Monday, January 09, 2006

Comics and Beer

I haven’t been hitting the comic shop nearly as regularly lately, at least for the past couple of months. Holiday shopping and all sorts of things for the house have precluded any extra comics spending. However, I did acquire a few trades/graphic novels for Christmas. I’m slowly making my way through the ones on my sidebar. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago on my last visit to the store, I picked up Testament #1 by Douglas Rushkoff and Liam Sharp. I’d seen the preview for this in a recent issue of Fables and liked the art. Liam has taken to hanging out in the sffworld forums, too. Well, what did I think? As first issues go, I think they did a good job of setting up the story and the characters. The opening pages of a flashback, of sorts, segueing into the present storyline was effective. The world they lay out is familiar and eerie – religious overtones mixed with PKD-paranoia – is reminiscent of a Big Brother controlled world. Sharp’s art is quite effective and his art really shines on the closing pages of this issue. I liked his art on the Possessed mini-series from a couple of years ago and his high quality pencils, seemingly inspired by HP Lovecraft imagery is equally suited here. I’ll definitely be picking up the second issue, and chances are, I’ll be adding it to my pull-list.

Under the tree were some choice goodies. In addition to the books on the sidebar (Hellboy, Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams), I also received the first volume of George Perez’s run on Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman: Gods and Mortals. I have always liked his art, especially his rendition of Wonder Woman. I didn’t pick up these issues when they first came out nearly 20 years ago, but since getting into Rucka’s Wonder Woman (ease up perverts), I wanted to see where it all started. Of course, the art is great – George draws Olympus and its gods with the greatness they deserve. Some of the plot elements in the first issue reminded me of Gladiator, which is odd considering the book predated the film. Anyway, if Joss Whedon is still looking for a great hook on his movie, he need look no further than this volume. The story nicely captures the mythic feel inherent in Wonder Woman’s character, and firmly establishes a status quo for the character as superhero in the modern world of the late 80s. With this in mind, I’m hoping the new Wonder Woman series that starts up after Infinite Crisis isn’t a clusterfuck. On a side note, here is a nice overview of Rucka’s Wonder Woman.

Over the weekend, I finished my chapter/issue a day re-read of Watchmen. I don’t think I can add to what many, many, many, many, others have already said, save for a couple of thought-bits. Even after reading it a number of times, Moore and Gibbons still surprised me with certain things. I was also able to appreciate the synchronicity of recurring images in each of the chapters and characters, particularly the look of awed involvement on Doc Manhattan’s face early when Laurie is talking to him, Dan’s similar look again in the company of Laurie as he is trying to deduce the mystery behind the masked killer, and the same look on Veidt’s face as he views the monitors showing the world and the world reacting to his master joke. One of my favorite lines from the book:

Do you seriously think I'd explain my master-stroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it thirty-five minutes ago.

Lastly, Mrs. Blog o’ Stuff and I went out to dinner with my parents just over the border in Pennsylvania at the Porterhouse Restaurant and Brew Pub. The have River Horse on tap, a microbrewery out of Lambertville, NJ. One of the beers I had, their award-winning Triple Horse had to be one of the best beers I’ve ever had on tap, it was smooth and delicious. However, it is 10% alcohol, which is more than double the normal beer. With two of those in my belly, a third beer and a huge burger, my stomach was ready to explode, but it was worth it.

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