Monthly Archives: April 2009

Free Comic Book Day 2009

As always, the first Saturday in May is Free Comic Book Day. Comic book retailers, bookstores and libraries across the world celebrate the hobby and literacy by making dozens of new or reprinted comics available for free on this day every year since 2002.

What titles are available? Almost every comics publisher puts out something for FCBD. DC Comics has the opening chapter in this summer’s crossover event “Blackest Night” and Marvel Comics has a brand new Avengers comic up for grabs. For a list of everything, click here.

And for those folks in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area, please stop by All Things Fun! in West Berlin, NJ and the Haddon Township Library in Haddon Township, NJ. Don’t know where to find your local comics shop? Call 1-800-COMIC-Book or click here. Free comics for everyone and even special events, check it out!

And here’s a bonus – Hugh Jackman hyping Free Comic Book Day, plus a look at X-Men Origins: Wolverine, in theatres nationwide tomorrow. Enjoy.

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Who Has the Healthiest Fries 2009

Eurovision 2009: Scandinavia


Finland – “Lose Control” by Waldo’s People

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Comic Fan! #4

Main Enterprises presents Comic Fan! #4! Cover featured articles on the history of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents by some guy named Glenn Walker and a companion piece by writer Steve Skeates on his days at Tower Comics kick off our fourth issue.

Also included is Dennis Kininger’s “He’s a Fat Little Nothing” (on the ACG character Herbie), Lance “Doc” Boucher’s tribute to Richard “Grass” Green in Comic Fandom Icons, Sam Gafford’s “Sez ME!” on his anticipation of the Watchmen film, plus our mind-blowing review section, The Spinner Rack.

All this plus illustrations by Dave Farley, Dan Taylor, John Lambert, Hal Jones, Larry Tisch, Don Newton, Dan Adkins, Rick Limacher, Marc Haines and others. A 60-page full magazine sized publication with full color front and back covers.

Comic Fan! #4 can be purchased here. Check it out!

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Facebook Fries: A Video Challenge

Sticky Wicket 3: Watkins’ Finest Inning

The final volume of friend and writer Ewart Rouse‘s “Sticky Wicket” trilogy has just been released.

The new book, “Watkins’ Finest Inning” is about a ragtag band of cricket players from former British Commonwealth countries who seek, against the odds, to take the game of their youth mainstream in America.

The first two volumes, “Watkins at Bat” and “Watkins Fights Back” are both highly recommended and available from LMH Publishing. “Watkins’ Finest Inning” can be purchased from Amazon here.

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Avengers Forever Chat Tonight

WHAT

Webchat on this weeks New Avengers #52, Mighty Avengers #24 and Avengers: the Initiative #23

WHERE:

Avengers Forever Chat Room
http://www.avengersforever.org/chat/

WHEN:

Monday, 27th April, 2009

US Eastern Standard Time: 9:00 PM
US Central Standard Time: 8:00 PM
US Mountain Standard Time: 7:00 PM
US Pacific Standard Time: 6:00 PM

HOW:

By any means possible – just be there!
(And bring your own cowbell)

Bea Arthur Passes at 86

Beatrice Arthur, Tony and Emmy Award winning actress and star of the sitcoms “Maude” and “Golden Girls,” passed away at her home earlier today.

She won a Tony for her role of Vera Charles in “Mame,” as well as multiple awards for work on her sitcoms. She also notoriously appeared, along other odd choices like Art Carney and Harvey Korman, in 1978’s “The Star Wars Holiday Special.”

Although the cause of death was unannounced, Ms. Arthur was fighting with cancer for some time. An icon of the small screen and the big stage, she’ll be missed and remembered fondly.

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Wolverine: Ghosts

Yeah, I’m a comics guy, but for the most part, things like Wolverine and Punisher are off my radar. It’s just not my taste. I solidly believe that heroes don’t kill, won’t kill, and shouldn’t have to kill. It’s the main reason for the better part of two decades I haven’t read Wolverine.

Jonathan Maberry having a short story in Wolverine: The Anniversary changed my buying habits. I have a lot of respect for Maberry’s skills both as a writer and as a writing teacher, so I had to see what he was up to with everyone’s favorite X-Man. His story, “Ghosts,” illustrated by Tomm Coker (who might be better known as the writer/director of 2007’s Catacombs), is a mere eight pages long. But page count doesn’t matter. In an economy of words, Maberry takes Wolverine down to basics and tells a tale of love and vengeance, and one of the core of the character. It is truly a marvel of words and images, dancing together in battle choreography both of the body and the mind. This is a deeper Wolverine than I’ve seen in a while.

Word on the street is Jonathan Maberry will also be trying his hand at the Punisher, another Marvel Comics character I’ve never really cared for. I’m placing my order now.

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Red Dwarf: Back to Earth

I was thrilled to hear that one of my favorite TV series was making a comeback, even if for three short episodes, but when I actually saw it… I kinda wish I hadn’t. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t that great either.

Red Dwarf” was a scifi sitcom from the late 1980s that was broadcast on the BBC. It detailed the life of Dave Lister, the last human as he traveled the universe in the gigantic spaceship Red Dwarf with a hologram of his late bunkmate, the ship’s computer, a highly evolved cat, and a robot servant, among others. I’m oversimplifying, but suffice it to say it was a great, and usually hysterical program. It lasted on and off for eight seasons, and even spawned two terrific books, two not-so-terrific American TV pilots and also inspired a twisted and terrible version of itself for the UPN called “Homeboys in Outer Space” that is probably best forgotten.

The show returned over Easter on the new station called simply ‘Dave’ with the three part “Back to Earth.” My first impression is that it was lacking. Absence of a laugh track is not always a problem, but on shows where one is traditionally can be. I think the no-laugh-track was a major factor in my impression. There were awkward silences where laughter would have covered up a failed joke. I wouldn’t have thought that was needed in “Red Dwarf,” but here’s the evidence.

The other bothersome point for me was that the show seemed to traveling farther and farther away from what I liked about it originally. That may have something to do with the creators. Rob Grant and Doug Taylor, as the mythical ‘Grant Taylor,’ are credited with creating the show and guiding it through several seasons. When Rob Grant left, it was evident in the stories, and only got worse from there in my opinion.

The story of “Back to Earth” actually does resonate from an episode from the good old days however. In “Back to Reality,” possibly designed as a series finale, the crew finds that nothing is real, and that they are really players in a total immersion videogame. This is, of course, only the machinations of a creature called the Despair Squid. In “Back to Earth,” the crew finds themselves in a similar situation, brought to Earth, an Earth in a dimension where the crew are merely characters in a TV series called, you guessed it, “Red Dwarf.”

As good as it sounds, the three episodes barely deliver. There are moments that are inspired, like an appearance by actor Craig Charles (who plays Dave Lister) on the set of “Coronation Street,” a soap he appeared in after “Dwarf.” After that however, there’s not much there except lost opportunities. Even the old stuff comes up lame. The Cat is more cartoony than usual, and Kochanski is barely there and Holly is not even mentioned. It’s more than a little disappointing.

Another thing that bothered me was the lack of continuity. “Red Dwarf” was always a sitcom and always played for laughs, but the scifi, specifically the science part of it, was always logical and made sense within their world. There are unexplained flaws and questions in what happened between the end of Series 8 and “Back to Earth.” These could be explained away by the existence in ‘the real world’ of a Series 9 and 10 that supposedly came before “Back to Earth” – but, um, we never saw these mythical episodes.

All in all, I was happy to see (most of) the crew back together and on the screen, but more than a little disappointed with the whole package. Here’s hoping for a real Series 9 or 10…

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