Bipolar disorder, mania, depression, anxiety. I'm only just discovering what those words mean for my well-being and the shattered pieces of my life. The "work in progress," it turns out, is me. Expect an exploration of my thoughts, my feelings, and my journey. And hopefully some fun stuff like my opinions on comic books, movies, and books to name a few.

Old "archive" posts remain if you want to get to know me further.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Bags & Boards: 7/29/15

Every Wednesday I pop into Whatever Store on Castro Street in San Francisco to pick up my haul of new comics. Because I like to hear my own voice (in written, non-auditory form), I toss up a few brief thoughts; if it’s a heavy week, the five that left the biggest impact (good or bad) get a full review treatment while the rest get quick hits. Minor spoilers always possible.

X-Men ’92 #2
Book of the Week
How can you not enjoy revisiting the excess of ‘90s comic books? With the absurd super hero costumes and ridiculous hair, and the overly talky thought bubbles and omniscient narrators. This issue is long on dialogue as Casandra Nova examines the captured X-Men and provides her own quirky therapy. In an interesting nod to Secret Wars’ internal continuity, Nova justifies her mental sanitizing as a way to prevent her world from turning into the harsh X-worlds that exist elsewhere on Battleworld. The thread of self-conscious over-censorship that appeared when the X-Men arrived at Clear Mountain last issue continues when Nova shuts down Gambit and Rogue just as they’re about to have that great love connection they never got; Nova sanitizes it to a daytime Nickelodeon level in a fun moment where she literally has Rogue and Gambit on puppet strings. I don’t know what Sims’ and Bowers’ intent is, but the Nova sanitization is a fun tongue in cheek reminder of our culture’s occasional tendency to go to great lengths to not offend each other. Koblish’s art continue to make the nostalgia factor the highlight as his work recalls not just the X-Men series that started in the 90s, but also the cartoon series that ran at that time. Of all the revisited X-Men pasts getting a Secret Wars treatment, this might be the most fun—and simultaneously the campiest. But then then anyone who read X-Men in the 90s had to have appreciated some camp.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Bags & Boards: 7/22/15

Every Wednesday I pop into Whatever Store on Castro Street in San Francisco to pick up my haul of new comics. Because I like to hear my own voice (in written, non-auditory form), I toss up a few brief thoughts; if it’s a heavy week, the five that left the biggest impact (good or bad) get a full review treatment while the rest get quick hits. Minor spoilers always possible.

Wolf #1
Book of the Week
This Week’s Whatever Store Recommendation
I was already curious about this one based on the noir detective meets Sandman concept. What struck me most in this first issue (ad-free, max sized) was the breathing room. The first third to half of the issue is sparse on dialogue as Taylor’s images of main character Antoine Wolf and the city surrounding him convey Wolf’s unhappiness and, to me anyway, his boredom—both of which make sense since we are told he has a deathwish; we don’t even get into Wolf’s point-of-view narration until the main plot gets set in motion about halfway through the issue. Speaking of that plot, it’s easy to suspect that what looks to be a major story may be misdirection as two less straightforward stories are weaved in at the end. There’s also an interesting structural choice where the story develops a moment of tension before deliberately skipping its payoff; Kot, breaking the fourth wall, tells us the payoff will be revisited and revealed at a later time. It’s also worth noting that the issue is light on exposition. The existence of the supernatural is made plain through dialogue, but only clues are given as to Wolf’s exact nature and the wider circumstances of the world; it’s a choice that requires the reader pay attention. I’m looking forward to the next issue.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Bags & Boards: 7/8/15



Every Wednesday I pop into Whatever Store on Castro Street in San Francisco to pick up my haul on New Comic Book Day. In addition to the books that catch my eye, I ask them to add one book they really like. Because I like to hear my own voice (in written, non-auditory form), I toss up a few brief thoughts. Minor spoilers possible.

Strange Fruit #1
Issue of the Week
This Week’s Whatever Store Recommendation
This was no soft-sell. They loved it at the shop, and the enthusiasm came through when they talked it up. Taking place in Mississippi during the floods of 1927, most of this book is a real-world slice of life under Jim Crow in the Deep South. Our main character, Sonny, spends most of the book trying not to get lynched after being recognized by a white man as an alleged thief. Waid and Jones tell a story that is faithful to the circumstances of the time; at one point an upper class white man and woman defend our Sonny from the Klan—not out of charity so much as the cold calculation that black men make up a large part of the work force and it’s not economically viable to lynch them all. Jones brings a level of love and detail to every panel, giving the book the full-on painted treatment; the art is captivating all on its own. The book doesn’t encroach on super hero territory until the last few pages, and all I’ll say is that it involves a meteor. This is a must have for the week, to be sure. And I’ll be getting the next three issues of the mini-series without question.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Bags & Boards: 7/1/15

Every Wednesday I pop into Whatever Store on Castro Street in San Francisco to pick up my haul on New Comic Book Day. In addition to the books that catch my eye, I ask them to add one book they really like. Because I like to hear my own voice (in written, non-auditory form), I toss up a few brief thoughts. Minor spoilers possible.


Secret Wars #4
Issue of the Week
The problem with any “event” mini-series is that every issue feels like a checkbox next to a part of a story outline. The question is whether that mechanical necessity can feel organic. Hickman does this well—perhaps superbly—here. This issue is the obligatory explain-the-world and introduce-characters-who-can-save-the-day story. Fortunately it’s told almost entirely from Doctor Strange’s point of view, and in his retelling of how Battleworld came to be we get just a moment where he acknowledges his personal failure—his momentary weakness that preceded Doom seizing power. Strange gets his opportunity for redemptive backbone straightening right before the end. It must be said that Ribic’s pencils continue to create a grace in this ridiculous world Doom has patched together, and Svorcina’s colors—kind of washed out but not—lend an otherworldly feel to a world we all know is only here for a little while.

Red Skull #1
This Week’s Whatever Store Recommendation
I really don’t know what to think about this one. It was billed to me as Suicide Squad meets Thunderbolts. And that’s a fair description of at least the series’ impetus. The middle of the issue is exposition heavy, and while it’s perfectly logical that the back story be delivered in the way that it is, the info dump is kind of a body blow to the pacing. A big end-of-the-line kind of fight tries to make up for this, but Pizzari’s pencils left me feeling that some of the panels were over-cluttered. It wasn’t a bad read; posturing bad guys are always fun. But I can’t say I’m eagerly awaiting the second issue.