Posted tagged ‘Howard the Duck’

RA: Politics for Geeks

September 13, 2008

I’ve been aching to put together some recomendation lists for awhile now, and as it’s an election year I figured this would be a good one to start of with.  So my top 10 political stories for geeks:

10) Iron Council, the most political novel from New Weird proponent and former Socialist party candidate China Mieville.

9) Sam & Max: Abe Lincoln Must Die, Telltale games has done an amazing job by bring back Sam & Max to adventure games.  This episode is the highlight of it to date, thanks in large part to seeing the homicidal rabbit-like Max debate the Lincoln Memorial.  Right now it’s also available as a free trial to advertise the other 9 episodes.

8 ) Howard the Duck, the best satire of life in the 70’s comics ever produced.  Of particular note here are issues 7-9 in which Howard is nominated as the Presidential candidate for the All Night Party, only to lose when some lurid photographs of him get released.

7) V for Vendetta, forget Watchmen, V is Alan Moore’s masterpiece.  A searing blast of anarchy aimed squarely at Margaret Thatcher that didn’t lose any of it’s power when translated into a movie focused on Bush’s America instead.  Both the movie and the original are well worth checking out.

6) DMZ, Brian Wood’s chronicle of the second U.S. civil war (centered in New York City) is Vertigo’s best book (once 100 Bullets ends in a few months) and is by far the most relevant comic currently on the stands.

5) Futurama: A Head In the Polls, always a show with a slight politicla bent to it (Al Gore’s daughter was one of the writers after all), Futurama went all it for this episode in which the Planet Express team explore a political convention, watch the debates between Jack Johnson and John Jackson, and ultimately allow for the second coming of Richard Nixon.  One of my favorite episodes if only for the Hypnotoad.

4) Wag the Dog, Barry Levinson and David Mamet’s brilliant tale of a staged war used to distract the public from a scandal involving the incumbant President.  Some great performances from Dustin Hoffman, Robert DeNiro and William H. Macy help to sell my favorite political film.

3) The Onion, still the best source for print satire of current events.

2) Battlestar Galactica, a continually surprising, Peabody Award winning space opera, that has proven to be the most relevant show on tv.  The writers excel at playing devil’s advicates.  Positing a world in which the heroes have no choice but to rig elections, commit terrorist bombings, hold secret military tribunals and criminalize abortions (they have gone on the record as actually being fairly liberal).  Now if it’ll just come back to wrap up the final season.

1) Transmetropolitan, the book that first put Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson on the map.  An epic chronicling how the press brings about the rise and fall of a President.  Besides the politics it is also one of the great works of futurism and a scathing attack on the failures of the press.  I’ve reread the entire thing at least half a dozen times now and I fully plan on doing so again in the near future.

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Review: Essential Man-Thing Vol.1

September 1, 2008

I just finished up another Essentials volume so I guess I’m sticking with the comics review theme for one more day.  The first of two volumes of the Essential Man-Thing covers the (unfortunately named) character’s earliest appearances and the beginings of Steve Gerber’s run on the book.  Now Man-Thing is a very strange book, in that it features a swamp creature (it’s worth noting that Man-Thing appeared a few months before Swamp Thing) who is nearly mindless and who has no means of communicating.

Thus the burden of the story is placed upon a rotating assortment of random supporting characters who serve as the foil for Man-Things adventures, and on a slightly overbearing omniscient narrator.  Fortunately, most of these stories are by the great Steve Gerber (who reader’s of my old book review blog will know I obsess over), who manages to take the rediculous premise and built it into a set of oddly poiniant morality plays.  He also throws in a few of his trademark touches of absurdity, this book does contain the first appearance of Howard the Duck after all, not to mention the ever so slightly over the top Foolkiller.

Somehow this all manages to come together to create Marvel’s second best horror book after Tomb of Dracula.  It’s really a shame these stories have mostly gone down in history the awful name (particularly due to the five “Giant-Size”  issues) and the corny catch phrase “whatever knows fear burns at the Man-Thing’s touch”.  Granted the stories here haven’t aged particularly well (this is the era of Marvel where every book had to include an evil biker gang at some point), but they have enough substance to be worth a read if you can get past the window dressing.  Oh and there’s some lovely Mike Ploog art.

A Plea for Better Bindings

June 11, 2008

I haven’t spent much time focusing on any of the losing battles I’ve fought at my library.  For example, I’ve come to accept that the air conditioner will never work correctly (man it’s been hot in the Northeast this week).   But being who I am, the one issue that continues to bug me more than any other is that we are not buying many graphic novels because the bindings are crap much of the time.

The children’s’ librarian would love to have a larger collection in YA, because she knows how in demand they are.  However, she doesn’t find them to be cost effective when all the pages fall out on the second circulation.  I think we must have some patrons who are just really rough with our books because I don’t have this problem with my own collection (well I did on 3 occasions).  But it’s true that the trades generally have awful glue bindings, without signatures, and often on cheap paper.

There are very few available with anything better.  You can get the new colorized editions of Bone with library bindings, and then there are the crazy Absolute and Omnibus editions that Marvel and DC are putting out (incidentally everyone should get the Howard the Duck Omnibus when it eventually comes out, damn delays).  But the price tag, coupled with the fact that they are heavy enough to act as a fairly daunting weapon makes them a bit inappropriate for libraries.

So I guess this is a plea to publishers to make better products if they want our business.  Because I really want us to do business with them.