Thursday, March 29, 2007

Star Wars Stamps

Now we're talking. We're talking stamps!

Because word was out that "I like comics," random friends and relatives inundated me with sheets of the recent comic stamps. As a favor, I ask that people stop buying me Marvel and DC comic book stamps because they suck. They are horrible looking and I can't use them fast enough. Sure, there is one cool Green Lantern stamp and one cool Aquaman stamp, but the rest are just cheesy. No class. I can't believe that with all the insanely expensive cover art DC and Marvel has been commissioning over the last few years they didn't commission original art for a nice set of stamps!

Stamps are cool. I've always liked them. More often than not, stamps are miniature works of art. Usually lavishly illustrated, and more recently there have ben some cool photo montages and digital works ups. That's why the DC stamps in particular were such a disappointment, just a collection of reprint art and covers, and not even good ones. Marvel, well, who the hell cares, they put their brand on anything.

Now the post office has announced a set of Star Wars stamps, and they are gorgeous! It's a Struzan-esque montage of all the good bits, and every one is great! The USPS wants you to vote for the favorite... and that will be issued as a single stamp, as a sheet I assume. While it would be cool to have the list topped by Darth Maul or Storm Troopers, I cast my vote for Luke Skywalker-- it's a very iconic shot, a great design, and represents the Star Wars universe best. However if I were to guess the actual winner, it's likely Yoda or Darth Vader will prevail. There is a USPS Star Wars site for voting, and shows some cool pre-paid envelopes, too.

You wanna buy me stamps? Buy me these!!

Puzzle Quest

The gems! Dear lord! The gems!!!

Penny Arcade sums it up pretty well.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

New Comics Day

Seth Fisher, you are very much appreciated, and sorely missed.

Batman: Snow
Brave and the Bold
Green Lantern
Wonder Woman

Looks like just DC books this week. But man am I bummed about missing out on Adam Warren's new graphic novel, Empowered. My store sold out of every one! The proprietor told me a gaggle of WB artists came in the morning and swiped all 17 copies, and now I have to wait for next week's shipment. Curses!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

New Comics Day

House of Secrets, the comic store I go to in Burbank, is frequented by tons of artists an animators due to the high concentration of studios in the area. I tend to hit the store off peak hours, but every now and again I pop in around lunch and the place is packed to the gills. All these guys relaying anecdotes to each other about their current gigs and studios, or saying what a nightmare it is to work on Boondocks.

The Spirit
Y the Last Man
Army @ Love
Gunsmith Cats: Omnibus Vol. 1

Gunsmith Cats is one of my all time favorite comics, or -ahem- "manga" if you will. Creator Kenichi Sonada, too, ranks high on my list. The book centers on the lovely Rally Vincent, a firearms expert and freelance bounty hunter. The sexy characters and hard core action stories are framed by an almost instruction manual degree of detail of guns and muscle cars. Dark Horse has been translating Gunsmith Cats for years, and has collected the entire run in nice digest trades. This latest Omnibus Edition is considered "revised" because it is being presented unedited (the Japanese do love the gratuitous panty shot) and in original Japanese format reading right-to-left. This is kind of a key element here because for American left-to-right reading, manga art is commonly mirrored when reprinted. Since Gunsmith Cats feature alot of driving and gun detail, this is all reversed in prior reprints, most noticeably seen with Rally's custom Shelby Cobra cruising through the streets of Chicago-- with the driver on the right. That would be a hell of a custom Cobra!

This new addition addresses that of course but has one fatal flaw. It's so tiny!!!!! At a mere 5.25 x 7.25, the collection is smaller than a comic book and smaller still than the prior collected digest editions! This is a real shame to me since Sonada's art is some of the best the medium has to offer, I wish it was bigger to appreciate. And at several hundred pages (collecting about three prior trades worth) it's a tad unwieldy and nowhere near as cool to read as DC's Showcase or Marvel's Essential books are. I wish Dark Horse would have taken this into consideration since this is supposed to be the definitive presentation of the material. And for the record, I totally don't mind a western-reading flipped art format. Even on the cars, I give the human brain a little more credit than that, purist presentation or not. Bummer.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

New Label Alert: Healthy Choice

Healthy Choice soups had been using the "ribbon and dropshadow" look for some time (pictured left). But OMG look at them now!!!! Check out that blunt corner black box and downright file-o-riffic labeling. Baby, that is h-o-t.

Right behind the HC is Ralph's own brand of generic soup, looking sassy and post-modern classy in it's own right.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

New Comics Day

Only a few DC books this week.

JLA Classified
Green Lantern Corps
Wonder Woman

Boo. Terry Dodson has fallen off Wonder Woman for a spell, tho he'll be back. I'm not familiar with the replacement artist but it just ain't the same.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

300: Hot Gates

Damn, 300 is 10 kinds of awesome. It's beautiful from start to finish, visceral and fierce, unflinching in vilolence yet not gratuitous. The kind of movie you see first to take it all in, then happily watch again just for all the pretty pictures. Seriously, this flick is gorgeous and thankfully is backed up by everything else.

Monday, March 12, 2007

World of Warcrack: Still

It's the game that just keeps on giving. While I haven't currently acquired the abundance of leisure time required to dive into the Burning Crusade expansion, I still hop into my realm to play my undead avatar, Vonnagan the Dire, close-but-ever-so-far to the universal goal of level 60. Though Blizzard has bloated into a content delivering monstrosity to which no laws of man apply, they still do things that I find awesome.

The latest addition to all things WoW includes The Armory-- an online repository/catalog of every player in the game. Here you can find the vitals of Vonnagan himself. Or since I'm undead, would that be "un-vitals?"

Saturday, March 10, 2007

How to have a flaming skull

Haven't found time to see Ghost Rider, but check out this article at CG Society on the FX.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

New Comics Day

Deadlines loom! Phones ring! Danger waits at every turn! Still I fight my way through the day in order to get my comics, and am rewarded with an extra phat stack of books!

New Universal
Mighty Avengers
Iron Man: Hypervelocity
The Authority
Strangers in Paradise

Mighty Avengers! Page after page of Frank Cho! I'm sure there will be alot of Civil War hoopla to wade through but by looks alone it will be worth it.

The Authority #2? Where did that come from? And it looks like this issue actually has the Authority appear in it.

Oh, and that thing with Captain America.

What the headlines said:
Captain America Killed!

What actually happened:
Steve Rogers was shot.

There is a huge difference between those two statements. Granted he was tagged by a sniper and subsequently gutshot three times by a mind-controlled Sharon Carter, but the reporting on the event is more of a commentary than the event itself.

Of Marvel characters that could bite it, Rogers is not a bad choice... fictionally speaking. The character's roots remain in World War II, though his resurrection and "man out of time" stemming from the 1960's has been stretched about as far as it can in current continuity. As proven by The Ultimates, that still works, but only when continuity has been started fresh. In the "regular" Marvel U the more time that goes by the more we are asked to strain our suspension of disbelief.

In fact the key issue here is the (possible) death of Steve Rogers. He will be missed, but Captain America is not a man, it is a mantle. Many may disagree with this, and I know many fans and veteran artists who associate certain heroes undeniably with civilian identities. However from a character standpoint-- or, in Marvel's case, a license standpoint-- You can put someone else under that mask and make it stick. It's been done before. Alot. This adds creative possibilities that were previously unavailable, altho the money is on Frank Castle, aka The Punisher, donning the old red white and blue scale mail duds.

The largest misconception about a major character's death is that it means stories will stop being told. Marvel is perfectly capable of telling more stories of Steve Rogers as Captain America in any time period. For them to do so has yet to be seen, as is a probable, predictable, last minute pull through for Mr. Rogers.

Update: Marvel's own site pimps the upcoming "Fallen Son: Death of Captain America" miniseries with some pretty strong wording on the finality of Roger's "situation." There is a mighty fine line-up of artists involved, altho noting it as being written by Jeph Loeb leaves me less than enthusiastic.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Cai Guo-Quiang

This... artist? showman? performer?... what he does I don't know how to describe.

Check out Cai Guo-Quiang's web site for some videos of "live art" and then hit the Projects galleries for some truly bizarre and utterly unique works. The conceptualization I can wrap my head around, but the actual execution of these displays that seem to stem from pure thought imagery, wow.

My faves include hyper-taxedermy-subconscious-explosions "Head On" and "Inopportune: Stage Two."

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Let's keep it Civil

If you pounce around comics blogs you've no doubt seen these by now. Your best mash-ups of the Civil War finale:

Civil War in 30 Seconds
If only. (via All the Rage)

Testubo Productions Civil War #7
"The Explosively Talented Christopher Bird" re-wrote the whole shebang. (via Steven Grant's Permanent Damage among others)

Civil War/Wanted
Wherein the last two pages of Civil War #7 are recompositied with the captions from the last two pages of Wanted #6.
(found via Lying in the Gutters-- scroll down a bit)