Irene Gets Nekkid!!

Is it safe to come out? Its Wednesday, August 31, 2011, my brother's birthday is tomorrow, and this is The Side. I was driving home the other day when I got a phone call. I didn't recognize the number. A little girl was on the other end and queried, "Can I ask you a question about super heroes?" For a brief time I figured that my nerd rep had spread to the point that my phone number was being distributed to anyone who may have a burning question concerning super heroes. The question was asked. I answered. I was thanked. And it was over leaving me to wonder who the heck I had just talked to.

Part of me didn't want to know, as it was a blissful moment. Turns out it was my dear niece, who knows full well that her uncle is a big old nerd. She knows this because my brother, who is soon to be old like me, told her.


Hurricane Irene was pretty anti-climatic here at the Nozz Compound. We never lost power, and had a reliable internet connection all day. Clean up afterwards wasn't terrible. Had a couple branches land on the roof, but no damage. Now I feel a little bit silly not posting on Sunday, but at the same time you don't know what's going to happen with these things. You can get through most of the storm and then a tree comes down and hits your house, or you lose power and not get it back for a week. So I pretty much just hung out and kept an eye on things. I actually had a two day weekend. Felt kinda weird.

There wasn't a ton of damage, and there was quite a bit of overhyping the storm. I think everyone is afraid now of not giving one of these storms enough attention and then we get another Katrina. Yes, it was kinda overblown with the coverage, although the guy flashing the live Weather Channel camera was hilarious, but it wasn't much ado about nothing. It was still a hurricane. People still died. People did have stuff destroyed. An old family friend lost trees in their yard. Best we can figure is a tornado or something did a touch and go. His house is wrecked and he and his wife could have been seriously hurt. Fortunately both of them are fine.

When I did finally get to Sandbridge a lot of people were still without power, but the power company was really on top of things and by the time this gets posted they should all have their power back down there. The damage was worse the further south I went down there. A tornado had touched down out there and turned a two story beach house into a one story beach house.

I did run into a reporter as I was doing damage assessments. Real nice guy, and a very tired one too. he had 26 hours of overtime the prior week and this week was looking like a long one too. He agreed that calling this storm "the storm of the century" was pretty dumb, but in his business they're damned if they and they're damned if they don't. If they stress heavily how dangerous these storms are they're accused of "overhyping", and if they treat it like "OK, we've been through these before, you people know the drill, watch yourselves and stay safe" they get accused of not doing their jobs and warning people.

I guess we'll see if there's any adjustments to their coverage with Katia on her way.


Let's talk about some porn. And no I'm not talking about the HIV case that has temporarily shut down the LA porn industry thus leaving poor pervies to have to watch skanky amateurs for new material to rough up the suspect to. Not too long ago you could actually find a few comic books on the magazine racks in the 7-11s around here. Then I noticed that the magazine racks started to go missing from the stores, and I asked about it.

7-11 was phasing out of having magazine racks. They were still planning on carrying a few magazines at the counter, but racks were on their way out. I though about this, and I guess will people getting more and more information through electronic means, it was inevitable, but I didn't think it would happen this soon. It was so odd to me because I always glance at the magazine racks. I also always check out book shelves. But I figured that this was coming to an end, at least at 7-11.

But then last week, I went to the 7-11 around the corner to grab a couple things and saw the magazine rack had returned. I was happy and then went to engage my slightly OCD habit of seeing what magazines they had. No comics this time around, which bummed me out a little bit. Then I looked at the top shelf, and it was porn mags. Not just a few copies of Playboy either. I'm talking the smutty smut! Club, Hustler, and Cheri were all there. Holy crap.

I've got no beef with the smutty smut but, I'm not comfortable with it in my 7-11. It needs to be over at Getty Mart, because that's the convenience store of choice for your smutty smut needs. I go to that 7-11 all the time. The people who work there recognize me. I always check out the magazine rack, and I probably still will to see what articles are in Men's Health or maybe check out a video game magazine. But I'm not cool with the nice girl behind the counter thinking that I'm over there ogling the smutty smut. We have our little pseudo-relationship, and it does not involve smutty smut. Now there's a smutty smut peripheral.

I'm also kinda bummed that there's no comics on the rack anymore. They didn't have many, but having a little something over there might lure in a new a reader or two, and that's important. I got nearly all my comics from 7-11s and grocery stores when I was a kid. I'm kinda sad that a kid can't see a Spider-man comic randomly in a 7-11 and maybe get his dad to buy it for him.

Of course, he'd only be able to buy it if he had money left over after buying a copy of Hustler.


This is another one of those times in which I dug the video and the song was alright. Here we go.

That's all for today. Once again, Happy Birthday to Big Matt Nozz tomorrow! We'll see y'all Friday.

Here comes Irene

Hey, gang. Its Friday, August 26, 2011, we're under a hurricane watch here and this is The Side. No big update today because I'm having to get ready. Got some thunderstorms pushing through that have nothing to do with the hurricane. Internet connection is spotty at best. I'm having to head out early to board up some beach houses, and will likely be spending all day Sunday assessing damages. That said, there will be no Sunday post, especially since I seriously doubt I'll have power here. Hopefully I'll be back online by Wednesday.

I did grab a couple comics this week. Loved ACTION COMICS 904, especially since the epilogue completely bitch slapped JMS's stupid "Grounded" storyline. BATMAN INCORPORATED 8 was very interesting stuff. I do love how Morrison handled Barbara. It was her world, and you sure didn't want to mess with it. The comp art was a bit jarring, and I don't really dig it, but considering the nature of the story it fit. So this week was my good-bye to DC. It was fun.

Let's wrap it up with a bit of music.

See y'all when I see ya.

One Disastrous Week

Duck and cover! Its Wednesday, August 24, 2011, I'm bracing for impact, and this is The Side.

Sometimes a fella has to wonder whether or not there's a higher power out to get him, and I'm not talking about Linda's threats of disemboweling me, although she technically does count as a higher power. We had an earthquake yesterday. I found out about this later, because even though I was on step ladder, I failed to notice it. The house actually shook, which I know because the woman that was inside the house told me so. I didn't feel a thing. We don't get many earthquakes here in Virginia so when we do have one it would be nice if I actually noticed it. I feel a bit ripped off. We got a tsunami warning too, but not much risk of that. Mostly that was a "really?" moment.

Then there's the wildfire which has blanketed various parts of the area in smoke depending on which way the wind is blowing. One part of Suffolk actually had an air quality condition of purple. Not red, PURPLE. That's past red on the scale. You think code red is bad. That's doesn't have shit on a code purple. You hear code purple, you hide your ass.

That's not to be confused with a code pink, which I hear is some political group but I can't take them seriously at all due to their name. "Code pink" is what we used to call it when you were late for work due to some morning nookie, and was accepted by the boss as a legitimate reason.

The wildfire itself has consumed about nine square miles of the Great Dismal Swamp. A lightning strike set it off. There's a lot of dead wood out there from a fire a couple years ago. Its been burning most of the month now.

Finally, there's Hurricane Irene which is heading my way and due to say "howdy" this weekend. Hopefully all the rain will put out that frakkin' fire. We've already gotten plenty of phone calls from clients worried about their properties down at the beach. These things are so unpredictable. We could get off light. We could get our asses handed to us.

Right now my plan is to ride this one out. I don't wet my shorts for anything under a Cat 2, and that's what it looks like it'll be when it gets here, if it gets here. Its currently due Saturday morning. Don't expect a post on Sunday because its a safe bet that I'll be without power for the weekend. Longest I've been without power due to a hurricane was three days, but like I said, there's no telling how this'll go.

I really need to upgrade the Nozz Compound, and include a bunker.


I really dig this version of the song. Robert Rodriguez rules like school.

That's all for me today. The forecast doesn't have the hurricane hitting until Saturday, so I should see y'all Friday.

Rick Grimes for President!!

Roamers!! Its Sunday, August 21, 2011, I hate zombies, and thats because if there's going to be any biting going on they had better buy me dinner first in stead of trying to make me dinner, and this is The Side. Wow. Inappropriate sexual zombie joke. Its been one of those nights.

As I said before, comic reviews will be on Sunday now. As for the title, would I really vote for Rick Grimes for president? I don't know. However, if Obama had ever killed a zombie with a hatchet I'd have a little more respect for him.


THE WALKING DEAD #88 starts us off this week. There's been a bit of criticism that this story line has been slow, which is understandable. There hasn't been anyone attacked by a roamer and no one has died for a few issues now. At the same time, considering the body count amassed in "No Way Out", we were due for a little break. Still this is THE WALKING DEAD so you know something bad is going to be happening, and part of it is trying to figure out from what direction this is going to be coming from. Right now things are relatively quiet, and everyone in the community is rebuilding after the herd attack. The problem is, not everyone is very happy about the way things are going. To make things tougher, Carl is awake and has some memory loss. It seems like his brain is trying to protect him from the memory of his mom and sister dying. This is weighing really heavy on Rick, and as tough as Rick Grimes is, there comes a point in which it can get to be too much. Kirkman and Adlard really nail it in showing how overwhelmed Rick is feeling. Great issue. Light on the action, but still an excellent read.

ZATANNA #16 ends this series not with a bang, but with a filler. Its not a bad filler. Adam Beechen had turned out some very enjoyable little stories in this series. This on is fun enough. I very tired Zee gets and unexpected and uninvited guest from Limbo Town, home of Klarion (insert "bum bum bum" here) the Witch Boy. There's thievery and chasing about. That's pretty much it. None of the plot threads Paul Dini get rolling earlier in the series got addressed at all. Its not a bad issue, but still a horribly disappointing way to end a series. Its almost as if this book (and many others from DC) were just marking time until the reboot. I don't really blame them. With DC right now, nothing you're reading really matters in the grander continuity (unless Geoff Johns is writing it because somehow his crap is immune to rebooting) because its all going to get washed away next month. I am sad to see this series go, and I did enjoy it, but I'm very frustrated by it.

Now, let's move onto something BOOM is up to, and that's the Comic Book Straw Poll. Here's the deal:

August 17th, 2011 - Los Angeles, CA - It’s a comic book industry first! Make your voice heard! This November, DECISION 2012 debuts the comic book industry’s first straw poll — with biographical comic books for all the top candidates in the 2012 Presidential race. The decision is in your hands; it's up to you to see who wins! All print runs of each series will be announced this November and the candidate with the highest print wins!

If you want your candidate to win comic book's first straw poll, you need to call your local comic shop and pre-order your candidate's comic book before September 29th, 2011! To find your local comic shop just go to, or call 1-888-COMIC BOOK to find the shop near you.

The people of Iowa just had their straw poll and only Iowans could participate. Now with comic book's first straw poll, all of America can participate!

"The DECISION 2012 line of comic books has something for everyone," said Marketing and Sales Director Chip Mosher. "For those political junkies that love a good horse race, we have comic book's first straw poll. For those voters and our young soon-to-be-voters, we have some great non-partisan biographical comics on all the major candidates - announced and waiting to be announced - in the presidential 2012 race. And finally, for the comic book collector we have a fantastic once-in-a-lifetime collectible. The DECISION 2012 comic line and comic book's first straw poll is a great way to spotlight the upcoming 2012 election and get people excited about voting!"

The DECISION 2012 line of comics and comic book's first straw poll isn't just a contest, but also a great way for voters and students to educate themselves on the candidates running in the 2012 Presidential election. This series of biographical comic books details the history and political lives of the candidates for the 2012 Presidential Election, giving non-partisan background on President Barack Obama and such presidential hopefuls as Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum! The DECISION 2012 line of comic books are aimed at anyone of any age who enjoys reading and discussing U.S. politics.

More information on the straw poll and the DECISION 2012 line of comics can be found here:
Remember to make sure you pre-order your candidate’s comic from your local comic shop by September 29th, 2011. If your candidate's comic book does not get pre-ordered by at least 1,500 copies then it will not be printed.

This is a pretty neat idea. I do think its a little soon though. Let's face it, Obama's going to win this. Let's say his approval rating is at 40%, and the pre-orders mirror this, that 60% of pre-orders to split among nine other people. Not quite fair, but if one of the Republican hopefuls does win this I will laugh my ass off. It will be interesting as to who gets the most pre-orders out of the republican field. So, if you want to "cast you vote" head on in to your local comic shop and make your request.


A song for that girl from yesterday who has become the woman of today. Listen close, you can hear Elvis singing along with the track.

That's a wrap for me today. I'll see y'all Wednesday.

"$@#& You!", said the hero...

I'm a baaaaaad man! Its Friday, August 19, 2011, I'm trying some new stuff, and this is The Side. Comic reviews will be up on Sunday from here on out, for those of you who didn't read that on Wednesday. Also, Firefox for whatever reason decided to just stop working on my computer. I spent some time trying to get it squared away. I uninstalled it, and installed a fresh file. No good. So we're going to be using Google Chrome for bit and see how that works out.

I will say this: Its working faster.


Something really caught my attention in regards to the BBC's SHERLOCK series. It was profanity. Actually, it was the lack of profanity. The bad guy didn't use any. Actually, as far as bad guys go he didn't look all that bad either. I'm not referring to attractiveness. Its just that this guy was evil and he didn't look evil.

Things have changed a bit. I remember listing to Mike Powers on 96X before Bob Fresh came on board they formed the Mike and Bob Show, so I'm going back over 12 years. Mike was interviewing a professional wrestler from the old ECW promotion. They were doing a show in town. I can't remember that guy's name for the life of, but he was one of the bad guys or "heels". Mike's big strength on the radio is that he's one of the best interviewers I've ever heard, and he really got the guy open up. He asked what it was like to play a "heel", because the guy sounded like a really nice dude. He said he struggled a bit with it but another wrestler, Tazz, gave him some of the best advice, "Don't curse.", and it worked beautifully.

So wrestlers who didn't curse had an easily time being accepted as villains? Wrestlers who did came off as more popular? Yes, to both. Maybe it was that particular crowd which liked seeing "anti-heroes", who have no problem being horrible bastards, but didn't cross certain lines. Maybe no cursing made the wrestler sound more "elite" than the crowd, most of whom I imagine have no trouble cursing, and it played into a subconscious class warfare mentality.

Things that we used to identify with people that probably should be avoided are now the norm. Tattoos are another example. More to the point, excessive tattooing. Back in the day, if you saw someone covered in tattoos they were probably in the freak show at the travelling carny. Now you can fine them in the mall. Mohawks were the haircut of rebels and punks, and now I keep seeing two year olds with them.

You can tell a lot about people by their heroes. We're at a time now in which Batman is a lot more popular than Superman, but the key thing is why. Ask some comic fans and they'll tell you about Batman will do "whatever it takes" to win. "Sure, he could beat Superman. He's nothing but a big blue Boy Scout." Being a Boy Scout is a bad thing now? Here's another favorite. "It doesn't matter that Captain America is a better fighter, Batman would win because he'd cheat." So how Batman is victorious doesn't really matter to some people so much as that he's victorious. In fact, if he does it in a really "bad ass" manner then he receive even more praise from these fans.

Not sure where being a true-blue, stand up guy fell out of fashion with our heroes. Not sure when having more tattoos than a convict became the norm. Not sure when not swearing started becoming the best way to turn a crowd against you in some circles. Maybe we want our heroes to be flawed like we are. Do we still want heroes to inspire us and give us an example to aspire to? Or do we want to identify with them because of their flaws and see them do awesome things which may make us feel better about ourselves and give us hope that we ourselves may one day do awesome stuff.

"Bad" may be good, but I certainly hope "good" doesn't start really getting equated to bad.


I'm just in an Elvis Costello mood this week.

That's all for me today. I'll see y'all Sunday. Have a great weekend.

The Case of the Adaptation

This blog isn't in your face, its in my hand. Its Wednesday, August 17, 2011, the game is again afoot, and this is The Side. Quick announcement: my weekly comic book reviews will be out on Sunday as opposed to Friday for the foreseeable future. Due to some personal scheduling changes I won't be able to pick up my comics until Thursday at the earliest and that's not much time to get the reviews done by Friday morning.

Well, its plenty of time, but anyone who has actually met me will attest to the fact that I need as much beauty sleep as possible.


If you head into Barnes & Nobles and go into the Mystery section you may be lucky enough to find "The Complete Sherlock Holmes". Its two volumes at about eight bucks each, so for sixteen dollars you get it all including bunches of footnotes. I'm working my way diligently through volume one still. I did look into the back of the book for some of the notes and came across four questions. They were very much like the questions I would see in my literature text books in high school, but required a bit more thought.

One of these questions in particular caught my attention: "Do you think it is possible to tell an updated version of these stories considering today's technology?" Well, i think we have the answer to that...

If you haven't seen it yet, you can stream all three episodes, each about an hour and a half long, on Netflix. Its brilliant stuff.

And of course there's the big screen version which seems to franchising its way up.

I do have to say that I think they are dropping the Moriarty card a bit too soon. Then again, there's no way that he's going to be as brilliant as Andrew Scott's take on the character in the previously mentioned BBC series. There's a clip on YouTube featuring him, but its such a big spoiler that I torn between posting because its awesome and not wanting to ruin the ending of "The Great Game" because it was an incredible piece of work. As such, I'm going to err on the side of non-spoilery.

When I requested people name three literary characters I got a wide variety of answer, and Sherlock Holmes was in the top three. I do believe that this character will indeed stand the test of time and continue to be an inspiration and influence. One thing I do find fascinating is that the character works even if modernized. He's not like Batman who has been published regularly for decades. He had his stories. Then he had more stories. Then movies came along and he had movies. Then television came along and he had shows and cartoons. I've seen him in his natural 19th century setting. I've seen him in a cartoon in the far future in which Watson was a robot. I've seen him in the present.

He works because he's a person. For all his flaws and quirks, he is a brilliant and capable who strives to see justice done. And he's not an ideal person. He has a drug problem. He's obsessive. He's not terribly sensitive. Yes, I'm still talking about Sherlock Holmes and not Greg House. As you can see from that last line, what Holmes is and what makes him tick still resonates with audiences today.

I do find it interesting, especially since I heard the recent flap about the impending WORLD WAR Z movie, is that no one really gripes that the original books aren't being followed closely. After all, the Robert Downey Jr movie wasn't "A Study in Scarlet". Maybe some people passionate about Holmes realize something that's important when considering any adaption: its an adaption. Its not going to be the same. You can stray, but as long as you stay true to the characters and the intent of the story, then things can still turn out alright.

I do think there's a direct relationship to the amount of content from the original source and the willingness of readers to go along with adaptations. In the case on smaller projects like novels or short series of comic books (ex: WATCHMEN) any variation from the source material is frowned upon. Subjects with more content to draw from (ex: BATMAN, SPIDER-MAN, SHERLOCK HOLMES) tend to get a little more leeway from fans.

So don't be a hater. At least until you see the movie or TV show or whatever. Then if it sucks, go ahead and hate all you want.


From "When I was Cruel".

Alrighty, I'll see y'all back here Friday. Be prepared for foul language.

Up, Up, Down, Down... something, something...

Good morning, angels. Its Sunday, August 14, 2011, I'm scheduled for a proper beating later, and this is The Side. Things have slowed down quite a bit at my own dojo, but that has allowed me to focus a little more on my training. So right after I post this I'll be getting ready for a good Sunday morning workout, and this afternoon I'll be attended the first workout at Sensei Geissuebel's new location.

Good times. Lots of bruises.


I enjoy them as much as the next person who enjoys video games. Well, that may not be true because some people are just nuts about it. Sure, I've killed hours playing FINAL FANTASY, and I'll always enjoy playing CASTLEVANIA. Recently though I got a game cheap over at Gamestop. It was one of the METROID games for the Wii. I liked METROID as a kid, but wasn't a hardcore player. I did think that it would be fun, because I do indeed like to soot stuff.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. It was miserable, and after about a half an hour of playing this thing I had to shut it off. Guess that explains why it was so cheap in the used bin. Sometimes you find fun stuff in there, but it is always a crap shoot. I like running and shooting. I enjoy little puzzles here and there. This thing was just miserable. I had no idea which way to go to move the game along, but finally managed to stumble through to the point where I got to shoot stuff. Even that was a pain. I think it was constant camera motion that goes along with some of these first person shooters. You make one wrong move and you're completely disoriented.

I do think I've hit the point where I'm kinda set in my ways concerning video games. I like my side scrolling platformers. I like my turn based RPG games. I still dig fighting games. A lot of these games that get a ton of acclaim just don't look that interesting to me. I still have no interest whatsoever in playing HALO, which people who are really into video games think I'm nuts for thinking that. A lot of the newer games kinda turn me off. The new Batman games don't really excite me, but I'll play the old JUSTICE LEAGUE: HEROES game for the PS2 with a big old grin on my face.

I've also figured out that a lot of games on the PC aren't really for me. Google+ just went live with their games. They've got some really cool ones too. Angry Birds will likely be the big draw. I tried the games a bit. I do like that there is a specific games stream so that if you don't want an info spam dump about how well people in your circles have done in their gaming you don't see any of it unless you go into the games section. So, if you're not interested you can ignore it entirely. Still, that was the one clear advantage that Facebook had over G+, so we'll see how this affects the battle of social media.

I do enjoy some games that recently come out. I'm actually finding myself drawn towards titles for the Nintendo DS. Not into the 3DS. I did try playing it and the 3D effect gave me a horrible headache nearly instantly. Fortunately, you can adjust the 3D effect and make it go away. I also enjoy games like the Wii RESORT and the FIT PLUS which feature simple, but enjoyable, games.

Things can be over complex, and that includes things we do to relax. I like my video gaming challenging but not to the point that I'm going to want to throw a controller in frustration on level one because the character keeps running into a wall. I do think that's why game franchises like SUPER MARIO BROS. and POEéMON continue to do so well. We can just in and enjoy without things being overly daunting right off the bat.

That said, I'm going to continue to enjoy HERO'S SAGA LAEVATEIN TACTICS now that we've once again found the Nozz compound's Girlie DS.


Rocked THE CARS last time, so let's rock some WEEZER covering THE CARS from the movie CARS 2. This is actually a fan made video, which I found pretty impressive. Looked like a professional job.

That's it for me today. I'm going to go get beat up now. See y'all Wednesday.

The End of Water as We Know it

Glub, glub! Its Friday, August 12, 2011, I'm ready to get my drink on, and this is The Side. While watching the finals of SYTYCD last nice (Congratulations, Melanie!) I was accosted by an ad featuring little girls playing soccar and on a break the coach goes to give them some sports drinks. She told them they were losing a lot of water, and one of the little moppets queried, "If we're losing water, why don't we just drink water?" At which point the coach, after being schooled by a 10 year old, produces a bunch of bottles of water she just happened to have in the cooler.

Guess what this was an ad for.

I'm addressing this because, first, it annoys me and, second, this advertisement is spread bad and potentially harmful information. Those kids weren't just losing water out there on that field. If that were the case then sweat wouldn't taste salty. Your body needs salt on a certain level. Yes, too much salt is bad for you, but if you flush too much salt out of your system by, let's just say, performing strenuously for prolonged periods of time in high heat and only drinking water, you can get sick and possibly die. In fact there was a radio contest as to how much water people could drink, and despite a registered nurse calling in and telling them that they shouldn't do this, they went ahead anyways. The winner was found dead later of water toxicity.

Yes, drinking water is a good thing. You need water. Right now though, we're in the dead of summer, and for some of us water isn't going to cut it. Yes, those sports drinks are often sweet and sugary. They have to be because nobody is going to want to drink synthetic sweat.


BATGIRL #24 ends DC's most enjoyable book that they've put out in a long time. I've gone on a lot about how displeased I am with the DC reboot, especially what's going on concerning Batgirl. Bryan Q. Miller's BATGIRL run is the type of book that DC should be doing. It should be the model. Its a fun, accessible book and I feel comfortable telling nearly anybody to check out. Its really hard to review this book because every time i turn the page I just keep thinking about how much I'm going to miss all of it. This issue picks up right where the last one left off: Steph has confronted the person behind the Reapers and its none other than her father, the Cluemaster. One would typically expect one of these stories to be a wannabe-heart-wrenching tale of "how can I fight my daddy?", but screw that. This is Stephanie Brown, the post Spoiler version, the agent of Batman who kicks all form of ass, including hyena. Cluemaster: not a problem. This book is more a good-bye to a really delightful series. We have these really great scene's with Steph's mom, and Babs. We get a bunch of wild glimpses of stories that'll not get told. We even get a possible look in the future that let's us know something readers of this book have known for a while now. Stephanie Brown is awesome and she's going to be alright. Even if we don't get to tag along and see the journey. As much as I want to rail again DC for cancelling a book I looked forward to every month to brighten my week, I can't, because I just want to thank Mr. Miller for such a gem.

HELLBOY: THE FURY #3 puts me in an awkward position. I've been ordered by one Mike Federali not to review this book because he hasn't read issues one and two yet and wants to sit down this weekend and read them all in one fell swoop. So I guess I don't get to tell you guys about how the battle of Ragna Rok turns out and the whole thing with Hellboy fighting the dragon. I guess I also don't get to tell you about which character dies horribly and all that. Oh well. You know what I really love about this book? There's just one big set of events and all these different cultures have all their myths built around it. We have Cthulu stuff, and Arthurian Legend, and a Norse Apocalypse all sharing page time without stepping on each others toe. That is one hell of a good trick, but its what I've come to expect from Mike Mignola.

THE RED WING #2 is more heavy conceptual stuff. Characters are not the center piece so much as the concept of frequency-based temporal construction. There's also the concept of set time lines, which plays into alternate dimension theory despite that not getting touched upon. Concepts are the theme. Its about understanding them, and not understanding them. Not understanding the concept of this book's construction of time is seen as a flaw. Not understanding the concept of war is something that needs to be corrected even if it is unpleasant to discuss. This is such a weird book to read as I find it very interesting, but don't really care for any of the characters. Its like when I got The Scorer to watch AKIRA. He said "I don't care about any of these people and yet I want to know what happens to them." There's a weird disconnect here that makes this work like a classroom. I feel like I'm studying this book. Fortunately, I like studying things, so I'm enjoying myself.

BALTIMORE: THE CURSE BELLS #1 continues Lord Henry Baltimore's hunt of the vampire, Haigus, who murdered his family. Its a bloody trail with plenty of bloody battles. This works because it lets the captions handle all the exposition for those who are new to the book. It let's things flow without things getting bogged down. Not much to say here. If you like vampires without sparkles, and enjoy seeing them die horribly, then this is the book for you. I enjoyed it quite a bit.


Take that, Criss Angel!

That's it for me. Time to grab some Gatorades and head to work. See y'all Sunday.

The Carpet I've Been Called On.

MY EYES! Its Wednesday, August 10, 2011, if that's love in the air it smells a lot like smoke, and this is The Side. Wildfires have flared up in the Great Dismal Swamp again, so if the wind is blowing the right way things get very hazy and being out in it is about as much fun as hyperventilating in a bar. We actually saw the smoke on Monday from the beach. We noted a weird looking cloud which looked like something from a volcanic eruption.

This is one of those few times in which i miss having my old Blackberry. It would have been a hell of a picture.


Last go around, I posted up about the lack of women working at DC Comics and people wanting this rectified. That got more comments than usual, including me getting called out for posting "bullhock". There goes my PG rating. The cry of "bullhock" came from Linda, and Linda has quite often has acted as the throttle to my insanity, so its obvious we have to dive a little bit deeper here.

First off, I'm sticking with what I posted about being against quotas. The best person should get the job regardless of gender. Yes, there is a disproportional amount of men as opposed to women working over at DC, and its gotten to be more so with the dumb reboot.

Second, let's dissect this. There was a post from Jim Lee and Dan DiDio concerning this. For those who don't feel like clicking over and reading it, they say that they've heard this complaint and will be incorporating more women into creative teams. I don't really put much credence into anything DiDio says, but I do have a bit more faith in Lee. He's always seemed like a straight shooter to me, so I'm going to take them at their word here.

Right now nothing is being done to hire more women at DC. They aren't looking for much new talent either right now. There's a reason for this: they're kinda busy at the moment. The incident was the San Diego Batgirl Cos-player only happened a couple weeks ago. That may sound like a lot of time, but its not when you're in the process of relaunching your entire superhero line. Seriously, this is the main focus of DC right now. When they go to conventions they have got to be selling this like its the greatest thing ever. Its not like just doing an "event" which readers can read or ignore. They can't ignore this. And it better work, or someone might not be in the same position they previously were in. Right now, the focus isn't on hiring because they are having to push what they've got on deck to launch next month.

Linda said it was a "good old boys club", and she's absolutely correct. The guys who organized this picked people we have worked with and trust to see this through. You and I may not agree with these choices. I certainly don't. Right now there're people in key positions at DC who were doing high profile stuff in 90s. You want to see a "good old boy club", then look at the creative staffs of the big two and Image back then. We're getting a lot of these guys popping back up again, because its business and a lot of business is who you know.

I'm not excusing or condoning any of this, but this is how it is. Now, the real gist of all this is not about how it is, but about how it should be.

I put at the end of the last post that DC has done its part, and they have. They've acknowledged that there is a problem and they want to fix it. I also said that people need to do their part and I think that's gotten misconstrued as me saying "ladies need to step up their game", and that's bullhock. Gosh-darnit.

Pull back and look at the board, people. DC has its narrative, and it has nothing to do with what's in our pull boxes every week. Its narrative is that certain writers and artists and awesome and that this relaunch is going to be the greatest thing ever. The SD Batgirl changed that narrative at the year's biggest nerd prom. That event was the start of a movement, and a movement requires people to do stuff. I'm not just talking about women who want to work for DC. I'm talking about everybody who gives a damn about this. That gal made such a stink that DC had to acknowledge this, and that's amazing.

And here's where we go from here.

We need to stay in contact with DC about this, either online or at conventions. We need to be vocal about what Lee and DiDio posted, and praise them for it, so they don't forget it. Right now there's no openings for fresh faces, but that's going to change. Don't expect it next week, and this is good. This allows people to start getting noticed. Push your work and show them that you've got what it takes. They might not be looking at portfolios now with the reboot, but talk to somebody and let them know that you are definitely interested when the time comes. And stay in contact. Getting a job in for a big comic company requires harassment.

And if you aren't looking for a position with them you need to be encouraging to people you know who are. And you should also be seeing the DC guys at cons and tell them about how you think its a good thing that they're planning on having more women on staff.

DC Comics is looking to take their intellectual properties into the 21st century and they've recently been forced to consider that their idea of taking this into the future might be open to improvement. Its up to us as readers and people who genuinely care about comics to keep this movement going. Don't count on special treatment because you're a woman, because this is about equality, not being special.

Right now we have to sit and wait. Certainly, remain vocal about this matter. I wouldn't expect much as far as DC bringing a significant amount of fresh talent in until next year. This year belongs to the reboot.



You know how some songs just make you angry? Not like "Crap, I'm trying to eat my sandwich and Lady Gaga just came on the radio, now I've lost my appetite" angry. I mean angry music! This is one of those.

I swear, every time I hear it, I'm consumed with rage towards little green pig heads.

Before I go, my condolences to the Team Six members, support staff, and families who lost friends and loved ones this last weekend. It was a terrible thing, and my heart goes out to them. God bless, and we'll see y'all Friday.

DC Needs Women!

It never ends! Its Sunday, August 7, 2011, nobody's happy with anything comic related, and this is The Side. I rattled off the laundry list of why people are ticked at comicy type things last go-around and I went and left out that people are ticked that DC Comics is run by a bunch of woman haters.

OK, maybe not, but some people are ticked nonetheless.

Here comes another one where you're probably going to like me a little less when this is over.


There's been a stir lately about the number of women that DC has on their staff. The most prominent incident drawing attention to this was a young women at the San Diego Comic-Con who was dressed as Batgirl and went to every DC panel she could and kept bringing it up. I think it can be agreed upon that having a staff of people from varied backgrounds in such a large creative company is a good thing. If there's a bunch of guys telling stories about women and there's not a female voice in the room to act as a throttle to keep things reasonable things can get offensive quick with that being the original intention.

There's a problem here though. How many women are applying for jobs at DC? Not nearly as many men. So, are we going to have to have quotas now? Ten people try to get a foot in the door, one of them is a women, so the guys are out of luck?

You can't just be a company like DC and turn around one day and say, "we're going to hire more women". You're going to have to make women want to work for you. Women read comics. I've seen them with my own beady eyes! I've seen them write and draw comics! Its true! But when I go to the comic shop its still mostly guys buying and reading comics. There's not a lot of local female talent making comics around here either. In fact the only ones I personally know of, last I checked, were off doing their really awful manga. They have no interest in working for DC.

To make matters even dumber, remember Minx Comics? This was a DC imprint that focused on female creators and they did stories with female protagonists. One of the books, EMIKO SUPERSTAR, was a complete gem. It sold horribly. The entire line tanked. So where were all these people clamoring for more women working for and with DC Comics when DC was pushing women working for and with DC Comics. Hypothetically, if Minx had been a success we wouldn't be having this rant. The talent from Minx would have, in all likelihood, transitioned over to some of the DCU main projects.

So what does DC have to do? They have to maintain fair hiring practiced. They've already put word out that they would like more women to work for the company. That's all they really can do, without initiating some stupid like hiring quotas. If you want more women to work for DC then you need to encourage female talent to apply for positions there and put their best foot forward. You also need to support the talented women who already work for the company.

My time buying DC Comics is coming to a close because when that reboot hits, I'm out the door. I don't have a horse in this race. I've got a ton of gripes about the company but their hiring practices concerning gender is not one of them. They've opened the door for fresh talent to come in and there's a real opportunity for a significant and positive change in the medium.

DC has done their part.

Go do yours.


Hey, speaking to the ladies...

Hopefully everyone will be in a better mood on Wednesday. See y'all then.

Girls and Bunnies, and Boycotts... OH MAI!

Great Caesar's Ghost! Its Friday, August 5, 2011, there's lots of people pissed about comics, and this is The Side. There's a lot of ticked off fans out there. There's fans that aren't happy at all about the stupid DC reboot (Guess how I feel about it!). There's people pissed that the new Spider-man in the Ultimate Marvel line is black. There's people pissed that Lawrence Fishburne is going to play Perry White in the next SUPERMAN movie. But let's focus for a moment about the latest boycott.

I discussed the court decision concerning Marvel and the Jack Kirby Heirs last Sunday. Linda tipped me off that a boycott of Marvel is trying to gain some steam because of that decision. I'm going to be blunt here. I boycotted Marvel back in '96 when they went exclusive with Diamond because they boned the indy guys. I could not support this company because of their decision. Now, if you feel strongly about this court decision to the point that you don't feel comfortable continuing to purchase Marvel products, then you should absolutely cease buying their stuff. However, if you are planning on ceasing buying their stuff in hopes of "sticking it to them" and making them pay off the Kirby heirs, then you're being stupid.

How exactly is this supposed to work? You want Marvel to compensate the Kirby heirs, so you're going to boycott their products, thus decreasing their revenue? So where's the money supposed to come from? Or maybe you think that decreasing that revenue on those products will somehow make them share the copyrights. You better have that Jedi Mind Trick handy.

This won't work. I already went into, at length, why Marvel shouldn't have to give them a dime, much less copyrights. But just so you know, these boycotts don't change anything. DC won't do away with this reboot nonsense because I stop buying the books. In fact, even if sales are horrible they still won't redact it. And people not buying Marvel products because of this issue won't change a thing. So, if you're not going to be supporting Marvel until they pay off the heirs then you've bought your last issue of IRONMAN ever. Don't worry, I'll be happy to tell you all about THE AVENGERS movie when it comes out.


USAGI YOJIMBO #139 begins the "Murder at The Inn" storyline in which Miyamoto Usagi meets up with Inspector Ishida. We join Ishida as he and his officers are attacked while transporting a prisoner. Usagi intervenes to aid Ishida. A storm forces them to seek refuge at an inn with their prisoner, and things take a turn when one of the other guests is discovered dead in the night. Normally I wouldn't give away such a spoiler, but when the story is called "Murder at the Inn" we should expect there to be a murder. This is a classic set up chapter. We are introduced to the characters involved. Everyone is a suspect. Sakai-san handles this book with such a simple elegance that I'm drawn effortlessly into this story. There's all these little touches that are so very intriguing. I found myself asking a bunch of questions, but in a good way. Why is part of the inn's roof burned? Could one of the guests be in league with the criminal Ishida's transporting? Great mysteries should always make the reader have questions they need answers to. Looks like I'll have to wait a month for mine. Wonderful storytelling, and a joy to read.

50 GIRLS 50 #3 surprised me this time around. There was a serious drop in cheesecake factor. This actually threw me off. The first issue featured a planet whose atmosphere made the ladies' clothes fall off. Second issue had a bit of bondage and a gal fresh out of the shower. This issue was straight sci-fi, no cheesecake, featuring the ladies making contact with an alien race whose planet is doomed. They pick up on an asteroid which is going to take that planet out so they make contact in an attempt to rescue an entire civilization. This issue kinda felt like a throwback, in a good way. I still get that STARBLAZERS vibe off of it. This wasn't big, crazy, conceptual sci-fi. It was more of an "enjoy the ride" sci-fi. Very popcorn reading, and I say that in a good way. This comic proved that it can stand with out the T & A or girls tied up. Not too shabby.


You know what's sad? I've completely forgotten what song I yanked from YouTube for today. Hope its a good one.

Alright, I'm out of here. Time to get to work. See y'all Sunday.

The Buddy System

Sweet mother of pearl! Its Wednesday August 3, 2011, I haven't won the lottery, so i guess I'm going to work today, and this is The Side. Time's working against me today, so this rambler needs to get ramblin'.


Here's a neat one for you: if you are a teacher in Missouri you are not allowed to send private messages to your students on Facebook. This one has gotten reported wrong by the media repeatedly, saying it was illegal for teachers to be Facebook "friends" with their students. There's a real level of silliness to this.

I understand why they wanted this in place. Law makers and concerned parents want any online interaction between students and teachers to be public so no wrong doings are afoot. Lawmakers have gone after the most visible target here, which I doubt will do much good. There's a ton of other social media sites as well as thousands of online forums all of which have private messaging options. That's not even factoring in e-mail.

I nearly typed "good old-fashioned e-mail". Yeesh.

So, if I'm a student looking to improve my grade by less than proper means, I've just got one more little hurdle to get around in doing so. There is something more interesting than the actual story to me and that's how it was misreported. It was reported that there was a ban on being Facebook "friends" with students. Notice how I keep putting quotes around the word "friends" when discussing Facebook. Words, as we hopefully know, have meaning, and those meanings can be subjective to people.

When I say the word friend, I am referring to someone I know and think well of. This is a person whom through interaction with me has gained a level of trust. The definition of "friend" on Facebook is different. It pretty much means someone you are linked to on the site. There are people with hundreds or even thousands of 'friends" and they don't have the slightest clue about anything about those people. Now, I do have people in my life that I've met online that I do consider to be real friends I'm referring mainly to "friending" people for the sake of numbers or just maybe liking a post they've made and adding them to a friend list. This isn't a Facebook rant, because there're tons of forums in which you can build a "friendlist".

Now consider someone whose idea of the word friend is strictly traditional. The concept of adding someone to a "friendlist" who isn't a real friend is weird. Moreover, when its their kid and they finds out their kid and the kid's teacher are "friends" it can be a bit creepy for them. Of course, the media is going to report things that way because weird, creepy stuff gives them ratings. Oh, and the that whole "we've gotta save the children" bit plays well too.

So if you are in Missouri, and you think your little cheerleader is now safe for being e-stalked by the Coach McFeelyhands, you'll likely sleep soundly tonight thankful that the courts and Government are doing your parenting for you. If your not stupid you'll be talking to your kid and checking up with what they're up to online. Don't squawk to me about giving your kid privacy either. If you think there's a chance that something might be up, get to snooping. They'll hate you now, but that's just how it goes.

You're their parent, not their "friend".


Personally, I think Jolene be trifflin'. How dare she try to take Dolly's man!

This loco-motive is a puffin' smoke, so your e-daddy has gone for broke. See y'all Friday.