Incoming: DARK NIGHT by Dini and Risso

DarkNightOGN

Image © DC Comics.

I enjoyed lettering this project, a very personal and harrowing true story by writer Paul Dini about a mugging that changed his life, with plenty of appearances by characters from the animated Batman TV show Dini was writing at the time. Artist Eduardo Risso captures both the real pain and the imagined inner turmoil brilliantly. I expect this book will be up for awards next year, deservedly so.

And Then I Read: SWAMP THING #5

swamp-thing-5-coverImage © DC Comics.

When I began reading this mini-series, I thought the cast and storyline were very pared down, almost too simplified. Of course I should have expected that veteran writer Len Wein was only setting the stage for bigger drama and more great characters to convey it. Alec Holland has regained his human form by trading the Swamp Thing persona with his old friend Matthew Cable. That hasn’t worked out so well, as Cable has now revealed himself as a power-mad would-be world ruler who is threatening the planet’s major cities and governments with the vast power of The Green, which he now commands.

Alec wants to stop Cable, but now that he’s only human, how to go about it? He already had help from Zatanna. Now he gets aid from several more of DC’s weird heroes beginning with The Phantom Stranger. I won’t spoil the others for you, but suffice to say, it’s a fun ride with characters well known to long-time readers. Kelley Jones has just as much fun drawing them, and the story kicks into high gear this time on all fronts. I loved it!

Highly recommended.

2016 Word Series of Birding Report

AirportWoodsI’ve been participating in the New Jersey Audubon Society’s World Series of Birding event since 1988, when I first joined the Cape May Bird Observatory’s Century Run team. I’ve been part of that team for many of the intervening years. This year for the first time I was invited to join the planning committee of Team Captain Brian Moscatello, leaders Roger and Kathy Horn, and supporter Patti Domm. We met twice in the weeks before yesterday’s event, communicated often by email, and Roger, Kathy and I did lots of scouting for bird locations and planning of the route. Yesterday we came prepared with a Game Plan. Some of it worked, some had to be changed due to events and new information, but I think helping with the plans made it even more fun for me than ever. I had a great time.

THE PLAN: 5 AM, leave promptly by bus from our starting place in Cape May, drive directly to the Cape May Airport. 5:20 to 6 AM: bird near Airport runways and woods.

This worked perfectly. We got there at first light, when it was still dark enough for night bird Chuck-Wills-Widow to be calling, a bird we usually struggle with at the very end of the day. We also immediately got Horned Lark, which we expected, and Eastern Meadowlark, which we were not sure we’d find. We birded near the runways for those, then in the Airport Woods, above, where we got some unexpected songbirds like Hooded Warbler. Continue reading

Getting Ready…

WSBGear…for the World Series of Birding tomorrow. Among other things, I’m bringing name tags I made for everyone (I’m one of eight leaders), and of course my camera and binoculars. Shortly I’ll be getting my gear and food together and prepped. Up tomorrow morning at 3 AM, at the meeting point in Cape May at 4:45, and our Big Day begins promptly at 5. So far the weather looks good and the prospects for lots of migrating birds is promising. I’ll have the full report here Sunday. If you’d like to look at our team page, it’s HERE.

 

Birds Rare and Glorious

BlackCrownedNightHeronImages © Todd Klein except as noted.

More scouting for the World Series of Birding the last few days, and I had time and opportunity to get a few good pictures. This Black-crowned Night-Heron was in Avalon on Tuesday. They are secretive, but once you find them, they tend to sit still. It also helps that they’re pretty large. As they are night feeders, most people who live near them never see them, or even know they exist. Continue reading