What I bought – 21 March 2012

by  in Comic News Comment
What I bought – 21 March 2012

And so I stood perfectly still with folded arms, allowing my eyes to receive the tracery of apian flight, so like curling silver strings in the air. White butterflies, faint as powder on a mirror, yet imbued with the mysterious force of life, hovered and flitted, half-powered by their own efforts and half-carried by the breeze. That all these creatures, and all these plants and dirt and blossoms, from the earthworms to the dung beetles, to the rhododendrons, catnip, delphinium, clematis, lupine, campanula, and bearded iris should all come together here in this spot to create this wondrous place seemed a fact beyond all possibility of mere formality, betokening some kind of marvelous presence having the sense of an artist and the mechanical persistence of an inventor. (Steve Szilagyi, from Photographing Fairies)

Dark Horse Presents #10. “The Massive: The Barents Sea – Modern Day” by Brian Wood (writer), Kristian Donaldson (artist), Dave Stewart (colorist), and Jared K. Fletcher (letterer); “UXB” by Colin Lorimer (writer/artist); “Finder: Third World Chapter 8” by Carla Speed McNeil (writer/artist/letterer), Jenn Manley Lee (colorist), and Bill Mudron (colorist); “Criminal Macabre: They Fight by Night Chapter 1” by Steve Niles (writer), Christopher Mitten (artist), Michelle Madsen (colorist), and Nate Piekos (letterer); “House of Fun Featuring Milk and Cheese and the Murder Family” by Evan Dorkin (writer/artist/letterer) and Sarah Dyer (colorist); “The Once and Future Tarzan Chapter 3” by Alan Gordon (writer), Thomas Yeates (artist/colorist/concept); albabe (layouter), Lori Almeida (colorist), and Tom Orzechowski (letterer); “Amala’s Blade: Skull and Crossbones Part 2” by Steve Horton (writer/letterer) and Michael Dialynas (artist/colorist); “Dead Reliable” by Andrew Vachss (writer), Geof Darrow (illustrations), and Peter Doherty (colorist); “Skultar Chapter 4: The Trainable” by M. J. Butler (writer) and Mark Wheatley (artist/letterer); “The Many Murders of Miss Cranbourne: The Vicar Slash’d from Side to Side Part 3” by Rich Johnston (writer), Simon Rohrmüller (artist), and Jim Reddington (letterer). $7.99, 80 pgs, FC, Dark Horse.

This issue of DHP is a tiny bit disappointing, but it’s still a very good comic. I’m very much looking forward to The Massive, but this chapter felt like it was just kind of scene-setting in a way that the first two installments didn’t (even though they kind of were). “UXB” is interesting, but it’s the first chapter and I’ll have to see what’s going on (it takes place 11 years in the future, too, which is strange because there’s no way society falls apart as quickly as it does). It’s always fun to see “Finder” in color, but the story is kind of bizarre, especially the ending (see below). The “Criminal Macabre” story is pretty good, with a nice set-up, even though I’m not the biggest fan of the Cal McDonald stories. Evan Dorkin’s two stories are really fun and come with his beautiful art, even though I have a feeling I wouldn’t like it in large doses (speaking of which, wasn’t there supposed to be an entire collection of Milk and Cheese, or did I totally miss it when it came out?). Yeates’s Tarzan story is very pretty, but it’s kind of meandering around a bit. “Amala’s Blade” continues to be a really cool story, with great art and lots of energy. I don’t know if I’ve ever read anything by Vachss, and I respect the hell out of him, but his short story is terrible. I don’t want to ruin it, but it’s bleak and pointless and just bad. “Skultar” continues to be really, really funny (there’s a brunch invitation!), which is nice. I was a bit disappointed by the ending of “The Many Murders of Miss Cranbourne” because it felt a bit rushed. I imagine Johnston pitched it as three chapters, but I think it could have benefited from four or five to allow the story to breathe a bit. It’s still pretty good, but it’s too bad it wasn’t longer.

Even with that, you can find good stuff. Donaldson’s art is superb as usual, McNeil’s art is superb as usual, Mitten’s art is superb as usual, Dorkin’s art is superb as usual, Yeates’s art is superb as usual. The book continues to showcase some wonderful creators and allows them to tell their stories, and some chapters are going to be weaker than others. It’s still an excellent comic, even if this issue isn’t as great as some of the others.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Fables #115 (“Cubs in Toyland Chapter 2: Teddy Bear”/”A Revolution in Oz Chapter 2: The Big Plan”) by Bill Willingham (writer), Mark Buckingham (penciller), Steve Leialoha (inker), Shawn McManus (artist/colorist, “Oz”), Lee Loughridge (colorist), and Todd Klein (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

I mentioned that last issue I was toying with the idea of dropping Fables, not because it’s a bad comic, but it seems like it just keeps going and going and never really getting anywhere. This is a slightly better issue, but I’m still mulling it over and switching to the hardcovers, maybe. I think it’s the kind of book I’d like more if I had giant chunks of it between two covers. I don’t know.

So the Fables find Nurse Spratt in prison, find the dude she’s been hanging out with, and totally fall for her story of woe. So that’s going to play out in a while. There’s one page checking in on Beauty and the Beast and their baby, who, Willingham reminds us, is somewhat shifty. And Therese shows up on the Island of Misfit Toys, where she will eventually be rescued by Hermey the Dentist Elf. Wait, where was I? Oh, Therese realizes she’s made a mistake, but she’s screwed now! And then, of course, there’s the revolution in Oz, which isn’t going all that well.

There’s nothing really wrong with Fables, but as I pointed out last issue, it’s just not exciting me too much anymore. I’m still thinking about it, and this story arc will help determine it. Things happen. It’s very nice looking. And so it goes.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Hellblazer #289 (“Another Season in Hell Part Three: The Unquiet Grave”) by Peter Milligan (writer), Giuseppe Camuncoli (layouter), Stefano Landini (finisher), Brian Buccellato (colorist), and Sal Cipriano (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

Peter Milligan has long been one of my favorite writers in comics, even though some of the things he writes just aren’t very good. In recent years, he’s not quite as bizarre as he once was, even though he still has some wacky ideas. The Milligan who wrote Shade or Hewligan’s Haircut or Rogan Gosh or even X-Force/X-Statix doesn’t show up all that often, but in this issue, we get as close as we’re going to get, I reckon. This issue is not only a bit creepy, but it has the black and surreal sense of humor we often get with Milligan comics and the abrupt changes of fortune that he often threw at us. Too often when Milligan tries to do something like this issue these days, he does it with too much of a wink at the audience, like he knows it’s ridiculous but does it anyway. That kind of comic has its place, of course, but it’s nice that Milligan can pull some of the weird shit out if he needs it. John’s attempts to escape from Hell and Epiphany’s attempts to help him are a good setting for it, because Hell is a weird place anyway, and Milligan knows that the laws of physics don’t necessarily apply. At his best, Milligan shifts quickly from the surreal to the brutality of life, and so he does here, as Epiphany finds Gemma in the hospital after what happened to her last issue. In 20 pages, Milligan manages to cram quite a lot in here, and there’s even a cameo from a character that, I believe, is from Garth Ennis’s final story arc almost 20 years ago. It’s a fairly impressive achievement, even if I still can’t take the First of the Fallen all that seriously. I don’t know why. Milligan has done his level best to make him scary, but I don’t know why I can’t. Maybe it’s Ennis’s fault. That’s probably it.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Near Death #6 by Jay Faerber (writer), Simone Guglielmini (artist), Ron Riley (colorist), and Charles Pritchett (letterer). $2.99, 21 pgs, FC, Image.

Near Death returns, and the first thing that’s noticeable is the coloring. Ron Riley remains on board, but Markham’s move to Los Angeles means that things aren’t quite so gloomy as they were in Seattle, so Riley gets to lighten things up a bit. He still uses blue as a foundation, but it’s a lighter shade of blue and there isn’t quite as much of it. Markham is still wandering around in a heavy coat, and I would love to see him ditch it for something more appropriate to the weather. Little touches like that are what makes good comics even better.

As usual, Faerber is telling a single-issue story (even though the cover proclaims it’s an “all-new story arc,” it certainly seems like it’s a single-issue story), and it feels a bit light. Perhaps the guy he’s hired to protect – a retired DA – will figure prominently in the arc, and I have to believe that Faerber is planning that, because if he disappears after this story, it feels a bit light. The first six pages are devoted to Markham protecting an actress from a stalker, and only then do we move on to the main plot, which is the DA hiring Markham. If Faerber is setting up the DA for a bigger role, that’s fine. As a single-issue story, everything moves really fast and doesn’t really satisfy. However, the fact that the DA is targeted for assassination on every day of the week, which Guglielmini shows in a nice double-page spread, is pretty funny. Sucks to be that dude.

I guess I should just trust Faerber. The dude knows what he’s doing. I’m just saying that this doesn’t feel like the first issue of an arc, it feels like a one-and-done. If it’s the latter, it could be better. Faerber will in Seattle next week, so he can punch me in the face then if he so chooses. Stay tuned!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Rocketeer Adventures 2 #1 (of 4). “The Good Guys” by Marc Guggenheim (writer), Sandy Plunkett (artist), Jeromy Cox (colorist), and Robbie Robbins (letterer); “The Ducketeer” by Peter David (writer) and Bill Sienkiewicz (artist/letterer); “A Dream of Flying” by Stan Sakai (writer/artist/letterer) and Dave Stewart (colorist). $3.99, 25 pgs, FC, IDW.

The first volume of the anthology series about Dave Stevens’s famous character featured creators like Mark Waid, Kurt Busiek, Mike Allred, Darwyn Cooke, Ryan Sook, John Cassaday, Tony Harris, Michael Kaluta … lots of legends or top-tier guys. So the first story in this is by … Marc Guggenheim and Sandy Plunkett? That’s not to besmirch their work, but they’re not exactly household names among the comics litterati. It’s not a bad little story – Cliff happens to crash on a farm and, while he’s unconscious, the townspeople debate whether they should call the cops until a young, innocent boy reminds them what heroes are, man! Guggenheim not-so-subtly shows that the obvious Christian is the most strident about turning him over to the cops (even though all the adults are, ultimately, fairly benign), and as usual with stories set before Pearl Harbor, I’m not sure how much people out on a farm in the American heartland would be informed about how evil the Nazis were, but whatever.

Sakai’s story is clever, as Cliff meets yet another young, innocent farmboy after he’s shot down by a mean dude with red hair named Lex. The youngster, who’s wearing blue jeans and a red shirt, wants to fly, so Cliff takes him flying after they thrash Lex together. His parents (his mother is named Martha) don’t see Cliff, so they think his story of flying is just his imagination. It’s a fun little story.

For me, of course, the highlight is the Sienkiewicz-drawn story, which is fairly typical late Sienkiewiczian. David’s story is about a cartoon duck (who bears no resemblance at all to Daffy Duck) fighting a Nazi who looks nothing like Marvin the Martian. It’s supposed to be a cartoon short that Cliff and Betty are watching in a theater, and Cliff is not amused. Of course, because it’s Sienkiewicz, it looks nothing like a true animated short would look like, but it’s still very cool.

As usual with these stories, they’re fairly inconsequential, but it’s fun to see a bunch of different creators tackle Stevens’s character. Waid and Chris Samnee are apparently doing a new mini-series later this year, which will be nice, but it’s also cool to see a bunch of good creators go a bit nuts with short stories.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

The Sixth Gun #20 (“A Town Called Penance Part Three”) by Cullen Bunn (writer), Brian Hurtt (artist), Bill Crabtree (colorist), and Douglas E. Sherwood (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Oni Press.

The newest arc in The Sixth Gun is showing once again why it’s such a great comic, as Bunn and Hurtt are really knocking it out of the park. Last issue Becky found herself in the middle of a firefight without her gun, which isn’t really good. Meanwhile, Drake is being tortured, and we discover some other awful things he did in the past (or at least the awful things are implied). It’s a nice scene because it explains why Drake is still alive, plus we get to see some weird kind of beastie that the Knights of Solomon like to torture people with. We also find out what happens when someone other than Becky uses the gun, and it ain’t pretty. Hurtt and Crabtree really kill on the final part of the book, from when Becky regains the gun, loses it again, and someone else picks it up. As Becky is resisting using the gun, it’s always interesting to see what happens when it does get fired. Bunn is doing a good job reminding us that it’s not a normal gun, and the fact that she doesn’t fire it all that often makes it more effective when she does.

As I’ve pointed out, this arc is turning out really nicely. In the previous arc, it was easy to wait for the next issue because it wasn’t that exciting. Now, however, I’m very keen to see where the story goes next!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #5 (of 6) (“At Breath’s End”/”Aqualung”) by Nick Spencer (writer, “End”), Michael Uslan (writer, “Aqualung”), Wes Craig (artist, “End”), Mike Choi (artist/colorist, “End”), Trevor McCarthy (artist, “Aqualung”), Hi-Fi (colorist, “End”), Dave McCaig (colorist, “Aqualung”), Jared K. Fletcher (letterer, “End”), and Steve Wands (letterer, “Aqualung”). $3.99, 30 pgs, FC, DC.

DC raised the price of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, but we do get an extra story (it’s even continued!) and we DON’T get 10 pages of DC creators fellating themselves talking about how great their books are, so that’s nice. The main story has a bunch of twists – Spencer only has one issue left, so he needs to wrap things up – and it ends on a depressing cliffhanger. But we’ll see what happens next issue! Mike Choi, interestingly enough, gives us a few pages at the beginning of the issue that are rather unlike what we usually see from Choi – he colors it himself, and it appears he uses a brush more, because it’s much softer than you usually see from Choi when Sonia Oback colors him. It like it, although I’m not Choi’s biggest fan. Meanwhile, Trevor McCarthy warms up for his gig on Batwoman with some nice pages in the back, and I honestly don’t understand people bitching about Amy Reeder not working on the book anymore and getting replaced by McCarthy – they’re similar in terms of talent level, McCarthy has a few nice page layouts that will work well with Williams’s sensibilities, and as long as he’s not being inked by Rob Hunter, his lines should look fine. I have no idea who “Undersea Agent” is (because I’m not a long-term T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents reader), but it’s a nice little story.

I don’t love paying 4 bucks for a DC or Marvel comic, but if they’re going to do it, at least we get a nice, thick package of stories. That ain’t bad.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Thunderbolts #171 (“How Songbird Got Her Groove Back”) by Jeff Parker (writer), Kev Walker (penciler), Terry Pallot (inker), Frank Martin Jr. (colorist), and Joe Caramagna (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

Marvel is renaming this Dark Avengers soon, to which I say: Really, Marvel? I feel like people at Marvel never saw The Incredibles and didn’t learn the lesson: If everything is called a variation on The Avengers and The X-Men, then nothing is. Instead of Exiles, we have X-Treme X-Men (fucking really, Marvel?). Instead of Thunderbolts, we have Dark Avengers. Look, I get it: People only buy Avengers comics and X-Men comics. But maybe if you only had one fucking Avengers book and one fucking X-Men book, then people would be inclined to try other shit. I imagine that it was either a name change or cancellation for Thunderbolts, but that doesn’t make it any less fucking asinine. Eventually, the law of diminishing returns sets in, and then, people don’t just drop the ancillary titles, they drop motherfucking everything. A lot of people working at Marvel were around in the 1990s. Did they forget the decade entirely, or are the so motherfucking arrogant that they think it won’t happen again? Shit, Marvel, if the United States, with the biggest, most powerful, most efficient military in the world, didn’t learn the lessons of the past and of Wallace Shawn and is now trapped in Afghanistan, what makes you think some rinky-dink company that only a quarter of a million people, at best, care about can defy history? I don’t know if I hope it’s that they forgot what happened or if they’re so arrogant they think they can buck the trends. Either way, far too many people at Marvel have their heads literally up their asses. Which fucking hurts, believe you me.

Anyway, it’s probably not Parker’s fault. Well, maybe it is – Parker is part of a giant cabal that secretly runs the world, after all. It’s too bad, because of all the absolute shit that Marvel puts out, Thunderbolts just sits over there, minding its own business, showing up 16 or 17 times a year and entertaining the hell out of anyone close to it. The motherfucking PTB want to steal Juggernaut from Parker? Whatevs, dude, it’s all good. Parker ain’t care, is what I’m trying to say. He just motherfucking moves on. So this issue, which is basically a one-and-done (it ties into the bigger story arc, but it’s still a single-issue story) has Songbird going on vacation and getting kidnapped by … well, I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say it’s the Marvel villain who could give anyone a run for their money as “Guy With the Lamest Name EVAH!” Songbird gets away, natch, but the way she does is pretty awesome. It’s just a cool little creepy, icky story, beautifully drawn by Walker. I find it humorous that it hinges on Songbird finding some dude attractive – it would have been hilarious if she had seen him, thought “Ick,” and walked away (my 68-year-old mother finds dudes with long hair “icky” no matter what other attributes the dude possesses). What would you have done then, dreamy islander? Huh?

So, yeah. Thunderbolts. I’ve been buying it for a couple of years and it’s always been very entertaining. Let’s hope the name change doesn’t come with a certain Spider-villain, because that dude is a joke these days, and I don’t know if I can keep buying this if he shows up. Shit.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

X-Factor #233 (“In From the Cold”) by Peter David (writer), Leonard Kirk (artist), Matt Milla (colorist), and Cory Petit (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

It’s odd – after last issue’s psychedelic piece of cover work by Yardin, this issue is a fairly generic “Group flying at the reader with no background” kind of thing, and it’s just dull. Unfortunately, it portends some problems with the issue, even though, like Thunderbolts, X-Factor just hangs out in a different corner, minding its own business, also entertaining the hell out of anyone in its orbit. You might notice that these are two of the three Marvel series I still buy in single issues (Avengers Academy is the other).

The first thing that bugs me is somewhat minor, but if nitpicking is disallowed on the Internet, we might as well all go read a book, play with our kids, and (*shiver*) interact with actual humans. No thanks, man! So last issue, Jamie and Layla (who somehow got herself a code name?) made the beast with two backs, which is still kind of oogey because I still think of Layla as a tween, but okay. So in this issue they wake up together in the morgue on one of those drawers on which you store dead bodies. Again, whatever. But they somehow managed to stay on that thin drawer and not roll off? I don’t know about you, but I and everyone I’ve ever slept with likes to move a little bit, and that drawer isn’t wide enough for two people. Second, it’s metal. How comfortable and warm could it be? It made me chuckle when I read that scene, and I don’t think I was supposed to.

Then there’s the big conflict, which re-introduces Havok and Polaris (and Val Cooper, I guess) to the team. It’s all very action-oriented, giving each cast member a chance to show what they can do, and I guess David designed this to be something of a jumping-on point (he even explains what the deal with Josef Huber is), but I don’t get why X-Factor is in this situation. There’s a big compound full of anti-mutants bigots, and Val Cooper wants the team to go in and … do what, exactly? The characters keep talking about the fact that they have kids inside, but I guess Val wants the team to go in and arrest them because someone in there wrote threatening letters to the president? I don’t know what’s going on in the Bigger Marvel Universe, and I suspect no one else does either, but has the government launched some kind of Kumbaya Movement that claims that Mutants R People 2? If not, why would this group send threatening letters to the president? And if they did and the government wants to stamp them out, why send in a group of mutants to shut down an anti-mutant camp? That seems like throwing gasoline on a fire, if you ask me. And, of course, as far as I know, X-Factor isn’t a government group anymore – they’re nominally a detective agency. It makes no sense whatsoever.

Kirk continues to ape Stuart Immonen, which is fine, but I always wonder about artists. Let’s say you’re Leonard Kirk, and you’re sitting down to draw this issue. You get the script and you see that Havok and Polaris are in this issue. So you go and find the latest iterations of their costumes for consistency, right? So when you begin to draw Alex and Lorna, why don’t you say to yourself, “I can’t bring myself to draw that stupid headgear. I mean, really. I just can’t do it.” Would the editors, who apparently don’t actually read the comics they’re editing anymore (no, I will never let that go), even notice if you ditched the headgear? Would Peter David care if he saw it before it went to the printers? Unless … you don’t think that Kirk actually digs the headgear? Dear Lord, I hadn’t considered that. Anyway, if I were drawing this book, I’d “forget” to put the headgear on just to see what happened. Both Alex and Lorna look like idiots with their headgear. No one in their right mind would design a costume for him- or herself that looks like that. Sheesh.

Yes, all I did was complain about this issue. It’s my right as a comics nerd and Internet ranter! Deal with it! I did like that in the letters column David kept referring to the insane amount of issues Marvel keeps pumping out every month. Funny stuff!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Zorro Rides Again #9 (of 12) by Matt Wagner (writer), John K. Snyder III (artist), Mike Malbrough (colorist), and Simon Bowland (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Dynamite Entertainment.

It appears that Snyder is on this book for the rest of its run, which is fine with me. He gives the book such a nice, stylized look that so many artists fail to do in their effort to make everything look “realistic.” Snyder doesn’t care about that – his look is his own, and we can easily tell what’s going on even if his figures are a bit too angular to be “realistic.” Malbrough colors the night scenes well, too – I’ve been ranting about colorists going to far into black and obscuring the art too much, but Malbrough keeps it mostly in dark blue, and even though it’s night, we can easily see what’s going on. Zorro’s campaign against the alcalde, which involves making him think he’s being stalked by something supernatural, is silly but convincing enough, and we get more of “Lady Zorro” in this issue (she calls herself that, don’t you know) – she even manages to have lightning crackling around her dramatically, which is a nice trick.

As always, this book isn’t great but it’s entertaining. Dynamite has been collecting licenses for old characters like crazy, and this remains one of their best efforts with those old characters. It probably will read better in trade, but it’s still a fun comic to check out every month!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

B. P. R. D.: Plague of Frogs volume 3 by Mike Mignola (story), John Arcudi (writer), Guy Davis (artist), Dave Stewart (colorist), and Clem Robins (letterer). $34.99, 404 pgs, FC, Dark Horse.

Dang, I love reading these things in giant-sized hardcover format.

Judge Bao and the Jade Phoenix by Patrick Marty (writer) and Chongrui Nie (artist). $14.95, 156 pgs, BW, Archaia.

Sherlock Holmes in ancient China? Yeah, sign me up. The art is really nice, too. Yay, comics!


Oh, Arizona. What are we going to do with you? I mentioned last week about HB 2625, which is idiotic, and now we have a supporter of another House Bill, 2036, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks, who says:

Personally I’d like to make a law that mandates a woman watch an abortion being performed prior to having a “surgical procedure”. If it’s not a life it shouldn’t matter, if it doesn’t harm a woman then she shouldn’t care, and don’t we want more transparency and education in the medical profession anyway? We demand it everywhere else … Until the dead child can tell me that she/he does not feel any pain – I have no intentions of clearing the conscience of the living – I will be voting YES.

Man. Good stuff there. As a commenter pointed out, why don’t politicians have to live on minimum wage for a few months before they introduce laws getting rid of it, or give up their cushy taxpayer-provided health care (socialism!) for a few months before they vote against government health care? I’ve known more than a few women who’ve had abortions, and it was not an easy decision for any of them. To imply it’s something you just zip off on your lunch break and get taken care of is wildly insulting. This is the same woman who wants to teach the Bible in school, but only as an example of “literature.” Which, you know, you can already do, so this isn’t an attempt to bring Christianity into public schools at all. I mean, she doesn’t want students to read the Qur’an, because Muslims never influenced Western culture at all. Nah-nah-nah-nah, I can’t hear you!!!!!

Arizona: Come to see the big hole in the ground, stay for the crazy people! Now that’s a motto!

I’m actually going to see a movie this weekend, as my wife and friends of ours want to see The Hunger Games and I can’t think of a reason why I should object. I haven’t read the books, but they don’t sound terrible, so we’ll see. I know Jennifer Lawrence is supposed to be the next big thing, so there’s that. Anyway, we already have our tickets, so I’m committed. I cannot remember the last movie I saw in the theaters. The last Harry Potter movie, maybe?

I have nothing else to rant about (is Wonder Woman #7 really as terrible as people say it is?), so let’s dig into The Ten Most Recent Songs On My iPod (Which Is Always On Shuffle):

1. “Under the God” – Tin Machine (1989) “This is the West, get used to it”1
2. “Wild Flower”The Cult (1987) “You’re a perfect creation”2
3. “On the Frontier” – Renaissance (1973) “Morning breaks the light will shine and find the blind”3
4. “Veins of Coal”Horse Flies (2008) “I am floating right beside you, though you touch me I am alone”
5. “Locomotive Breath”Jethro Tull (1971) “He hears the silence howling — catches angels as they fall”4
6. “Rio”Duran Duran (1982) “At the end of the drive, the lawmen arrive”5
7. “Scandinavian Skies”Billy Joel (1982) “We climbed toward the sun, we turned and cursed as one”6
8. “I Held Her in My Arms” – Violent Femmes (1986) “I can’t even remember, if we were lovers, or if I just wanted to”7
9. “Hurricane Drunk”Florence + the Machine (2009) “I’m going out, I’m going to drink myself to death”
10. “Working for Vacation”Cibo Matto (1999) “Watching television for as long as I want”8

1 I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The very concept of Tin Machine was really weird.

2 Apparently Jon Bon Jovi wrote this song. That explains quite a bit, actually.

3 Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Renaissance. Go ahead, don’t be shy! I know you’re out there!

4 Ian Anderson is releasing a sequel to Thick as a Brick in a few weeks. That’s … odd.

5 I know it’s been said before, but it really is fascinating watching videos from the early days of MTV. Watching these bands invent an art form from scratch is really cool. “Let’s pour water over someone for no good reason!!!!” Awesome.

6 I wonder if, with Nylon Curtain, Mr. Joel deliberately set out to make a Beatles album. Honestly, listen to that thing. It’s a very good album, but he’s totally channeling the Beatles. Bizarre.

7 I once wrote a story in which this song was one of the more important threads running through it. I know, cool story bro. But still!

8 Hey, Cibo Matto is back! Whattaya know?

Finally, I was reminded today that if you want to piss my wife off, start singing “Wrap it Up” by the Fabulous Thunderbirds. It drives her mad, I tells ya! It’s quite hilarious.

On that fun note, I bid you adieu. Have a nice day, everyone!