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ohtani's jacket

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  1. All the criticisms I read were either about the politics or how stupid the characters act.
  2. The Gap band, one of my all-time favorite bands.
  3. I finally finished the Neon Genesis Evangelion Rebuild movies. Now I know I'm getting old because they were confusing as hell.
  4. I burned through Y: The Last Man. It seems to be a series that a lot of people have a problem with due to politics, but I thought it was a ripping yarn. Briskly paced, easy to read, and a great cliffhanger at the end of each issue. I wound up binge reading it, by my own standards, which raises the question, did comics become like TV or did TV become like comics? When it came time for the big reveal, I was a little disappointed and thought it was gonna be another mystery that's so big it's impossible to pay off, but ultimately the story was bigger than the premise and the final run of issues was a fantastic finale. I wouldn't put it up there with the very best Vertigo stuff, but I liked it more than 100 Bullets.
  5. Congrats on getting to the end, Liam. 2005 I ended up listening to Arcade FIre's Funeral album, and I think their music works better for me as an album than as singles. Definitely one of the best albums of the 00s for me, at least through 2004-05. 2005 was the last year that I lived in New Zealand, but I was busy exploring music from the past. Now I'm busy exploring music from that past. Sufjan Stevens was recommended to me some years ago, so I am familiar with his work to an extent. The songs that blew me away from the book were the Sigur Ros & Anthony & the Johnsons songs. I've listened to a few Sigur Ros albums before, and they're challenging albums to listen to, but Hoppipolla is a beautiful song. I listened to the Anthony & the Johnsons' album, I Am a Bird Now, on the strength of Hope There's Someone, and I thought it was a great album. As usual, here is a selection of songs that moved me one way or the other: Round 2 Round 3 For hip hop, I listened to a dozen or so albums. Little Brother's The Minstrel Show as my favorite. Common's Be album was also good.
  6. Roy Thomas was also able to exit Conan on a high, penning the 10th anniversary issue where Conan finally deals with his grief over Belit's death. Conan had spent a couple of years wandering about having adventures in the wake of her death. Occasionally, there would be references to her, but we never saw Conan grieve over her. This actually bugged me a bit as I wanted to see how a barbarian would react to these types of circumstances. I didn't expect him to have an arguments with God like Jonah did, but I wanted to see how his brooding would play out. Thankfully, Roy handled it beautifully and signed off with one of his best stories. Not sure where I'll go next with Conan. There is so much content I haven't read yet.
  7. Big day for me as I finished up Jonah Hex, Sandman Mystery Theatre, and Roy Thomas' original run on Conan the Barbarian. Jonah Hex remained a high quality book until the end, though it takes a dip toward the end when the book goes bi-monthly and Fleisher is busy at work on the Hex series. The last three issues are drawn and colored by the Gray Morrow. The artwork is gorgeous and the people are beautiful, but Morrow's style doesn't fit the gritty image of the series. The Crisis tie-in is awful, and yet it isn't the most frustrating part of the conclusion. Throughout the series, one of the most important aspects of the story was the women in Jonah's life, and yet we never find out what happens to Adrian or Emmylou, and even Mei Ling is treated shabbily. I suspect Fleisher felt that he could always return Jonah to the West and continue telling these stories, and indeed a few years later, Fleisher wrote one last Jonah story in Secret Origins which confirms that Jonah made it back to the West. It also sets up some lore about some tragedy befalling Jonah's son. I don't know if another writer followed up on that. I'm currently weighing up whether to read any of the later Jonah runs. Fleisher ended up penning over 100 Jonah stories. It was a brilliant run. Aside from the unresolved plot points, the only part I didn't like was when Jonah was abducted and taken to China, and even then I liked the story on the boat ride back. I'm gonna miss that ugly mug. Sandman Mystery Theatre ended strongly. I was pleased that Seagle resolved the things that had been nagging at me about Wesley & Dian's relationship. The final issue is really beautiful. It's almost as perfect as the ending to Casablanca. It's amazing how Seagle was able to wrap up so many plot points within a single issue. There were more stories the creators could have told, but they were fighting an uphill battle with sales. Having Wesley pull the plug on his own comic was brilliant. Personally, I thought the middle of the series was when the book was firing on all cylinders, but the book maintained its integrity until the end, which is rare with comic book runs.
  8. I don't understand why they had to have Crisis on Infinite Earths let alone this New 52 thingamajiggy.
  9. I've read Warlord up until Grell left. I haven't read anything after that. I also haven't read Grell's return to the character. I generally like Grell's work. I enjoyed Jon Sable and his Green Arrow stuff. I can't remember much about Warlord, to be honest, but I was hooked enough to read it through 70 odd issues.
  10. Today I read Conan the Barbarian #100, which some of you may know is the conclusion to the Belit saga. It wasn't as moving as it might have been if the readers didn't know what was going to happen in advance, but it was beautifully rendered by Buscema and Chan, and a monumental chapter in the series given that Conan spent so many issues with the Black Corsairs. I've been reading Conan and Jonah Hex at the same time, so I've had these duel narratives of Conan and Belit and Jonah and Mei Ling play out simultaneously. I prefer the way Fleisher handled Jonah and Mei Ling to the way Thomas wrote Conan and Belit, but I'm yet to see how Thomas handles the aftermath. Curse you DC for cancelling Jonah Hex in 1985! Actually, apparently it escaped cancellation three times. That's unfortunate because I honestly think Fleisher's run is one of the best comic book runs ever.
  11. I've been going through a bit of a rut with Sandman Mystery Theatre. I've never read a single issue of Blackhawk, so I wasn't sure what I should make of the Janos Prohaska depiction. To me, the most interesting thing about that arc was Burke's reaction to the murders. Then I really didn't like the Return of the Scarlet Ghost arc until the last issue where Wagner and Seagle drastically upped the ante. The Crone was better. The relationship between Wesley and Dian has grown bleak, but I found that storyline more interesting than the murder mystery. I guess one of the difficult parts of this series was coming up with murder mysteries. I'm not really a fan of how they used comics and then radio as the backdrop for the murders. It seems over-the-top to me that there would be a spree of murders in either industry. I realize that the writers want to tap into everything that was shaping society in the late 30s, but it's a tad contrived at times. I read Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld over the past few weeks. It's a comic I always seem mentioned as an underrated title. The first issue was rushed and felt like a comic for a toy line, but once it settled into a groove, it was a highly enjoyable max-series. The most outstanding thing about it is Ernie Colon's artwork. I'd probably recommend it on that basis alone. And I finally finished Five Years Later through to the last issue written by the Bierbaums. What a complete and utter non-investment. I remember the first time I read Five Years Later it was after I had read all of the classic runs on Legion of Super-Heroes, and I really enjoyed the first dozen issues before Giffen stepped back from the series. This but this time round it felt inconsequential. I got absolutely nothing out of it, and a lot of the time it was just plain confusing. My opinion of post-Crisis reboots is starting to nosedive.
  12. Incredible cliffhanger in the final chapter.
  13. The same burn out happens to most musicians and filmmakers too.
  14. Another series I wrapped up was Earth X. I'm not a huge fan of dystopian future storytelling these days (perhaps because we're living in one right now), but the series grew on me towards the end. I'm not in a rush to read the sequels, but the art was nice and there was some intrigue, which is all I really hope for from a comic.
  15. I wasn't overly thrilled with the Sandman Mystery Theatre "Phantom of the Fair" arc. For the first time in the series, it felt like there was too much story in the arc. Sandman Mystery Theatre is such a tightly plotted book, and so well paced, that I almost always feel compelled to read an arc in a single sitting, but this arc dragged. It couldn't figure out what it wanted to be. At first, you had Wesley brooding over the future, and the spectre of war, against the backdrop of the World's Fair. Then suddenly it was about Wesley confronting his own prejudices and homophobia. Personally, I couldn't understand how Wesley could be homophobic given everything we've learned about him thus far. My bigger problem, however, was how the two themes were meant to be connected. Utopia ideals vs. man's basic nature? Another murder, another direct connection to the titular character. At least this murder prompted Wesley to behave in new ways. I don't like the way Wesley and Dian's relationship has been thrown on the backburner. Dian has a job now and has found some purpose in her life, all Wesley and Dian do is engage in endless rounds of foreplay (okay, people had sex in the 1930s, I get it!) I did like the clumsy fight scene at the end of the arc. I like the fact that Wesley is perhaps the most nonathletic superhero, ever. I guess Dian being involved more in the crimefighting side of things is a welcome development, but their relationship hasn't felt right to me since she ran off to England. There are an increasing number of cameos from other Golden Age heroes. Ted Knight did not seem like the Ted Knight I know from James Robinson's Star Man. I dug the Jim Corrigan appearance, though. Another thing that threw me off about this arc was the overhaul of the cover designs. They are trying to make the covers look like the covers to an old pulp magazine or movie poster, but they would have looked much better if they'd been painted or done with pencil art.
  16. I read Jim Starlin's Metamorphosis Odyssey from Epic Illustrated. I've been reading quite a few Marvel magazines lately, and I feel like they were an untapped avenue for Marvel's creators to enjoy creative freedom and explore their own original ideas instead of trying to shoehorn them into the monthly books. Very few creators took advantage of the possibilities of this new format, and there weren't a lot of successes, but Metamorphosis Odyssey was definitely a success. It was gorgeous to look at and the concept was intriguing. The execution wasn't perfect (it felt a bit rushed to me), but it was magnificent in its scope. I must admit, I immediately thought, "Wow, it's Green Arrow" when Vanth finally appeared.
  17. I finished the Sandman Mystery Theatre arcs "Dr. Death", "The Night of the Butcher", "The Hourman" and "The Python." Absolutely one of the most tightly plotted series I've read with each arc being compelling reading. The relationship between Wesley and Dian has taken twists and turns that I didn't expect, but I have to say it's the development of the supporting cast that I've enjoyed the most. I love Burke. Readers have come across cops like Burke in fiction countless times, but he still feels like a living, breathing character. I also like that they're saving some of the reveals until the end and throwing in a few red herrings. Night of the Butcher finally introduced a killer that wasn't immediately connected to the characters, and all it took was a bit of mutilation. I like Guy Davis' art, but I still find him to be a bit inconsistent. The characters' weight seems to change all the time, and I often get confused between his depiction of Dodds and the coroner, Hubert Klein. I'm really enjoying the series, which is why I'm burning through it so quickly.
  18. I finished Cowboy Bebop yesterday (better late than never!) Phenomenal show. The ending left me in tears.
  19. I finished J. M. DeMatteis' run on Captain America. It took me a while to get through it as it wasn't a huge page turner for me, but I made it to the end. The reason I wanted to read the run was that I've always liked DeMatteis as a writer, and I really like the work he did on Spectacular Spider-Man in the 90s. DeMatteis likes to put his characters through a lot of anguish and mental torment, and they lash out at their loved ones a lot. We got plenty of that here. He really dug deep into the soul of the man, Steve Rogers. Captain America isn't a favorite of mine, and strikes me as a difficult character to write much like Wonder Woman or Superman, but DeMatteis did an excellent job of portraying Cap as more than just a symbol or an icon, but a guy with all sorts of anxieties. But he was also a guy who had hope, and believed in people and the values and ideals of his country. Now, a lot of that stuff is difficult to relate to as a non-American, but DeMatteis certainly explored it in depth. One thing I love about DeMatteis' work is the relationship between the hero and his antagonist. He develops these incredibly complex relationships between the hero and villain that aren't purely black and white. In Spectacular Spider-Man, it was the relationship between Peter Parker and Harry Osborn. In Captain America, it was Cap vs. the Red Skull. I don't know how much of Red Skull's backstory DeMatteis invented for this run, but the issue where Red Skull tells his life's story to Cap while Cap doesn't say a word the entire issue was a phenomenal piece of storytelling. Another thing i love about DeMatteis work is that you get those pages with no dialogue or captions that let the art tell the story, and those standalone pages are always emotionally powerful. For the most part, I thought the art was serviceable. Zeck did some good stuff before they pinched him for Secret Wars. DeMatteis' final issue was re-written by the editors, and he quit the series in anger which is a bummer, but overall I thought it was a decent run. I doubt it's something I'll revisit, but I'm glad I stuck it out to the end.
  20. I finished the fourth arc of Sandman Mystery Theatre. I really like the tight plotting of these four issue arcs. The pacing is excellent and everything ties together beautifully. The stories aren't really mysteries per se. We generally know who the killer is before the hero does. However, the way Wagner and Seagle pull together the plot threads is impressive. I do hope they start introducing some murder mysteries that happen outside of the main characters' social circles, however, as it doesn't seem plausible that they could be so closely related to so many different crimes (unless there is a storyline reason I'm missing related to Sandman's dreams.) I'm really starting to like the Dian Belmont character. I loved how they handled the discovery of Wesley's secret. It's such a strong dynamic with Wesley being guilt-torn over not being honest with Dian, and Dian discovering the secret for herself and being plagued by anxieties over how to broach the subject. They're well on their way to becoming a memorable comic book couple for me. One thing, though -- Dodds is supposed to be in his late 20s, but the way Davis draws him at times, and the way they color his hair, he often looks middle-aged. Am I the only one who feels that way? I'm still going strong with Jonah Hex. I just read Jonah Hex #50. I have no idea how they are going to write Mei Ling out of the series -- is she going to leave him? Will someone kill her? The suspense is killing me. On a whim, I read the three-issue Hawkworld prestige mini-series. Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about post-Crisis reboots anymore. I used to think they were cool, but now I'm not so sure. There's a certain timelessness to great comic book runs, but with these reboots, I immediately place them as late 80s or early 90s. One thing I'll say for Hawkworld is that the art is absolutely gorgeous. I haven't read a lot of Truman's work, but the pencils I've seen on Grimjack are kind of ugly to me. His work on this series was stunning. I also read Formerly Known as the Justice League. Justice League International is probably my favorite comic book series of all-time. I started reading it as a kid with the Kooey Kooey Kooey island storyline and was absolutely hooked. Many of my favorite childhood comic book memories involve hunting down the back issues of that series. You can never go home again, and you can never truly recapture the magic, but it felt like visiting old friends. There were a lot of characters whom I hadn't thought about in forever, and some side-splitting laughs. Maguire's art remains top shelf, and he's still a master of facial expressions. If you liked the humor of the original series, and the non-stop banter, then this sequel will feel like old times. The appeal of the original series was that it made fun of the doom and gloom of the mutant books and the stuff I mentioned above (Hawkword & the Punisher.) I'm not sure where the reboot fits in the scheme of modern comics (I did like the self-referencing joke they made about 80s nostalgia reboots), but it's the same silly fun.
  21. 2004 The main things I remember from this year are the Usher songs. I was heavily into funk and soul in 2004 and was only listening to records from the 60s and 70s. It seems the most acclaimed album from the year was Arcade Fire's Funeral. I remember hearing Wake Up for the first time when it was used in the Where The Wild Things Are trailer five years later. I've always loved that song, but strangely I haven't listened to anything else by the band. I tried listening to Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) and a few other songs this time, but none of the songs had an immediate impact on me. I should probably listen to the album in full. I really liked a lot of the songs the book chose for this year, especially that run of Kaiser Chiefs, The Libertines and Modest Mouse. Those songs may seem tired to younger folks, but to me they're as fresh as they day they were released. I've grown to love Modest Mouse since joining this thread and Float On is arguably their masterpiece as far as singles go. I found myself appreciating the post-punk revival a lot more during this year. My biggest discovery were Les Savy Fav, who released a singles compilation in 2004. I also dug The Go! Team. Other choice cuts: More songs: I think I enjoyed this year the most of the 00s, thus far.
  22. Japan got the baseball medal it so desperately wanted. The Games were a success because of the effort the athletes put in despite all of the restrictions. We couldn't enjoy the atmosphere in Tokyo, but the sporting competitions were of the highest quality despite the lack of fans. Japan and New Zealand both had record medal hauls, which I wasn't expecting. There was a lot of great sportsmanship as well. Now the athletes have gone home and we have problems with Delta, but the Olympics were a pleasant distraction these past two weeks. I particularly enjoyed the judo and wrestling and hope the IOC don't meddle with those events.
  23. I finished up the fourth arc of Sandman Mystery Theatre. The return of Guy Davis made a huge difference. I thought his pencils were better than the first arc, and I can understand why he was the definitive artist on the series. Throughout the arc, I had the distinct feeling that this was how the book was supposed to look. One thing I really liked about the arc was how awkward Dodds was as a crimefighting vigilante. Instead of being some avenging angel, he worries that he accidently killed someone he used his gas on, he gets shot, and keeps bungling his secret identity act and jeopardizing his romantic relationship with Dian. There was a lot of sex in this arc, but it didn't feel gratuitous to me. Wagner and Seagle took time to detail the lives of people who were in same-sex relationships during the era instead of making it purely titillating. One criticism I do agree with is the covers. I don't think the photo covers have aged well at all, and I don't like the layout or the colors either. They worked on Sandman because McKean made original pieces of artwork that sometimes included photographs, but they come across like a failed idea on Sandman Mystery Theatre.
  24. I watched Akira for the first time in decades after recently finishing the manga. The manga obviously has a lot more depth to it since it's over 2000 pages long, but the film is an excellent adaptation. I was impressed with how well the animation held up. The direction is superb and the backgrounds are gorgeous. They basically string the beginning and the ending of the manga together. The personal relationships aren't as strong as they are in the manga with the exception of Kaneda and Tetsuo, and there are a number of characters who are cut from the movie completely, but the biggest difference is that the titular character, Akira, is barely featured in the movie at all. The ending to the manga is drawn out and more detailed, however you still get the general gist of it in the movie. I'm glad I watched the film again and regard it as a nice companion piece to the manga series.
  25. This season has been too action-orientated and ridiculously over-the-top, but I enjoyed the Voltran/Goodfellas mash up.
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