Friday Oct 02, 2009

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Quick links to where I'm more often found than here:

http://hipsterdadsbookshelf.blogspot.com - Book reviews

http://reprintthis.blogspot.com - Lost and out-of-print comics discussed

http://thrillpoweredthursday.blogspot.com - 2000 AD, it's the Galaxy's Greatest Comic!

Stop by and see me sometime!
clio:

Thank you! Better late than never, right?

Monday Jun 25, 2007

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I took a personal day today... I was up for most of the night trying to work out a tactful way to get my ex-wife to give more attention to the children than she does on those rare occasions that she sees them, without her getting defensive about it. You'd think that eleven years of marriage would have taught us how to communicate, and...
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Wednesday May 23, 2007

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The kids and I are back from Canada. I drove from Toronto to Knoxville in a day! I don't recommend anybody ever do that; it was a little wearing...

I missed my girlfriend something fierce. She's coming down from Athens on Thursday to visit. The kids and I are going to a Georgia Force game on Saturday night, and that's about all...
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Friday Apr 13, 2007

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Grrrr, I'm so bad about updating this... the problem seems to be having such limited computer time for this site at home with the kiddos running around. I shouldn't be spending time on the computer anyway when I should be reading and playing with them, but when I am at the PC, I probably shouldn't be looking at this site with them...
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Thursday Feb 08, 2007

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Somehow my blasted daughter has lost one of her CDs, and made the very bad decision to blame one of her friends for it.

It's been a very good few weeks. I got lotsa money back in taxes and I'm working towards finishing my 2000 AD/Megazine collection - only 89 issues to go! - and I've got a very nice valentine weekend planned...
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meow:

Thanks for the comment on my "Revolution" set! kiss

miao!!

Wednesday Jan 03, 2007

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The kids and I were searching on YouTube last night for clips from Laugh-In, after a parody clip on The Simpsons confused and intrigued my son. We found some clips of Goldie Hawn acting ridiculous and talking a mile a minute, and both immediately agreed that this was exactly how the Hipster Daughter will be as a teen. She's like that now, only short...
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Tuesday Dec 19, 2006

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The Hipster Daughter's teacher phoned me at work today. That's never a good sign.

My kids are little supergeniuses. She, for instance, is in the second grade and reads on a fifth grade level. She's incredibly insightful and resourceful and clever. And yesterday, she slugged a friend on the playground over some perceived slight.

So the teacher sent a note home about...
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perdita:

haha thanks for the set comment . . . it's not like i meant to go so long between sets, it just sort of happened that way.

Saturday Dec 09, 2006

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I had an email conversation with the little green girl that I've been seeing, and we confirmed that our chemistry really isn't more than friendship chemistry after all, which is nice as I didn't wish to hurt her. Still, I think that's the way it should be. We dated for a little better than five months and shared a lot of...
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jessy:

I hope so too!!!

jackie:

Sounds like good things are happening your end smile

Friday Nov 24, 2006

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I've been seeing someone for about five months now, and while I'd already decided it didn't have a real future, Thanksgiving really cemented it.

I love the holidays, I just hate Thanksgiving. This seems to happen every year. Bah, humbug. Next year, Waffle House and hockey. And NOTHING ELSE.

Wednesday Oct 18, 2006

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No ! Not Al ! Noooooooo!

Hee hee! Whew! That was a fun hour.

(Gawrsh, the site sure is slow tonight...)
sinnah:

thanks for your nice comment on my set smile kiss

Wednesday Aug 16, 2006

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Welcome to the Weekly Comics Hype! I'm doing these alphabetically, but occasionally skipping around a bit. Alan Moore has been in the news lately with his controversial new book Lost Girls, and so I thought we could have a look at something else of his, which, while much less controversial, is still a challenging and fun read. Promethea is a pretty interesting series from...
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Wednesday Aug 09, 2006

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It's time again for another Weekly Comics Hype. I tend to do these alphabetically, and several months back, I started talking about the phenomenally entertaining series Love & Rockets by Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez. This is effectively an anthology series, with each brother telling stories in their own, separate worlds, and occasionally adding unreated strips alongside them. Last time, I told you about Jaime's stories of Maggie and Hopey, collected under the umbrella title Locas, and this time I want to tell you about Gilbert's tales of the strange world of Palomar.



Gilbert's stories, initially grouped under the title "Heartbreak Soup," tell the life story of a woman named Luba. Palomar collects the tales that deal with her life in this small, isolated farming community somewhere in Latin America. Here, she opens a public bathhouse, and later becomes mayor and opens a movie theatre which shows millionth-run screenings of whatever film prints she can get in. She raises seven children from four fathers, and serves as the linchpin for stories about this community.

And this community is huge. Gilbert juggles a simply amazing number of characters, with a cast of complicated, achingly real people larger than just about anybody title in the business. Initially, I found myself a little hesitant just because of the number of characters, but I was pleased to learn that the stories flow with such grace and emotional power that I had no trouble keeping up with all of the people.

In part, the setting itself helps define the world. You won't find a review of Gilbert's stories which doesn't include the phrase "magical realism" or the name "Gabriel Garcia Marquez," and the two writers indeed have a great deal in common. Palomar is a town with mysterious sunken statues in a lake, and where, from a particular bench, certain members of the community can see the ghosts of loved ones standing under a tree.

This is one of the strip's recurring elements, and it's used to amazing effect in "Human Diastrophism," a 112-page story which takes up about a fifth of this collection and which features one of the most emotionally powerful death scenes I've ever come across. And this 500-page hardcover collection is not a book you want to drop on your foot in shock.

Both Hernandez brothers are remarkably proficient at creating incredibly vivid and complex characters, who aren't two-dimensional good guys. Readers will find their sympathies with Luba stretched to breaking points rarely seen in comics when she takes out her violent temper on her oldest daughter Maricela in a truly shocking scene with long-reaching ramifications.

Unfortunately, collecting either Hernandez brother's storylines is made quite complicated by the way they are published. Since any given issue of Love & Rockets or one of its side comics can contain any number of pages by either creator, and the stories run for as many pages not episodes as is necessary to tell the story, the earliest collected editions are quite haphazard in their presentation. However, unlike Jaime, who I would argue started falteringly and found his feet after a few years, Gilbert's stories were captivating and powerful from the outset. The Palomar collection is simply amazing and will not disappoint, but readers more interested in a slightly smaller investment might want to look into the earlier trades.

The Love & Rockets page at Millarworld's trade.paperback.list explains the breakdown pretty well, but for the record, Palomar stories appear in the first six volumes of the collected editions, the sixth, Duck Feet, includes one of the best of the early tales. But if you want "Human Diastrophism," the story where everything goes to hell and monkeys invade the town while Sheriff Chelo tries to identify a multiple murderer and Tonzantzin finds herself so enraged by her government's actions that she is driven to a horrifying response, you can find it in the pages of the eighth volume, Blood of Palomar:



Finally, the Palomar stories although not Luba's reach their conclusion in volume 14, Luba Conquers the World. There are other stories available, tracing her life before arriving in Palomar and since leaving, which will be discussed at other times.

I mentioned some weeks ago that a new series of collected Love & Rockets editions would be replacing the existing ones. The first of these, Heartbreak Soup, is scheduled for January and is available for preorder from some outlets:



The Love & Rockets series is available from your local comic shop, who would enjoy your custom; new books ship on Wednesdays, so why not stop in after work?