Showing posts from May, 2008

What it Is

What is What It Is? Well, it's brilliant, it's also beautiful, amazing, insightful, truthful, joyful, and brilliant (I think that bears repeating). This is the kind of book that while reading it you think "yeah, yeah, she's right, that is so true, I never thought about that in that way."

What It Is, is Lynda Barry's graphic novel follow up to her excellent Eisner winning One Hundred Demons. What It Is, is an autobiography of sorts, but mostly it's a collection of musings on memory, the imagination, and creativity. Try this thought from What It Is on for size: "Is a dream autobiography or fiction?" or "Can we remember something that we can't imagine?" What It Is was a sheer delight to read, experience, and will have me pondering many of the ideas contained within for a long time to come. In the the last third of What It Is, Lynda Barry offers some exercises for rekindling one's creative energies and I think for many people that s…

Judenhass arrives

Yesterday, Dave Sim's Judenhass arrived to finer comic stores everywhere. Judenhass is German for "jew hatred" and with Judenhass Sim has found quotes from people throughout history and the anti-semantic things they've said to show that jew hatred wasn't just central to Nazi Germany. Judenhass is only $4.00 for 50 pages and the book is a high quality production all around as Dave Sim wanted to produce a book on the Holocaust that was afforable and that could show what this medium is capable of.

The art is in a high quality photo realistic style, actually Sim has used photos from throughout history and turned them into fine line illustrations that are very poignant. Judenhass is a book I'll always have in stock and I think everyone should read and share this with others, because in its 50 short pages it very powerfully communicates why any kind of hatred is wrong and a blight on humanity. As I've mentioned when I first read the preview copy a couple of mont…

Project Rooftop revisited

I think I've blogged about Project Rooftop before, but even if I have, it's a site / blog worth revisiting!

Project Rooftop features artists redesigning superhero costumes with people then reviewing them (often comic creators will show up and do this) and one of the recent updates featured artists doing variations of Iron Man's armor. The illustration I have here is by Daniel Krall and it's a beauty! Go to for more great geek eye candy!

Minutemen & Black Freighter

Today this photo was released (from the upcoming Watchmen movie)showing the super hero team The Minutemen, which were an earlier assemblage of heroes from Moore and Gibbon's Watchmen graphic novel (which was a twelve issue comic maxi-series origninally).

I like what I'm seeing from this image, which I think captures more of what Moore and Gibbon's were doing with their look then what I've seen of the main Watchmen characters costumes from the movie (they look like Batman Forever costumes, but hopefully they'll look good in the context of the movie).

In other Watchmen movie news, it was announced that The Black Freighter pirate sequence from Watchmen will be released as a separate animated DVD, four days after the Watchmen movie opens. I like the idea of the pirate sequence (which in the graphic novel is a comic that a kid is reading) being animated and released separately (mostly because even with this sequence not being in the movie, there's still a lot of stor…

Homburg part two

Continuing my flashback to Kate and my Germany trip in May of last year...

This is Rick in front of a head shop, notice the lovely bongs (hey, I was a big Cheech and Chong fan, so it's cool to see Germany "representing")!
This is me and Nicole in Homburg. Her sister, Lorraine, and their mom, Zena, where there also, but for whatever dumb reason I didn't get a picture with them there).

This is a local Homburg, traditonal band, totally setting the mood for our Germany excursion!

On this town celebration, Maifest, last year, Homburg also had a really cheesy fashion show going on, but it was awesome in a "what the F" kind of way!

This is me being a dork.

Today here in Vegas, it's rainy (!!) and around 77 degrees, so the weather is definitely reminding me of Germany. Kate and I had such a fantastic time in Germany and I'd highly recommend visting because the people are great, the weather is pretty great, the architecture just screams with so much wonderful cha…

Homburg part one

Last year at this time, Kate and myself were in Germany visiting our friends Zena (who was stationed in Ramstein), Lorraine, Nicole, and Rick (who was my first Sunday guy here at the store form about 1995-1997). Their tour in Germany ended last July and even though they had a lot going on with their upcoming move and Lorraine graduating from high school, they opened their home to us as we took day trips around the Rhinelands in Germany (and we were glad to have their company when their schedules allowed).
Before last year's trip I hadn't been to Germany in 27 years. One of the things I wanted to do while I was there was visit the small town where I was born, Homburg (not to be confused with the much larger Hamburg, to the north), which I was surprised to learn was only about a half hour from Ramstein. So our second day in Germany we spent the afternoon in Homburg because Nicole noticed in the paper that they were having a town celebration, called Maifest (May fest, of course).…

Some great covers!

Yesterday was one of the best days for comic book covers that I can remember in quite a while. A great cover to me isn't just a posed shot of a character doing something generic (like most of Thor's covers, which don't suggest how good that book is) or a group action image. I think a cover has to make a person want to pick up that book in the sea of all the others on the shelves (and I realize that isn't easy to do on a monthly basis), it should be a solid visually appealing singular piece of art, and if it's able to do those two things and actually have something to do with the actual issue - bonus. Presented here are five of my favorites this week.

The first one is the newest Catwoman, with art by Adam Hughes (he doesn't do the interior which sometimes bothers me as in this case I'm sure interior artist David Lopez could do nice covers, but I can understand why a company would want to use marquee artists to help books sell). I'm not the biggest fan of …

Goodbye Rory

Yesterday was a really really sad day for anyone who knew Rory Root (and sad for people who didn't get to know Rory). Rory went into an Oakland hospital either Sunday or Monday for a ruptured hernia and some time thereafter went into a coma before dying yesterday afternoon. Rory Root was the owner of Comic Relief, THE Comic Book Bookstore in Berkeley. Rory has been in comic book retailing for something like 30 years and I always told people when I talked about his store (Comic Relief) that his store was the comic book store that all good comic book stores want to be when they grow up.

I first heard that Rory was in a coma via the CBIA (a comic book retailer delphi forum) when Joe Field (of Flying Colors in Walnut Creek, California) posted a link from the ComicsPro (a retailer trade organization) site. To say I was shocked is an understatement. Rory wasn't in the best of health or shape, but I'd seen him at the DC retailer summit in Austin in March and just this past April …

Cristina goes to China

Today my best friend, Cristina, left for China for three months. Specifically she'll be in Tanjing, China, which is about an hour outside of Beijing. Cristina and another UNLV computer science student (I don't know the spelling of his name so I'm not going to butcher it here). have been selected to go to China as the continuation of a project they've been selected for that they've been working on for I think about a year now. I think she'll be building a computer from scratch - seriously I don't know what exactly she'll be working on, but I think it does involve building a chip (I'm such a computer illiterate).
Wednesday, Cristina graduated with a BS in Mathematics and a Minor in Computer Science. I've known her during her entire college journey and she's always been the kind of person that looks for new challenges and then excels at them.

I'm so happy that Cristina has gotten this opportunity to go to China for three months, but actually…

Big Barda tattoo

Sunday, May 4th I got my second tattoo. The character is Jack Kirby's Big Barda. I've decided that all of my tattoos will be of female comic characters (not that I plan to get a lot!). I wanted to get a Jack Kirby female character for some time and since I'm more of a DC guy than a Marvel guy, I had to go with Big Barda. Up until a couple of months ago I was having a hard time finding just the right Big Barda image.

My first tattoo was two years ago on my other calf and I'd forgotten how much it hurt (because on that part of the leg there's not much skin before you hit the bone)! My first tattoo took about three and a half hours and I was glad to have gotten it done in one session just to get it over with. As the saying goes "no pain, no gain", so off I was to get Big Barda done. I thought I was going to get it all done in one session again, but Dirk (my tattoo artist) wanted to wait until the black healed first since there was so much of it (just doing t…

deconstruction week one

No this isn't the site of my new comic book superstore. This building was a Wendy's up until about a year and a half ago when they closed. That Wendy's was the first one in Las Vegas and was there for 30 years!
The Wendy's was almost directly in front of my store so I was of course very interesested in what would occupy that space post Wendy's. Last week I found out that someone had actually bought that land and that someone is Starbucks. My early thoughts were that, wow, as if we need another Starbucks, but actually I've heard they take good care of their employees and I think it'll be good for my business. I'm also glad that something is finally being done with the building and even more glad that it's not going to be a payday loan check cashing joint!
It's been pretty exciting watching the Wendy's being torn down.
I'm guessing (hoping) that they'll have the last of the debri removed from the site by next week, but actually I'm ju…

Mononoke tattoo

Yesterday afternooon one of my customers was sporting this awesome full arm tattoo (also called a "sleeve" in tattoo lingo) of the Kodamas (tree spirits) from the great Princess Mononoke anime by Hayao Miyazaki from 1997. I'm not the biggest fan of tattoo sleeves, because I often think that the tattoos just all blend together and the person that got them hadn't thought out very carefully what the visual effect of their tattoos would be and or they just ended up getting sleeves because they ran out of room for areas on their bodies upon which to put another tattoo. This Kodamas arm sleeve is an excellent example of someone who has really thought out how to have a tattoo sleeve that even people that don't know what Kodamas are would appreciate as a great work of art.

Son Of Rambow!

Yesterday someone from Paramount Films called me asking if they could send me some free tickets and posters for a movie called Son of Rambow. I always say yes, even when I haven't heard of the movie they're promoting, as was the case with this movie. Of course hearing the title of the movie the first thing I thought of was: "they're making a sequel to Rambo!?"

So today I got the tickets (they're for next Tuesday at 7pm for anyone who's in the neighborhood of my store and wants to pick up a free ticket good for two people) and mini movie posters. I love the tag line of this movie which is: "Make Believe. Not War." Anyway I looked Son Of Rambow up online to see what it was about and it's a comedy "about friendship, faith, and the weird business of growing up." And it actually does have something to do with the original Rambo (it's also from England).

Welcome Nolan!

My friend, PJ and his wife, Brooke, had their baby on Sunday, April, 27th. Nolan Wahlquist is their son's name and he's really cute.

This is me and Nolan. I wonder if PJ lobbied to name their baby Luke, Han, or Indiana!?

Those of you who know PJ, know that he doesn't usually have a white eye patch on his eye. Well over this past weekend he was doing some yard work and somehow ran a scrub branch into his eye! Fortunately it didn't actually puncture any part of his eye according to what the doctor told him, so hopefully his eye will return to "normal" before too long. I told Brooke that PJ was just starved for all the attention that she and Nolan had been getting, but now I'm thinking that he just wanted to also get out of yard work (grin)! Seriously though, I'm sure that hurt like HELL and I hope that he's going to be all right (Brooke drove him to my store on Wednesday to get his new comics and his patch was off - his eye of course didn't look l…

House Of Mystery - POW!

POW stands for: Pick Of the Week!

This week my money back guarantee book is Vertigo's House of Mystery, written by Matthew Sturges and Bill Willingham and drawn by Luca Rossi and Ross Campbell. This is how a first issue should be done; it's got interesting characters and is full of the kind of intrigue that makes the reader want to pick up the next issue because they can't wait to see how things unfold. Basically, as Sturges and Willingham discuss in their On The Ledge feature towards the back of the book, House of Mystery will contain two stories each issue, the main one following what happens to the characters trapped in the House and a short story told by one of the people in the House, drawn by guest artists (this issues short story is drawn by Ross Campbell who has so far written and illustrated three graphic novels for Oni called Wet Moon and he has a Minx book coming out soon called Water Baby). Newcomer artist Luca Rossi"s pencils and inks are very friendly on …

some good comics...

This week had a much higher average than usual of really good comics. Following are some of my favorites (I'll number the images here because some of them don't have titles): 1. Suburban Glamour 2. X Factor 3. New Avengers: Illumiati 4. Tor 5. Batman: Death Mask

The Suburban Glamour trade that came out this week collects the excellent mini series by Jaime McKelvie and it starts off as a good regular people story that morphs into a Fables type scenario without missing a beat. The X Factor comic that came out this week is a great one shot called The Quick and the Dead written by Peter David and drawn by Pablo Raimondi. It focuses on Quicksilver and I like where the character is by the end of this issue. New Avengers: Illuminati collects the five issue mini series written by Bendis and Reed and drawn by Jim Cheung. I think Jim Cheung is one of the best current super hero artists, it's really too bad that he's really slow (not that I want to rush quality, but I wish he was …

Iron Man the movie

No Spoilers folowing:

Kate and I saw the Iron Man movie Sunday morning and really enjoyed it. All the changes they made from the comic and the character's origin were great changes that made sense and weren't just changes for the sake of changes (or director's and writer's egos) as is common with movie adaptations of comic books. The movie was really smartly done and while I think it plays more to male wish fullfillment fantasies, I think it has a good cross audience appeal (although I wouldn't take kids under ten or eleven to see it). If you haven't already heard, stay until after the credits, there's a good little bonus scene. The Iron Man armor and effects are really good, but the movie actually has a story that doesn't seem to just exist to get to the special effect sequences. My only little complaint would be that the villains, including Jeff Bridges' character, could have been fleshed out a bit more, but they weren't so bad that they impair…

Harry's 40th B-day pt.2!

Harry with my wife, Kate. Kate and myself aren't the biggest party people in the world, but every once in a while we like to let our hair down. Harry's 40th b-day pirate bash was one of the very best parties I've ever been to, of course any house party that has The Vermin playing live couldn't suck if it tried!
This is me with Alex (Alex is on the left). Alex is another longtime friend and he used to be my Sunday guy at the store.

Alex and Lauren. They should get married to each other (grin)!

Harry helping out The Vermin with the evening's merriment. Harry's been a police officer here in Vegas for eleven plus years - it's something he keeps a low profile about. I think part of that's due to what his job as an officer (SGT. now) entails, but I think it's also because of some people's misguided stereotypes of what kind of person a police officer is. Trust me, having known Harry for something like fourteen years now (and having been to parties at his …