October 21, 2011
This weekend, I’m walking to raise funds for research and education in the FAAN Walk for Food Allergy. I have life-threatening allergies myself, and while my son hasn’t shown any signs yet, the medical community is still trying to determine what causes people to develop allergies. It would be great if they find a way to guarantee that he won’t inherit them, or at least to make life safer for him than it has been for me.
A huge thank-you to Damon, Devin, Greg, Jesse and Lia for sponsoring me after my first post about the event. It’s coming up this Sunday in Santa Monica, California (near Los Angeles), and FAAN has other walks planned across the country.
You can help with any amount down to US $10. If you’d like to contribute, please donate at my fundraising page.
As I write this, I’m $250 away from the #10 spot on the top 10 list for the Los Angeles walk. Anyone want to help push me into the top 10?
October 14, 2011
A few weeks ago, I wrote about my fundraising efforts to raise money for research and education in the FAAN Walk for Food Allergy. The walk is coming up next weekend in Santa Monica, California.
I’d like to thank Damon, Devin, Greg, and Jesse for sponsoring me. Your donations will make a huge difference, maybe not in my life, but certainly in the lives of people like me who have to deal with potentially lethal reactions to ordinary food day in and day out.
You can help with any amount down to US $10. If you’d like to contribute, please donate at my fundraising page.
And if you’d like to spread the word, that helps too. Please use this link: http://hyperborea.org/allergywalk
September 29, 2011
This doesn’t have anything to do with the Flash, or comics, but it’s important to me. I’ll be walking next month to raise money for research and education, and I hope you’ll sponsor me with a donation.
I don’t talk about it much online, but I have food allergies. Some are severe, some moderate, and some mild, but the worst of them can send me to the emergency room (or worse) if I eat food with the wrong ingredients. It can be tricky at times, but I like to think I do a decent job of striking a balance between not getting myself killed and not hiding away in my house like a shut-in.
That means I carry emergency medication whenever I eat. I don’t go out for Thai food or visit restaurants that leave a basket of peanuts on the table to munch on while you wait. I check ingredients in the grocery store, and I ask the waiter about them when I order food. If I can’t eat one item on the menu, I look for another dish that I can.
Even so, sometimes something slips through, and when it’s a bad one, my throat closes up, making it hard to breathe. If I’m lucky, I take my medication and spend the next few hours anxiously waiting until it subsides, hoping that what I’ve taken was enough. If not, I have to inject myself with epinephrine and get someone to take me to the emergency room. Thankfully, it’s been years since I’ve had a reaction bad enough to send me to the hospital.
I’ve also got a ten-month-old son. I’d like to spare him from having to deal with all that, if I can. If I can’t, and he develops serious allergies like I have, I’d like to help smooth the path for him as he learns how to live with them — or, better yet, help find a cure.
So I’m participating in the FAAN Walk for Food Allergy to raise money for research and education, and I hope you’ll sponsor me. Read the rest of this entry »
September 19, 2011
Today, Netflix announced that they are separating the DVD and streaming businesses, and will be renaming the DVD-by-mail service as Qwikster, “because it refers to quick delivery.”
Qwikster…why does that sound familiar?
Ah, right…The Quickster, speedster alter-ego of Spongebob Squarepants and parody of the DC Comics’ Flash and Marvel Comics’ Quicksilver.
He looks a bit more like a VHS tape than a DVD or Blu-Ray disc, don’t you think?
September 16, 2011
Halfway through DC’s New 52 debut month, here’s what I think of the comics I’ve tried so far.
Justice League #1
Looked at on its own, this wasn’t a Justice League story so much as it was a Batman/Green Lantern team-up. That’s OK for a team-up book, or the first chapter of a graphic novel, but not exactly ideal for a high-profile launch that’s billed as an introduction to the League (not to mention an introduction to the new setting for the DCU).
I’m going to call it now: just like Final Crisis, this first Justice League arc should have been presented from the beginning as a graphic novel, not as a serialized story. You only get one chance to make a first impression.
Read the rest of this entry »
September 9, 2011
Just wondering, since I do a lot of link-sharing and occasional commentary that fits multiple social networks. If you’re following someone on more than one network, and they post the same thing to both, would you rather get it out of the way all at once, or see it staggered over time?
This doesn’t apply to “A new post is up!” notifications – IMO those should always go up immediately. I’m thinking more along the lines of a minipost that can fit in a Facebook status, or links to other sites, or links back to older posts that have become relevant again. Stuff that’s not time-critical. [Edited to clarify.]
Also, assume the cross-post is properly tailored for each network, so you don’t have #hashtags on the Facebook post, the Twitter post doesn’t link to a Facebook status, links on Google+ and Facebook have previews, etc.
January 12, 2011
For the past decade, Phil & Kaja Foglio have been spinning the mad science/gaslamp fantasy adventures of Agatha Heterodyne in the award-winning comic book-turned-webcomic Girl Genius. Now they’ve stepped into a new medium, adapting the first story into a prose novel: Agatha H. and the Airship City.
The Industrial Revolution has escalated into all-out warfare. It has been sixteen years since the Heterodyne Boys, benevolent adventurers and inventors, disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Today, Europe is ruled by the Sparks, dynasties of mad scientists ruling over – and terrorizing – the hapless population with their bizarre inventions and unchecked power, while the downtrodden dream of the Hetrodynes’ return. At Transylvania Polygnostic University, a pretty, young student named Agatha Clay seems to have nothing but bad luck. Incapable of building anything that actually works, but dedicated to her studies, Agatha seems destined for a lackluster career as a minor lab assistant. But when the University is overthrown by the ruthless tyrant Baron Klaus Wulfenbach, Agatha finds herself a prisoner aboard his massive airship Castle Wulfenbach – and it begins to look like she might carry a spark of Mad Science after all.
The comics are great fun, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how they’ve filled in the details in the novel version!
Cross-posted from K-Squared Ramblings.
December 7, 2010
Out this week from BOOM! Studios, Starborn is one of the three books the company is launching with ideas by the master of Marvel storytelling, Stan Lee himself. This one comes with an intriguing premise: Benjamin Warner is an unpublished writer, who has been building a science-fiction world ever since he was a child. He finally sent off his first novel to a publisher…and suddenly discovers that what he thought was science-fiction — not to mention all in his head — is in fact very real. And because of what he knows, it wants him dead.
The first issue is mostly exposition, but there’s enough action at the beginning (in the sci-fi setting) and at the end (in reality) to keep things moving. Some elements seem a bit too familiar for someone who’s read a lot of science fiction, but there’s enough going on…and enough left unexplained…to be intriguing. The art style doesn’t really grab me, but I do like the contrast presented between the sci-fi elements and the ordinary world. It may grow on me.
Verdict: Definitely worth a look! I’d like to know more about the world, and the lead character’s role in it, as well as where the story might go.
Update: CBR has a preview of the book. And I forgot to mention: Impulse fans might be interested in the variant cover by Humberto Ramos.
Concept by Stan Lee
Written by Chris Roberson
Art by Khary Randolph
A digital review copy was provided by the publisher.
October 23, 2010
From this week’s DC Universe Halloween Special 2010: Teen Titans Miss Martian and Blue Beetle encounter Klarion the Witch Boy and his familiar, Teekl, who have focused a bit too much on the “Trick” side of “Trick or Treat.” Written by Bryan Q. Miller, art by Trevor McCarthy.
Flash fans take note: The issue also has a Flash and Frankenstein story by Alex Segura and Kenneth Loh.
September 29, 2010
Today, a group of comics bloggers have gotten together to recommend lesser-known gems of the comics world. Comics are more than Brightest Day and Heroic Age, and you just might want to…read this too!
Astro City. Written by Kurt Busiek; art by Brent Anderson; covers by Alex Ross. Published by WildStorm Comics.
A big part of the appeal for many comics fans is the shared universe. Spider-Man, Daredevil and the Fantastic Four all share the same New York. Flash and Green Lantern can fight each other’s villains. There’s a sense that, beyond what you’ve read, there’s more…a bigger world, one where things matter beyond a single story.
Astro City takes that feeling and creates a whole shared super-hero universe in a single book. Instead of following one character or team, the anthology focuses on a different hero, villain, or civilian in each story. The stories are usually about the human element, focusing more on character than on super-villain beat-downs.
Many (but not all) of the heroes are based on classic characters or familiar archetypes. Samaritan is Superman down to the blue hair. The First Family is very much like the Fantastic Four. Others are original, or far enough removed from their sources that I can’t place them.
The first volume, Life in the Big City, features:
- A day in the life of Samaritan, who is so busy rescuing people that he can’t slow down to enjoy flying.
- A newspaper editor tells about his first published story as a cub reporter, when he witnessed a team of heroes turning back an interdimensional invasion in the caverns beneath the city.
- A small-time crook accidentally discovers the hero Jack-in-the-Box’s identity, and tries to figure out what he can do with the knowledge.
- A woman who grew up in a neighborhood fraught with supernatural dangers finds herself confronted with the very different, scientific dangers that threaten downtown.
- A neighborhood recluse turns out to be an alien spy, scouting out Earth as a potential invasion target. His decision rests on the discovery that one of his neighbors is secretly a super-hero.
- Heroes Samaritan and Winged Victory try to go on a date, but their professional lives keep getting in the way.
You don’t have to start there, though. With very few exceptions, Astro City stories can be read in any order. Most of the stories only take one or two issues, and are collected in Life in the Big City, Family Album, and Local Heroes. There have been a few longer ones: Confession and The Tarnished Angel each take up an entire volume, and the longest story, The Dark Age, will be collected in two volumes.
Some of my favorites include:
- Confession re-imagines Batman and Robin with a supernatural twist.
- In Family Album, Jack-in-the-Box meets his future son…or rather, three different possible versions of his future son, all traumatized by his death. The encounters force him to rethink the life he leads as he and his wife try to start a family.
- Also in Family Album, A man is troubled by vivid dreams of a woman he’s never met, and eventually learns that she was his wife before the reality-altering Crisis event erased her from existence. This 16-page story from 1998 is still my favorite take on the genre created by Crisis on Infinite Earths.
- In Local Heroes, a lawyer gets in over his head when he successfully uses the doppelganger defense.
- In the upcoming Shining Stars collection, sworn enemies Samaritan and Infidel meet once a year for a cordial dinner, while a living “Beautie” doll with super-powers seeks out her origins.
Astro City took a long break earlier this decade, and has been on a series-of-miniseries schedule for the last few years. With The Dark Age finished just a few months ago, Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson have been planning to relaunch the series as an ongoing monthly again, but the recently-announced shuttering of WildStorm may throw a bit of a wrench into those plans (or it may just launch with a DC logo on it instead).
Oh, one more thing: Flash fans might be interested in the Astro City: Silver Agent two-parter that wrapped this month (and will be included in Shining Stars). He’s not a speedster, but you’ll see what I mean. More about this in an upcoming post…
But That’s Not All!
Interested in reading more? Good! I’ve also reviewed The Unwritten at K-Squared Ramblings, and there are a lot of other bloggers participating in today’s event. Check out the lesser-known titles reviewed in these other blogs and read these, too!