Sunday, October 25, 2009

Recently published in...

Comics Buyer's Guide #1660, in which editor Brent Frankenhoff asked us writers to submit our holiday wish lists:

Here's mine:

1. Bone Volume 1: Out from Boneville from Scholastic. Introducing this fun, funny, and adventurous series to a traditionally non-comics reader of any age would be a great Christmas gift indeed. And it’s only $9.99 in color.

2. The Flash Archives, Vol. 1. Robert Kanigher, John Broome, and Carmine Infantino (bolstered by editor Julius Schwartz) introduced Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash, by way of ingenious (if sometimes endearingly ridiculous) SF stories that remain enjoyable today.

3. Super Friends: The Lost Episodes DVD. As a huge Super Friends fan, I purchased this recently released, two-disc set and discovered that there were two or three episodes that I have little recollection of seeing back in the day. Includes an episode where Superman journeys back to Krypton in his Supermobile an hour before Krypton exploded.

4. Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell (hardcover). Originally published in 1936, this is the best piece of fiction I have ever read, telling the story of impoverished poet George Comstock, his tease of a girlfriend, his job as a lowly book clerk, and his seemingly unkillable plant. Anyone with artistic aspirations should read this humorous, yet heartbreaking novel.

5. Classic Home Video Games, 1985-1988 by Brett Weiss. Okay, this is a shameless plug, but anyone with a fondness for the era of gaming that gave us the Nintendo NES, the Sega Master System, and the Atari 7800 could do worse than this book, which describes and reviews every game for those systems (moreover, there’s a foreword by ex-comic book writer Bill Kunkel).

The top gift idea for me:
Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music Director’s Cut (40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition with Amazon Exclusive Bonus Content).
I was born during the Summer of Love (1967) and didn’t have hippie parents (meaning I wasn’t one of the little naked two-year-olds at Woodstock), but I am a hippie at heart (if not in execution) and would love to snag this DVD boxed set from some sympathetic flower child.

Also, CBG #1660 includes my review of:

Nick Magazine #157
Nickelodeon Magazines
$3.99, color, 32 pgs.
Grade: 2 Stars (out of four)

Like many newsstand magazines, Nick Magazine has shrunk in size, with this installment weighing in at only 34 pages. Dubbed the “frighteningly funny October issue,” the mag contains mostly comics, including four SpongeBob strips, the funniest of which has Plankton zapping Krusty Krab customers with a cyclopto-ray. The second funniest (not to mention the grossest) finds SpongeBob clipping (and replacing) his fingernails.

Another strip worth mentioning is “Don’ts” by the legendary Gahan Wilson, whose work has often appeared in such weighty publications as Playboy and The New Yorker. “Don’t” exhibits Wilson’s trademark creepy characters, dark surprises, and downright amusing moments. Comic book fans may miss it if they blink, but Evan Dorkin has a small cartoon panel on page 20.

Otherwise, Nick #157 is readable, but nothing special. The real shame is its thinness. The Internet is an incredible tool and source of entertainment, but the unfortunate downside is the effect it’s had on the magazine publishing industry. Most kids, teens, and twenty-somethings seem to prefer online content to flipping through actual magazine pages.

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