Author Archives: Todd

And Then I Read: ASTRO CITY 24

AC24Image © Juke Box Productions

What a great cover that is. I think it’s the best ape cover I’ve ever seen, and DC used to do lots of them in the 1950s-60s. What makes this one so good, aside from the wonderful art by Alex Ross (which looks even better on the actual cover than it does on this scan), is the fact that this gorilla is NOT interacting with people in some silly way, he’s totally into his drumming, and that’s just what he obviously loves to do.

Inside, Sticks, the gorilla isn’t nearly as happy. He’s been practically forced into joining a super group, and he’s not feeling it as a career, even though he has what it takes to fight crime. It’s music that he wants to pursue, but when he tries going back to the group he joined last issue, it soon puts them in danger again. Writer Kurt Busiek has a solution, though, and it’s an excellent one. Have a read and see.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: GOING POSTAL by Terry Pratchett

GoingPostalThe leader of the Discword city of Ankh-Morpork, Lord Vetinari, has an interesting method of hiring high-ranking government officials. He appoints condemned criminals. Moist von Lipwig is one, a clever con-man whose career of crime has brought him to a dead end, literally. Or, he can become the new Postmaster General of Ankh-Morpork. Seems like an easy choice, but as Moist soon finds out, the postal service is not only defunct, the very building he’s supposed to run is crumbling, rotting, and filled to the rafters with undelivered mail. Moist tries to run for it, but Lord Vetinari has appointed a tenacious warden — a very strong and unkillable golem named Pump. Wisely, Moist decides to make the best of it.

The decline of the mail service is due to a new and much faster system of sending messages called Clacks, a complex system of visual semaphore sent from tower to tower across the country. That system also has it’s problems, due to mismanagement and failing equipment, and Moist sees a chance to gain traction by challenging the Clacks and their owner, promoting the mail as a much cheaper and (somehow) faster service. Moist is at home with the kind of scam this seems to be, or is it? With help from his very aged employees, Pump and his golem friends, and other unexpected allies, Moist actually might make a go of this mail thing. And the invention of the postage stamp is just the kind of racket he knows well — it’s as good as printing money, especially when people start collecting the stamps instead of using them. But Reacher Gilt, the pirate in control of the Clacks, has other ideas…

Great read, not only clever and insightful, but often very funny. The characters are more than punchlines, though, and their struggles against bureaucracy and human nature are epic. As a former stamp collector, this book delighted me, but I think it would appeal to almost anyone. Highly recommended.

And Then I Read: GREEN LANTERN LOST ARMY 1

GLLA1Image © DC Comics.

A new GL title, but not really all that new, as it continues the stories of several familiar characters: John Stewart, Arisia, Kilowog, and Guy Gardner, as well as two newer Lanterns, Xrill-Vrek and Two-Six, and a wild card in the person of Krona, who has been both a Guardian in the deep past, and a villain more recently, I think. We are thrown into a new story, or at least it’s new to me, perhaps it continues from a series I haven’t read. There are intriguing elements and mysteries galore. Writer Cullen Bunn handles the characters well, artist Jesus Saiz handles them equally well visually, and I enjoyed reading this issue. At least we’re not in a massive cosmic battle for once, a good thing in my book. Earth is far away, as the title suggests, the characters are lost. That can work in the sense that any kind of story is possible. I’ll keep reading this one to see how it goes.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: SUPERMAN 41

Sup41Image © DC Comics.

Gene Luen Yang takes over for Geoff Johns as writer this issue, and as I was enjoying Johns’ run, I thought I’d give it a try. I liked it.

Superman is still trying to figure out his new power, which is a burst of nova-like energy he has a hard time controlling, and that leaves his powers drained for a while. Clark Kent, meanwhile, is receiving texts from a mystery person who seems to know far too much about him. How Clark attempts to deal with that is a large part of this issue, along with the news story that he, Jimmy and Lois are all working on about high-tech weapons in the wrong hands, and how they got there.

The writing seems fine, I’m intrigued to see where the story goes, and I’m still enjoying John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson’s art.

Recommended.

Family Visits

RussBoysEllenCMPSPBlogOn Thursday afternoon my brother Russ and his sons Nathan and Jayden arrived at our house with my mom for an overnight visit. They live in California, and we don’t see them often, so it was great having them. Thursday afternoon we had a fine time at the beach, and Friday morning we went to the Cape May Point State Park where we walked on one of the trails… Continue reading