Thursday, July 31, 2008

My New Comics

This week’s best cover is Comic Book Comics #2.

H. P. Lovecraft’s Haunt of Horror #2, Marvel Comics.

Star Trek: Year Four: Enterprise Experiment #4, IDW.

Star Trek: Mirror Images #2, IDW.

Narcopolis #4, Avatar.

Comic Book Comics #2, Evil Twin Comics. Our Artists at War! Read an excerpt here

The Man With No Name #3, Dynamite Entertainment.

Reign in Hell #1, DC Comics.

Skaar Son of Hulk #2, Marvel Comics.

Northlanders #8, DC Comics.

Project SuperPowers #5, Dynamite Entertainment.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Comic Books Get Some Local Cred

Last Week, the day after my son was born, I noticed a front-page article in the Oregonian about Portland comic books. I didn’t have the time to read it then but I finally got back to it this week via This paper has done several stories about the local comics scene but finally they put it right there on the front-page, for all to see. I’ve been waiting for this kind of nod to the importance that comics play in the makeup of the city of Portland. Of course, it’s not technically about comics, the article is really about comics being adapted into films that make big bucks but it’s a step in the right direction. I guess with Comic Con coming down the pike the folks at the Oregonian wanted to highlight the local contribution.

Here’s an excerpt:

Portland's thriving community of comics creators and publishers -- including Dark Horse Comics, Oni Press and Top Shelf Productions -- is playing a major role in feeding the silver screen's voracious appetite.

"Portland," says Eric Gitter, Oni Press' L.A.-based producing partner, "is the Hollywood of comic books."

The week before Batman and the Joker commandeered the nation's cineplexes, the No. 1 movie in the country was "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," adapted from the comics series published by Milwaukie-based Dark Horse Comics. Although it fell from its perch in the "Dark Knight" onslaught, even a brief stay on top can do wonders for your visibility, Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson says.

"My phone's been ringing," Richardson says. "Lots of people have been calling and saying, 'Congratulations! Oh, and by the way, I have a project . . .' "

Although publishers won't reveal exactly how much money such Hollywood deals add to their revenue stream, Richardson says the movie connection may account for Dark Horse's sales records for three consecutive years. "We're heading for another record this year, despite the economy," Richardson says. Dark Horse Entertainment has offices at Universal Studios and Sunset Gower Studios in Los Angeles and is developing a slate of productions.

Portland's Oni Press, with several projects in development, has added staff. "We're at seven people now in Portland and two in L.A.," Oni Press co-founder Joe Nozemack says.

Local comics publishers aren't necessarily driving Jaguars and rolling in dough, Nozemack says. "You're not looking at serious amounts of money until the films are actually made. But the money that creators get for option rights gives them the freedom to do their own thing rather than working on somebody else's characters."

The whole article here


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Comic Con For Me

Of course Comic Con is going on this weekend but for obvious reasons I haven’t been paying much attention, But here’s a few stories that sparked my interest.

Rose McGowan and Robert Rodrigez talk about the new Red Sonja movie that's due out in late 2009 (here). It looks like it could be a lot of fun and I like what both McGowan and Rodrigez had to say about the Character and the project. The director, Douglas Aarniokosk, seems like a total putz though with statements like this:
"We're trying to do what Chris Nolan did with Batman, and that's [to] take an established story and an established character and reinvent it," he said. "You didn't have to see the other 'Batman' [movies] to appreciate it. You didn't have to read the comics to appreciate it."

You don't even have care about the Red Sonja at all to appreciate it... sigh


The Greatest American Hero is set for a comic book debut this fall. The cast and crew reunited for walk down memory lane to talk about a what made the show so special and why it was canceled before its time. Plus, there’s a buzz of for possible film in 2009. See Here


Frank Miller’s adaptation of Will Eisner’s classic comic The Spirit might be really cool or it might suck and maybe Samuel L. Jackson might make or break the film project. See here


Watchmen, Watchmen, Watchmen… blah, blah, blah see here

Also, watch Dave Gibbons discuss his experience with the film here

Take a gander at the Nite Owl's ship here


The Warlord is returning to comics for his 35th anniversary and this time the relaunch will be done by the character's creator Mike Grell. See here. This a big relief after the reimagining that DC did a few years ago stunk so bad. It is time to get back to the original version. Hopefully the new Warlord will be a success so some Warlord Showcase Presents will get published.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

My New Comics... The Birth of My Son Edition

This week’s best cover is Ambush Bug: Year None #1.

You might come to the conclusion that I’m a hardcore freak. How could I possibly even pick up my comics right after my son was born right? Well, it wasn’t like that… really! My wife demanded salad rolls from one of our favorite Vietnamese restaurants and what ever my wife that just gave birth wants, she gets. This restaurant just happens to be across the street from the comic book store. So I thought, what the hell and swung by to get this week’s small stack. I do wonder though, if this was her unconscious way of allowing me to get my weekly dose of comics? she’s the greatest. Ambush Bug comes out the same week as the birth of my son. It doesn’t get any better than that…

…OK, maybe I am a hardcore freak…

She-Hulk #31, Marvel Comics.

Fall of Cthulhu #14, Boom Studios. Now we know why the Harlot was so pissed off.

Pistolfist #1, Bluewater Comics. Revolutionary War Superheroic action.

Black Summer #6, Avatar. The explosive end.

Ambush Bug: Year None #1, DC Comics. The return of the thought balloon, and other zanyness. I’ve sure got a new appreciation of Buggy’s relationship with his son, Cheeks the Toy Wonder. nyuck, nyuck, nyuck!


Friday, July 25, 2008


It’s awfully hard to describe what I’m feeling. The birth of my son has been such an epiphany of joy. Of course it took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to bring him into the world and I felt so terrible that my wife had to go through such pain, but now she’s doing great and we’re so happy with our beautiful son.

The events began at about 12:30 AM on the 22nd when my SO woke me up with word that her water had broke. Half in a sleepy daze, I ran around the house making sure we had everything, which we did of course because my wife had packed the week before. So, it was off to the hospital with a cool breeze on a warm summer night.

They triaged my wife first before they moved us to a birthing room where her contractions slowly increased throughout the day. Since we were both at the maternity ward we had to activate our backup plan and have my sister’s husband (Snabulus) pick up my mother-in-law. That’s right; mom was actually on a plane over the Pacific Ocean when my SO’s water broke. Hence Snab was kind enough to bring her straight to the hospital. We were worried that she wouldn’t make it but she did.

My Dad also stopped by, and I could tell his head was in the clouds because he was about to be a grandpa again. He can be a little clueless sometimes though, because he wanted to have one of those hospital chats, while my wife was having spasms of pain. So eventually, I led him out to the waiting area, which worked out well because Snab came back to the hospital with my teenage niece in tow. She kept Dad entertained for a while until he went home to get some sleep as he had worked the nightshift.

The pain got so bad for my wife later in the day that she opted for an epidural. She found some relief for a time and was actually able to talk to her mother that had flown all the way from Japan. My niece decided to stay for the birth and I tasked her with taking pictures, as I knew that my wife would need me when the time came to push.

My wife practiced pushing several times but our son just wasn’t quite low enough until about 7:30 P.M. The Doc had stated earlier that he thought the baby would arrive by sundown. He would be right. When the really hard pushing began we all cheered my wife on but she was in such pain and the epidural wasn’t doing anything by that point. The Doc and the nurse had to instruct her how to push properly so she wouldn’t get too tired and also so she wouldn’t blow out all the blood vessels in her face.

When we were about halfway through the pushing, my mother-in-law was overcome with emotion and walked over and said something in Japanese to her daughter with tears in her eyes. Her feelings were so mixed because here was her only daughter writhing in the worst pain imaginable and yet her grandson was being born.

By this time of night, I was actually having mild auditory and visual hallucinations because I was so tired but when my wife gave a huge final push and I heard my son’s loud cry, all my tiredness went away and tears welled up in my eyes as they placed him all bloody and gooey on my wife’s chest. My wife was now a Mom and I was now a Dad. Amazing.

My niece was snapping pictures like crazy and she got a good one of me cutting the cord. Somehow all these nurses showed up out of nowhere and began weighing and cleaning my tiny little boy and also attending to my wife. He was so blue but he began to turn pink right away. He was (is) so perfect and cute too. I couldn’t wait to hold him and when I did my brain exploded… …when it reassembled itself, I just wasn’t the same person. My niece got a shot of that moment too.

Finally, when I was able to remember who I was, I returned to my wife just as they had removed the rest of the placenta and cleaned her up. We brought the baby over to suckle and my wife was so happy to finally be able to see her boy because she didn’t have her glasses on before.

Eventually we made our way to another room and collapsed from exhaustion. Ready to spend the rest of our lives caring for our little one.

It’s so strange, in the days since our son’s arrival because having him around seems like the most natural thing, like he’s always been with us. It’s a surreal and wonderful feeling all in one. I also realized that for a moment I knew what it felt like to be superhuman (sort of), because when I saw the birth of my son and held him in my arms for the first time I realized that my wife and I together had created life. That life being the little one we now live and breathe for.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Amazing Super-Baby

Just a quick post to let you all know he's here! The Amazing Swinebread Jr. Super-baby is really here!

He's healthy and so is his mom!

He was born at 8:30 P.M. on July 22nd.

more to come soon.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Get the sticker here

Return of the Bug

In honor of Ambush Bug’s triumphant return to comics this week, I dug up this old DC house add from 1986. It’s for buggy’s second miniseries Son of Ambush Bug.

And nope, my son isn't here yet but I sure have been talking to my wife's belly to coax him out. I know it will be this week though.

I can see it now: "well son, you were born the same week Ambush Bug: Year None came out and ah.. the Dark Knight busted box-office records..."

Memory through pop-culture... *gulp*

I don't know if I'm gonna laugh or cry this week... ...yeah, yeah I know, it's both...


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Where in the War is the Gewehr

I was reading my copy of Brothers in Arms #2 last week when I noticed a panel that showed a German solider carrying a StG44 Sturmgewehr. (That over exposure to the history channel has finally paid off!) I was a little surprised to see this firearm depicted as part of the events of the Normandy Invasion, not that I know a lot about the history of firearms mind you, but it just seemed a little funny. I always believed the first assault rife was used mostly on the Eastern Front against the Russians and wasn’t a factor in the west until the Battle of the Bulge. So far, I've found nothing online to support its presence during D-Day, but it would be an interesting, little fact if it were true.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Busy Busy, Busy, but here’s a few tidbits.

The Watchmen Trailer…

Wow, I’m not impressed at all. I was really looking forward to this film. Now? Not so much. The CG looks cheesy, the music sucked and I F***ing hate the slow mo. Watchmen is already a 12 issue graphic novel, so screen time shouldn’t be wasted on visual masturbation, my suppressed fears about the director of 300 just might be confirmed here. I really appreciated what Zack Snyder was saying about the comic and the project but I’m dubious now. Watchmen is a deeply psychological work full of rich subtext and just slo-moing scenes directly from the comic is not the way to go.

Here’s What Alan Moore recently had to say about Snyder:

When asked by Entertainment Weekly if he was curious about Snyder's version of his story, he replied: "I would rather not know."

Moore, who previously disowned the Warner Bros adaptation of his comic V For Vendetta, voiced his disapproval of Snyder due to his involvement with 300.

"He's the person who made 300. I've not seen any recent comic book films, but I didn't particularly like the book 300," Moore said.

"I had a lot of problems with it, and everything I heard or saw about the film tended to increase [those problems] rather than reduce them: [that] it was racist, it was homophobic, and above all it was sublimely stupid."

Furthermore, the comic scribe insisted that he hadn't been in contact with studio Warner Bros regarding the Watchmen adaptation: "No, they've all been told not to. They get the message... I don't want anyone who works for DC comic books to contact me ever again, or I'll change my number."


I’ve been absorbing I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets, which collects all the Golden Age comic stories by Fletcher Hanks. It’s one of the weirdest things I’ve ever read. At first these stories almost seem like a joke or a 60’s, underground comic parody, but these bizarros were actually published. The art style is akin to a crossing of Robert Crumb and Basil Wolverton but with less talent than either. The narrative of these odd gems is hard to describe other than to say that the heroes tend to abnormally torture the villains by the end after some ridiculously grand scheme. This collection is the naked lunch of comics.


Overdroid is in town and we met for a quick get-together yesterday. He brought along a copy of the Arkham Horror board game, which I’ve been itching to play. Well, it was a hell of fun time. We were quickly overwhelmed by the machinations of Nyarlathotep. OD was killed when the crawling chaos manifested after only a few turns of play and I didn’t last much longer in a head to head fight with Nyarly. In fact, OD told me that it was the shortest games he’s ever played, which ended up being OK because we didn’t have a lot of time anyway. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had losing, but then this is a horror game after all.

Overdroid also had a copy of Basic Roleplaying. I was a surprised how huge it was. Due to our short schedule, I didn’t really have time to look through it. Maybe Diamond Distributing will see fit to send me the copy of Basic Roleplaying that I ordered.


I came across a great list of literary takes on superheroes via NPR’s website here. Check it out.


Arkonbey made a joke about me cutting down on comics now that Swinebread Jr. is on the way, but I do need to cut down. I’ve been surprised how many comics, especially trades, I order and then wonder what the hell was I thinking when I signed up for this. The only kink in the plan is that a significant amount of items that I have ordered, many months ago, have not shown up and now, with budgets tightening, I might be in a rough spot. Oh well, I’ll figure it out…


Speaking of Swinebread Jr, now he really could come at any time... I can' t wait to be a Dad, but I guess I will have to wait for a little longer.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

My New Comics

This week’s best cover is Omega The Unknown #10.

Squadron Supreme #1, Marvel Comics.

Conan The Cimmerian #1, Dark Horse Comics.

Brothers in Arms #2, Dynamite Entertainment.

Star Trek: Assignment Earth #3, IDW. (late)

Zorro #5, Dynamite Entertainment.

Omega The Unknown Marvel Comics.

1985 #3, Marvel Comics.

War is Hell: The First Flight of the Phantom Eagle #5, Marvel Comics.

Trade Paperbacks:
I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets Fantagraphics. The weird world of Fletcher Hanks.

Back Issue # 29, TwoMorrows Publishing. An in-depth look at the X-men and other Marvel mutants.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Comic Book Baby Blues

First off, let me apologize for not responding to all of your comments and for not posting comments to all of your blogs. I’ve been a tad busy getting ready for our new baby. He can come at any time now and the wife and I have been getting our last few things done that we need to, like going berry picking for the last time in a good long while. Hopefully I’ll get one good sweep or two by everybody’s blogs before I’m outta’ the loop for period of time.

I’ve been having some weird thoughts about comics that I thought I’d share.

The Memin Pinguin thing got me thinking about my Spirit Archives. I’ve got volumes one through ten only. I just haven’t been able to justify, as married man, the expense of a 50-dollar book every few months. Sadly it’s volume eleven when things are supposed to get really good for the Spirit title. One through ten are kinda “meh.” I really love the spirit comics (volume 2) from my time reading the reprints published by Kitchen Sink Press. They were great because they were regular sized comics that had new cover art by Eisner and had black and white interiors, which I enjoy more than the color versions. When DC announced that they were publishing collections of the Spirit I was pretty happy but I would have preferred an affordable set of trades.

Regardless, I was quite shocked by how grotesque Ebony White was depicted in the early Spirit stuff. I knew he was pretty stereotyped from the later adventures I’d read in the Kitchen Sink Comics but man, the stuff in early Volumes is really ugly. I kept buying though, hoping I’d get the Spirit I knew (which I discovered later was post WWII). Where was P’Gell, Sand Saref and the Octopus? Where was the deft skill with which Eisner had crafted the Spirit stories? We’ll for the most part it’s not in the volumes I have. I’ve been considering selling these books for a long time, but now with a kid on the way maybe I really need to get rid of them. The problem is that the first 2 volumes are autographed by Eisner himself made out to me. These are the two that have the worst depictions of Ebony. *Sigh*… I wish… I wish would have had him sign my copies of the Kitchen Sink Spirit Comics instead…

In a similar vein, I was reading the latest issue AC Comics Mystery Men with a story about the Hood. He was smashing up a Japanese saboteur ring. The story was quite ridiculous with the saboteurs disguising themselves as cowboys while wearing suicide bomb vests. But it got me thinking… I’m gonna have a biracial child. He’ll be half Japanese. Obviously, I wouldn’t let him see this at a young age, but should I chuck out all my comics that cover WWII? Should I throw out my All-Stars Squadron comics, my Invaders comics and Captain America comics? What kind of affect could this have on him? Seeing big strong American Superheroes beating the shit out of Japanese villains might screw with his head right? I like superheroes a lot, and WWII is a big part of the superhero mystique. So, I’m a little at a loss of what to do. I’m probably overacting but I’m worried that my collection of Usagi Yojimbo books ain't gonna be enough to counteract any harm that may be done.

Just some thoughts I'm having...


Friday, July 11, 2008

My New Comics

This week’s best cover is Men of Mystery #71.

Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #4, Marvel Comics.

Red Sonja #35, Dynamite Entertainment.

Army of Darkness/Xena #4, Dynamite Entertainment.

Wolfskin #1, Avatar.

Men of Mystery #71, AC Comics.

The Stand Sketchbook Marvel Comics.

The Last Defenders #5, Marvel Comics.

Trade Paperbacks:
Usagi Yojimbo: Tomoe’s Story Vol 22, Dark Horse.

Aces: Curse of the Red Baron AiT/Planet Lar.

North Wind Boom Studios.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

If You Haven't Seen It...

This is old news, but just in case you haven't watched one of the best things to come out on youtube ever, here's Italian Spiderman.

This trailer, created by young filmmakers from Down Under, was so popular it has spawned a conturing series, see here. In fact, the 8th episode was just uploaded today.

My hats off to the creators. This is incredibly fun and entertaining stuff. They even made all their own music for the project which has actually been selling in Italy.

Italian Spiderman is everything a superhero can't be and that's why he's perfect. Reminds me of how I felt the first time I read an Ambush Bug comic book and that's a gift that never stops!


Bonus! The Creators of Italian Spiderman speak:

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Racist Comic at Wal-Mart?

Controversial (in the US) and popular Mexican Comic character Memin Pinguin is being sold at Wal-Mart.

Americans have complained about this sambo-like character before but I think this is first instance of his comics being sold by a major US company.

Mexicans have vigorously defended Memin Pinguin and still do.

See a video of the news report here.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Here’s Waldo

OK, I’ve never made any sort of comics in my life… except once. When I was in Junior High, I was transferred to a parochial school, which was a big life switch but that’s another story. Anyway, my class at this parochial school started up a kid’s newspaper. I wasn’t interested in doing anything but then the idea of a comic strip came up and so a buddy and I jumped at the chance to do something really fun.

Neither of us had any artistic talent but we plunged right in and made our first attempt. I decided that the cartoon needed an anchor character like real newspaper comics and I came up with Waldo (this was before those Where's Waldo books). He was a smart Alec, class clown type of kid and like us; he would be a student at a parochial school. I wanted to make him visually interesting, so gave him what I thought was a Roman Empire Helmet (the design I used is actually more Greek). I must have been thinking of Marvin the Martian. The helmet was both a joke and a very subtle protest on my part as it both symbolized that Waldo was at a Roman Catholic school and the fact that we as students had to wear uniforms (which I thought was ridiculous). Anyway, Waldo’s teacher, Mrs. Snodgrass, would also be a major character in the strip and she was designed to suffer the insult of most of his jokes giving the student readers vicarious payback.

Both my buddy and I decided on the content. I drew the strip and he handled the word balloons. We created one full-page of comics with four Waldo strips and turned it in to the editor. Later the editor (who was a student) came back and said that two of the strips had been rejected and so we had to redo them. I was indignant and angry. How dare the teacher tell us what to do, this was our paper and our strip. I refused to make any changes and quit working on the newspaper. My buddy created two new strips, which he drew by himself, to replace the rejected ones. So two of my original Waldo strips made it into the photocopied newspaper and two did not. The school “published” a few more issues of the newspaper but can’t remember if any comics were in them. I think my buddy may have come up with something but what ever was produced I didn’t have anything to do with it. Thus began and ended my comics career.

The funny thing is that while the rejections were ridiculous, I should have taken it as a challenge to come up something else rather than be so angry because I might have learned something. I realize now that in some sense the Waldo character was in essence me, and so I felt I was being rejected.

As I was cleaning up recently I found a packet with old documents and in there was the original artwork for Waldo. A few of things strike me looking at these pages now. One is the lack of consistency, even though we didn't have any kind of image manipulation software; it’s amazing how the characters look so different from frame to frame and why didn’t I use a ruler? Secondly, I hate the placement of the world balloons. I gave all this room for the words and yet my buddy placed most of the words too close to the character’s heads. And Thirdly, The jokes aren’t that bad when compared with strips from actual newspapers.

So here are the four original strips. Keep in mind I was a kid and had no artistic training or talent (and I still don't), plus some of the art has smeared with time.

This is one of the rejected strips. My resentment at being forced to go to church is very evident in this. Not surprising it wasn’t approved of.

It’s weird that this strip wasn’t rejected as it has a punk kid that insults a girl because of her looks. It's interesting to note that Waldo, who I identified with, was not making the sexist comment.

Insulting the teacher is always fun but the joke was ruined by the "two or three or four." It was just supposed to read "two or three." I may not have been sexist in Jr high but I sure must have been ageist. This one wasn't rejected.

This strip was rejected because my teacher said it was making fun of poor people. No, it was making fun of how stupid some folks are. It was the ultimate irony that my teacher didn't get it.

So that’s it. Hey, I got an idea. If any of you artistic types want to redraw these cartoons with better art that would be way cool, if you have the time and inclination that is. Or maybe a sketch with your interpretation of the Waldo character and his funny, Marvin the Martian hat might be fun too.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

New X-men Cartoon Trailer

A new X-Men cartoon is on the way and Wolverine is absolutely the star. Looks good and Gambit is nowhere to be seen... Awesome!


Swamp Thing Cartoon?

I didn't know that there had been a Swamp Thing animated show. It only lasted 5 episodes though. Swamp Thing aired on FOX, so it makes sense it was cancelled. Maybe if they hadn't changed the lyrics of "Wild Thing" it would have been more popular. heh heh


Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July everybody. What says Independence Day better then a Comic Book adaption of a movie which was originally a Broadway musical about the writing and signing of the United States Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1776.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

My New Comics

This week’s best cover is The Voyages of She Buccaneer #1.

Tor #3, DC Comics.

The War That Time Forgot #3, DC Comics.

The Walking Dead #50, Image.

The Astounding Wolfman #7, Avatar.

Storming Paradise #5, DC Comics/Wildstorm.

The Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #5, Marvel Comics.

The Voyages of She Buccaneer #1, Great Big Comics.

Doctor Who Classics #8, IDW.

Army of Darkness #10, Dynamite Entertainment.

Savage Tales #8, Dynamite Entertainment.

Night of the Living Dead #1, Avatar.

Star Trek Mirror Images #1, IDW.

Jonah Hex #33, DC Comics.

Northlanders #7, DC Comics/Vertigo.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008