Below the fold: presents left under the tree, stocking stuffer stuff, aired grievances, and other secular, nondenominational metaphors for stuff I found on the comics internet.
FARE THEE WELL, Dirk Deppey, who did this link thing so much better at Journalista. I wish you well in all your future endeavors!
MATH HOTDOG RUN! Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal and Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey -- Best double feature ever?
ITEM! Still time to bid on some fantastic ROM Spaceknight prints and original art, to benefit Bill Mantlo! Every time I go back to check, more art's been added! Now featuring pieces from Mike Allred, Jeffrey Brown, Tom Scioli, Bryan Talbot, Tan Eng Huat, Zack Soto, and Farel Dalrymple, whose piece is seen here:
Many, many more at the link. Have a little holiday cheer and bid on some fantastic art.
ITEM! Laura Hudson of ComicsAlliance interviews Mark Waid over the future of the digital in comics. Waid gives a fantastic account of himself, and says a lot of stuff that might rankle those who resist against the digital evolution. Here's a choice quote:
...the insidious nature of digital media over the past ten years is that to a large extent, the next generation has been slowly inculcated into this idea of mistaking owning and renting. Back when copy protection was the most important thing in digital sales, all you were doing was renting stuff. You think you own it, but not really. If your music server goes out of business, then guess what? All your stuff you paid for is useless. We're at that point right now with digital comics as well. Yeah, what does happen, God forbid, if comiXology of Graphic.ly goes out of business? You don't own those comics. My contention is that you really ought to be able to download them as PDFs, hard files. That's the model I'm going for. And basically, I won't accept anything else. I don't think you should have to rent comics from me with the hope that I'll still be around to make sure you get them.
ITEM(S)! Tom Spurgeon looks back at his favorite Wildstorm comics, now that the imprint is dead and buried.
Spurgeon has also given us another round of holiday interviews, starting with Joe Casey, who never fails to tell it like it is:
My feeling about mainstream, monthly superhero books is that they should contain more invention, be more daring, take more chances... because they can. They're so transitory, they're so "here this week, gone later this week", why not go balls out on every single every issue? Especially with DC reducing their page counts. That makes it even more of an imperative that every page matters, motherfuckers! That old chestnut, "writing for the trade" is so over but not everybody has realized it. The way I've always seen it, comics are such a direct form of communication -- even superhero comics -- why waste them saying absolutely nothing? And I'm not talking about saying something profound... I'm saying, "Entertain my ass! Show me something I've never seen before!"
Also on the docket is comics criticism wunderkind Matt Seneca.
RE:COVERED: At Covered, David Hartman gives us the modern, post-Crisis take on Casper the Friendly Ghost and Wendy the Good Witch:
ITEM! Thanks to Robot 6, I caught this drawing of the cast of Community as the Avengers, by Chris Schweizer:
Abed as the Vision is particularly inspired (and Joey, the White Abed, would be the white Vision! Perfect). Now I'd like to see the follow-up with Señor Kang and the Masters of Evil. (But who would Starburns and Leonard be?)
HOLIDAY CHEER DEPT, EXHIBIT A: As you might expect, a lot of Christmassy material popped up on the blogosphere recently, most of it by way of Chris Sims, as ever. Let's count 'em down! First, we've got Chris Sims with a little spin on a Christmas classic:
Yes, David. There is a Santa Claus.
He exists as certainly as Batman and Superman and Spider-Man exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no genocidal killer robots who were reprogrammed to give out presents but decided instead to murder the Avengers with hate-lasers.
EXHIBIT B: We've also got Sims and Nate Bellegarde presenting us with the greatest Great Comic That Never Happened:
EXHIBIT C: Benito Cereno brings the first full issue of Santa Claus vs The Martians (art by James Harren)-- which now won't come out until next Christmas-- and provides annotations along with Chris Sims-- him again!?
EXHIBIT D: Awesome Hospital's Christmas Spectacular comes to an epic conclusion:
EXHIBIT E: The Let's Be Friends Again! guys explain Christmas' continuity:
EXHIBIT K: Kate Beaton's got a lovely Christmas story up, and you should go read it:
EXHIBIT Ñ: Lastly, an El Gorgo short story from Mike McGee and Tamas Jakab-- the most cosmic, mind-ending holiday story you'll ever read!
AXE COP MOMENT OF THE SEASON: And lastly lastly, there's the Axe Cop Christmas Special, which will soon be up there in the canon with Rudolph, Frosty, the Grinch, and this year's episode of Community:
In the story, there's even a stocking labeled "Billy," which I'm now going to pretend is for me. Merry Axemas!
The Doctor pulls a Dickens. Fish fly in the fog. A frosty angel sings. A lonely old miser learns he has a heart by having it broken. Moffat weaves Who magic once again by patching together elements that would seem incongruous on the surface, but which form a beautiful tapestry when displayed. Michael Gambon plays Kazran Sardick, a veritable Scrooge of a Victorian steampunk planet with clouds made of ice. Only he can control the machine that will prevent a space-cruise-ship containing the Doctor's friends, and 4001 other poor souls, from crashing, but neither kindness nor mercy rest within his heart-- unless, of course, the Doctor becomes the Ghost of Christmas Past and saves the old man's soul through a series of triumphs and tragedies, both of which involve a beautiful young woman frozen away, Nora Fries style, in Sardick's icy vault of human loan collateral. Oh, and there are fish (and sharks!) that fly around in the air. And the Doctor accidentally woos Marilyn Monroe. And wears a fez. Again. Did I mention it's not totally congruent?
It is, however, a lovely hour of televisual science-fantasy, putting a spin on Dickens' old tale and tinging the heartwarming Christmas mood with tones of Whovian sadness. Matt Smith, as ever, remains an exuberant ball of infinite energy, who can nevertheless carry the weight of the universe on his shoulders when the time comes. Gambon, or Dumbledore, as his grandchildren call him, plays the Scrooge part with aplomb, and Katherine Jenkins, a singer with her first acting role ever, holds her own with seeming ease. A Christmas Carol proves itself to be a clever, enchanting romp, like the Christmas Carol of old. But not Carol from accounting, with whom you had that dalliance at the office party but don't remember because you drank half of the punch bowl, you souse. And not the good-looking Carol from accounting, either, no. The other one. That's right.
Roll on season six-- and 2011! Blimey, that went quick. Do-over?