Friday, July 18, 2008

Playoff Predictions

Now that we're halfway through the 2008 MLB season, here are my official predictions, for the record, about this year's postseason and World Series:

National League:
East - Mets
Central - Cubs
West - Dodgers
Wildcard - Cardinals

American League:
East - Red Sox
Central - White Sox
West - Angels
Wildcard - Twins

NLCS:
Cubs vs Cardinals

ALCS:
Angels vs. Red Sox

World Series:
Cubs vs. Red Sox
(what a dream matchup that would be for FOX)

Champs:
Though it pains me to say it, the curse ends this year. CUBS WIN!

(And yes, I do think this is the first year in the past 15 seasons that the Yankees miss the playoffs. Wouldn't it be ironic if the Dodgers made it with Torre and the Yanks didn't?)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Love & Rockets #34


My latest Shelf Life is up at Sequart.

Maybe it's just me, but I have this nagging feeling that this isn't my best column. I'm happy with the analysis on Gilbert's stuff, but feel like something's missing on the "Wig Wam Bam" chapter. At any rate, in the interest of not being too much of a perfectionist, and keeping moving forward, I just went ahead and posted it, and am already working on #35, which I think will be much better.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Meanwhile...

While we're waiting for Sequart to come back up (it's been down for 5 days now) so I can post Love & Rockets #34, I guess I'll update this sad, anemic little blog.

Besides Love & Rockets, I continue to work my way through the older, unread parts of my collection. This week, I've been enjoying the hell out of 2001 Nights by Yukinobu Hoshino. I'm not a manga fan typically, but this series, release by Viz way back in 1990, is fantastic. It's a ten issue mini-series, 60-80 pages per issue, of hard science fiction short stories, which basically means lots of somewhat plausible, heavily-researched tales about human beings exploring and colonizing space. It's speculative in the same way that Arthur Clarke or Isaac Asimov were, generally pessimistic, but fascinating all the same. There's no alien battles or scantily clad females (at least not so far). Hoshino's artwork is awe-inspiring. His space landscapes are impossibly detailed and as richly textured as anything you're likely to see produced today. There is definitely some computer enhancement in the form of graytones and pattern fills, but none of this takes away from his imaginative linework, and his unbelievably difficult camera angles. The series does suffer a bit from older printing; it would look much sharper if printed on glossier paper with sharper resolution, but it's still produced well enough to enjoy. Anyway, I'm only halfway through the series, but I highly recommend it.

I've also been reading, or in some cases, re-reading, Paul Chadwick's various Concrete stories. First I re-read the collection of early short stories from Dark Horse Presents which introduce the character and the supporting cast. These hold up surprisingly well over twenty years, and actually some of the politics - particularly those that address environment issues and the perils of consumerism - seem even more relevant today than they did twenty years ago. I also re-read Fragile Creature, the four issue mini-series about Concrete's experiences working on a movie set. This has to be one of the best superhero mini-series I've ever read, although it's really not accurate to call Concrete a superhero, despite the fact that he is basically The Thing from the Fantastic Four. Anyway, I was so impressed with Fragile Creature that it prompted me to order The Complete Concrete book on Ebay, collecting the ten issue series from the 90s in its entirety. Haven't read it yet, but it's next on my reading pile.

I have also been reading Roger Sabin's Comics, Comix and Graphic Novels: A History of Comic Art. So far, it's a fairly standard and somewhat dated look at the various aspects of the early comics industry; however, what makes it worth reading are the dozens of full color reproductions (including a particularly raunchy 'tijuana bible' version of 'Blondie') that Sabin includes. He also takes a broader view than many historians, including not only American comics, but also British, in the scope of his research. I'm only about two chapters into it, but it's a fairly quick read and I have learned a few things.

In the meantime, I'm hard at work on Love & Rockets #35, and have also been slowly, laboriously working on drawing my own comic, which at the pace I'm going, should be ready by next year's MoCCA.