arranging all my comics the way my Legion collection is arranged: by year, month, and then (I guess) alphabetically by title.

However, I’m going to give the last word to Travis Pullen, from his two-part series titled How Do I Organize My Comics? (Part One, Part Two):

A final note on managing your collection: there is no right or wrong way to do this, it's all about what's right for you. Some of my friends do alpha order everything, but by the indicia, which means a Giant-Size Avengers will actually be filed under ‘G.' Another friend says, "The Dewey Decimal System," and walks away smiling like he just won an argument or something. My organizing is specific to me.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Week of 9 December 2009

(SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers. Don't read it before you've read the comics.)

Now this was more like it! There were Legion appearances in four comics this week.

Or maybe not. Two of them involved simple cameos of Legionnaires (two of them dead), and one was published by Marvel and only had not-the-Legion.

ACTION #884 (2/10)
"Captain Atom Chapter Six"
CUTE BOYS: Mon-El, looking hot in his new costume

NOTE: There are no Legion appearances in the main story. The only cute boy is Chris Kent, cured of his hyper-aging (and even he looks kinda dorky).

Mon-El joins the endless, pointless Captain Atom second feature. He and Atom fly to the Justice League satellite, Atom gives a capsule review of the last few years (which I suspect would make more sense if one had actually followed Captain Atom, but which just serves to confuse everyone), and then half the Justice League shows up calling Atom a fugitive from the military, a danger to the world, and in desperate need of justice.

Pay particular attention to the double-page spread on pages 2-3 of this story. The action proceeds counter-clockwise across the two-page spread; that is, down page 2, across to the bottom of page 3, and then up page 3. Notice the artful placement of the word balloons to lead the reader through this unconventional sequence of panels. I think this was very well done. If you didn't notice it while you were reading, that's a tribute to how well the layout worked.

BITS OF JUSTICE LEAGUE BUSINESS: This story seems to take place after the upcoming changes in the Justice League, which are supposed to follow the end of JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRY FOR JUSTICE, which is only on issue 5 of 7.


ADVENTURE #5/508 (2/10)
"He Primed Me Part Two: Flame War"
ROLL CALL (EARTH-PRIME LEGION): Brainiac 5 (vision), Element Lad (zombie), Light Lass (vision), Lightning Lad (vision), Sun Boy (zombie), Ultra Boy (vision)
CUTE BOYS: I admit it, Prime looks kinda cute at the end of the story, shirtless and all like that

As usual, this issue came out with two covers. For once, you don't have to feel like you must have the 1-in-10 variant cover: the only Legionnaire on it is a blurry figure who might be the Black Lantern Earth-Prime Sun Boy.

The story of Superboy-Prime comes to...well, a conclusion, if not an actual end. Prime's fight with Black Lantern Alex Luthor and the Black Lanterns of all the heroes he's killed takes him to the DC Comics offices, where he complains to the editors that he's sick of being their punching-bag, and threatens to (in Prime's phrase) "feed them their own tongues." Then Alex & the Blacks take him back to his basement and spill his comics.

Prime puts on a black power ring and becomes a Black Lantern. The, unaccountably, he (and the ring) cycles through the emotional spectrum: green (willpower), indigo (compassion), orange (avarice), yellow (fear), red -- until he winds up as a rage-filled Red Lantern. But then he says he loved Laurie and explodes in violet (love) light, apparently reducing the Black Lanterns to oilspots. Then the ring shatters, bathing him in six of the seven colors ( blue for hope is nowhere to be seen). Prime is left shirtless and devastated, mourning how he was turned from a hero to a bad guy, and how hs hates himself.

The Laurie comes down the stairs, telling Prime that the DC editors sent her to tell him that they're going to leave him alone now, and everything is alright. On her hand is a Black Lantern ring with a faintly-blue glow, and the word "hope."


Okay, I get that Prime is filled with rage, but the rest of it doesn't make an sense. I mean, it doesn't even make comic book sense. The whole Earth-Prime-is-Our-Earth thing, with DC people in the comic producing the very comic that we're reading, thus altering their own reality, is one of those ideas that sounds pretty cool when you think of it at 3 am one morning after too many pizzas and shots of vodka, but quickly collapses under its own absurdity when sobriety returns. If those DC people could change the nature of their own reality, why didn't they edit this very story to negate the damage that Prime and the Black Lanterns did to their offices?

Adn what's this whole thing about Prime donning a black power ring and cycling through the emotional spectrum. Black power rings never did that before. If it's intended to show that Prime has all the emotions within him, not just rage, then that's all fine and good -- but isn't that true about other characters who've been turned into Black Lanterns?

And I guess I'm okay with the resurrected Laurie having a blue (hope) power ring, but khaving a black power ring that thinks it's blue? WTF does that mean? They've spent all this time establishing that black power rings are bad and blue ones are good, and then we get the ring good or bad? Are we supposed to think that Laurie is a good buy or a bad guy? Is the story over, or is she going to rip out Prime's heart and...what? Turn him into a Black Lantern? But he already was a Black Lantern, and it didn't stick.

No, I'm sorry, this whole Black Lanterns/Blackest Night thing is making less and less sense the longer it goes on. I have to believe that Geoff Johns thinks he knows what he's doing here, but he sure isn't making any effort to share that with the rest of the class. He has a good understanding of the Leigon, and I'm forever grateful to him for bringing them back, but...Blackest Night has been nothing but a narrative disaster up to now, and I sure don't see it getting any clearer.

The good news is that, for all the fire and lightning and such, most of Prime's comics seem to be undamaged at the end.

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS: When Prime turns yellow, we get to see what he fears: Superman, Flash (Bart?), Kid Flash (Bart?), and four Earth-Prime Legionnaires: Brainiac 5, Lightning Lad, Ultra Boy, and Light Lass.


R.E.B.E.L.S. #11 (2/10)
"The Son & the Stars Part Two"
ROLL CALL: Adam Strange, Amon Hakk, Bounder, Captain Comet, Garv, Lyrl Dox, Rocky, Stealth (zombie), Strata, Tribulus, Vril Dox, Wildstar, Xylon
CUTE BOYS: Captain Comet, Lyrl (get a haircut, boy!)

A three-way battle between Starro's troops, the Black Lanterns, and the R.E.B.E.L.S. Lyrl invents the Stargate and brings Starro people & Black Lanterns to the planet, but Dox gets mad and sends them all back. Sinestro gives Dox an order, which Dox refuses, so the yellow power ring rejects him and dashes off in search of a replacement.

The last page of this issue ("R.E.B.E.L.S. Rolls Along in 2010!") shows Dox, the original Brainiac, and Brainiac 5.

BITS OF L.E.G.I.O.N.NAIRE BUSINESS: Everybody except Tribulus gets a nametag in this issue.


(no title)
ROLL CALL: not-Brainiac-5, not-Ferro-Lad, not-Lightning-Lad, not-Phantom-Girl, not-Saturn-Girl, not-Star-Boy, not-Sun-Boy, not-Superboy, not-Timber-Wolf, not-Tyr, not-Ultra-Boy

The adventures of the Imperial Guard continue. Yawn.


Week of 2 December 2009

I did not see any Legion content in DC comics this week.

I did get, and read, SUPERMAN: WORLD OF NEW KRYPTON #10 (2/10) -- although why I did, I have no idea. The people of New Krypton are all so unpleasant, their society is unpleasant, and the longer Kal-El stays there, the more unpleasant he gets. (I will say, though, that a lot of the members of the Labor Guild are particularly good-looking...which raises interesting and disturbing questions about the nature of the "labor" they are required to engage in. There are several porn stories in there.)


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Under the Dome

Steven King's new book, Under the Dome, takes place in a small town that is suddenly walled off from the rest of the world by an impenetrable dome...

...where a local thug exploits the populace...

I wonder where he got that idea?

...I'm just sayin'.