What I bought - 9 January 2013

She said, "In every age, there must be truths people can't fight - whether or not they want to, whether or not they will go on being truths in the future. We live in the truth of what Freud discovered. Whether or not we like it. However we've modified it. We aren't really free to suppose - to imagine - he could possibly have been wrong about human nature. In particulars, surely - but not in the large plan --" (A. S. Byatt, from Possession)

There's a bit of nudity below, in case you're wondering. I give you the un-redacted cover of Faust, so be warned!!!!!

Change #2 (of 4) by Ales Kot (writer), Morgan Jeske (artist), Sloane Leong (colorist), and Ed Brisson (letterer). $2.99, 24 pgs, FC, Image.

Change is an odd book, but that's okay, because after an interesting first issue, Kot continues to add some nice layers to the story and take the characters in strange places. Some of the narration is a bit too obnoxious, but it's mostly in the service of the story, so it's forgivable. But Kot makes up for it with some nice dialogue - it's disconnected and strange, but also moves the story forward well. The book is quite funny, too, in parts, and that helps deflate some of the more pretentious narration. I'm still not sure if the dude in this is supposed to be Kot himself - the first issue implied that, but he has a much bigger role in this issue, and I'm not sure.

The main part of the issue is still dealing with W-2 and Sonia, both of whom need help and who manage to get together to find some answers. This leads to a betrayal, but that's probably to be expected. We still don't quite know what's going on, but it comes into a bit more focus in this issue. As I mentioned with regard to issue #1, if the plot is intriguing, the writer can be as weird as he/she wants, because it's all in service to the plot and the characters. In a couple of issues, Kot has managed to create some interesting characters, and the plot they find themselves in different enough to be intriguing, so the weirdness doesn't feel tacked on just to dazzle. This really is a peculiar situation, so strange things are going to happen and the characters are going to react in curious ways.

Jeske and Leong do another fine job with the art, too. Kot's word-dense script means that Jeske needs to be versatile with page layouts, and he does a fine job with that. Leong does some fascinating things with the colors - one flashback is colored in almost fluorescent tones, vividly showing the intensity of the emotions the two characters feel, and in other sections, the earth tones give Los Angeles a bizarre, apocalyptic feel, which isn't surprising considering it's going to be destroyed. Jeske and Leong make an interesting team, and they do a nice job keeping up with Kot's prose.

It's nice to have no idea where a comic is going, and halfway through this book, I have no idea where Kot is going with it. I assume it will all make sense in the end ... or will it? Maybe that's not what Kot is going for at all! We shall see, won't we?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf page:

This is nicely done, as it's creepy and bizarre without being disgusting. Panel 4 is very cool, with the face disintegrating into component parts even as W-2's wife tries to speak.

Detective Comics #16 ("Nothin' But Smiles"/"Pecking Order") by John Layman (writer), Jason Fabok (artist, "Smiles"), Andy Clarke (artist, "Order"), Jeromy Cox (colorist, "Smiles"), Blond (colorist, "Smiles"), Jared K. Fletcher (letterer, "Smiles"), Taylor Esposito (letterer, "Smiles"), Katie Kubert (associate editor), Harvey Richards (associate editor), and Mike Marts (editor). $3.99, 28 pgs, FC, DC.

I was afraid of Layman getting sucked too far into the whole "Death of the Family" thing, and this issue skirts perilously close to that, although Layman does manage to keep moving on with his own story arc and at least try to do something different with the Joker's effect on Gotham. This time around there are several different Joker cults, each trying to make a name for themselves and prove that they're as bad-ass as the Joker. This isn't an original idea, but that's okay - what is? - because Layman does some interesting things with it. Why wouldn't there be a group of protesters who think the Joker has been poorly treated by the Gotham police? Usually, when we see these Joker knock-offs, the writer treats them as isolated crazy people, but Layman turns it into a movement, and why not? The DC(n)U has always been a bizarre place, and it's conceivable that there would be people who think a blatant mass murderer like the Joker is being persecuted by the po-po and Batman. As everyone's favorite crazy liberal, Rob Schmidt, points out (aw, Rob, you know I love you!), there are people in our world who think the Newtown shooting was staged, so people in the DCnU thinking the Joker isn't the greatest mass murderer in history could exist. I read a review in which the person specifically brought up Batman's "fascist" tendencies with regard to monitoring the protesters, but Batman's been a fascist for years, the only difference between Bruce Wayne and, say, Stalin is that BATMAN IS ON OUR GODDAMNED TEAM! So Layman takes the book in some interesting directions, and the redemption at the end is nicely done. Plus, the back-up stories continue to shed nice light on the main story, which is what we want from back-up stories, right?

Fabok continues to do nice work, although the book takes place mostly in the rain and at night, so it's really dark. It kind of bugged me. His design of the Merrymaker is done well, though - it's V crossed with a plague doctor from the 1500s, and that's not a bad combination. Fabok's art doesn't blow me away or anything, but it's solid superhero stuff, and that's not a bad thing.

I do wish this big event hadn't happened, because the Joker needs to go into cold storage for about a decade, but if it's going to happen, at least Layman is trying some different stuff with it. One more issue - we'll see what happens in issue #17!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf page:

This is a boring layout, but Fabok does some nice stuff on the page. The final three panels are good, as Batman stalks his prey and we feel rage at the perpetrator just before we hit the final panel, when we suddenly wonder what's going on. Fabok uses the shadows well, as that the way they would appear if the light source is behind Batman but they also hide the kid's secret. Layman's narration serves to remind us that Batman, in a weird way, prefers fighting the Joker, because he has no experience with his followers and so can't easily predict them. In this case, that's a good thing, but it might not be.

Faust: Love of the Damned #15 ("Maritaticum Mortis") by David Quinn (writer) and Tim Vigil (artist). $5.95, 36 pgs, BW, Rebel Studios.

Yes, yes, I put a white block over part of this cover again. Once again, I felt that genitalia probably isn't the most pleasant thing to show above the cut. But here it is below the cut, in all its glory!

Faust comes to an end, in a fairly traditional manner - for all its gory violence and violent sex, it really is a pretty standard story - but then again, Faust was never really about turning the world upside down with its plot, because early on we could probably figure out how it was going to end. What Faust was really about was taking the excesses of modern superhero comics to their logical extremes and reveling in them. Mephisto in the Marvel Universe isn't going to challenge God by having an sex-magic orgy that ends in the slaughter of all the participants? Fuck him, Quinn and Vigil will do it! Marvel won't show what happens when Wolverine really gets going with those claws? Fuck that, Quinn and Vigil will show it! And you know how movies with evil chicks always have to have the good woman who is also really, really tough because it wouldn't do for a dude to kill the evil chick, because killing chicks just isn't cool, bro? And when the two chicks are fighting, you're always hoping that they'll fall into a shallow pool of Jell-O and clothes will just start falling off? Well, Quinn and Vigil take care of that by having one of the women already naked! And you know how superheroes are just basically naked anyway, but the colorist paints them some random color to get past the censors? Yeah, Quinn and Vigil have that covered, too - one of the men is naked throughout the book, too. Ultimately, this is a full-on, balls-to-the-wall, take-no-prisoners satire of superhero comics, and Quinn and Vigil go absolutely nuts with it. I'm sure they wouldn't think so, because it is meant to be serious, after all - the Devil is trying to unmake the world and recreate it in his own image - but if you want to read it as satire, it works wonderfully and has ever since John Jaspers first popped his claws 25 years ago. I'm planning on breaking down Faust a bit more at some point this year, but trust me - it's not to be missed. Quinn even makes a joke about how long it took for the comic to finish! We need more Faust-like comics in comics - completely over-the-top insanity. I'm going to miss it!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf page:

Quinn lurches back and forth between pretentious prose and others taking the piss out of that prose. So Nick Balfour, the writer, is taken down by this flaming skeleton demon, who doesn't think much of his writing. It's this kind of roller coaster with regard to the writing that makes the comic such a bizarre one. Well, that and the copious nudity. There are 36 pages in this comic. 26 of them feature either male or female nudity (usually both) of some kind. Fun facts!

Higher Earth #7 by Sam Humphries (writer), Francesco Biagini (artist), Andrew Crossley (colorist), Ed Dukeshire (letterer), and Dafna Pleban (editor). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Boom! Studios.

Higher Earth is a strange comic. It has been cancelled, and issue #9 will be the last one. That sucks, but what are you going to do? Issue #6 came out in at the end of October, if I recall correctly. I wondered if Boom! was even going to print the final three, because it's taken so long. I appreciate that they're going to get all nine issues out, but it seems very weird that they would take so long to publish them when the book is already dead. Oh well!

We can tell that Humphries is wrapping things up, which might explain the delay - perhaps he was allowed to change some things in the script so he could wrap things up? We learn some more about Rex and Heidi and their connection to their other analogs, and Rex is forced to fight a bunch of them when they come looking for him. It's an exciting and interesting issue, and it's really too bad this didn't find an audience, because it's clear that Humphries could have easily made this a truly great science fiction epic - there's still a lot of potential here.

The highlight of the series, however, has been Biagini's artwork. He really packs a lot into each issue, and tries to tell the story in different ways, with unusual page layouts and panel designs. Much like J. H. Williams III, his page layouts aren't confusing, and Biagini makes reading the comic more interesting. It's very frustrating reading some comics (usually but not always DC and Marvel ones) where the artists stick to very dull page layouts and panel designs (and I'm talking about comics that I like, too). Look at Fabok's page above - it's just a series of horizontally stacked panels. Or check out Esquejo's page below - another fairly dull layout. That's not to say all pages should be wildly designed, but artists seem to do it far less than they could, and it's nice that Biagini tries new things. There's not one page in this issue that has simple stacked panels or some kind of standard grid. Even when Biagini could do that, he resists - when Rex is fighting his analogs, a few pages are almost made up of horizontally stacked panels, but Biagini does just enough - slant the panel borders, most notably - to make it interesting. It's not just an artist being flashy, it's an artist trying to enhance the mood that the writer is going for. The fight feels more exciting because the panels feel rushed and jagged. On another page, the panel borders are the bars of a prison cell, which helps turn the entire page into a cage. Biagini's drawings and designs are very good, but the way he lays out the book is also very important. I just wish more artists would do stuff like it.

I hope the final two issues come out soon. Even though it's been cancelled, I would like to see how Humphries wraps everything up!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf page:

Note the middle panel, which is designed like a lightning bolt as the queen's ladies rage at Sloan. It's a subtle thing - it's not even very noticeable - but it propels the reader along nicely. The page is laid out like a backward "S" to that Biagini draws our eye the way he wants us to go, and notice how the slanted center panel squeezes Sloan into the upper right corner as the queen berates him. The queen's ladies are freaky, too - their covered eyes make them almost literal mouthpieces of the queen's policies. It's a well-designed page, and it's not like it would take a genius to do it, just an artist who's paying attention.

Legends of the Dark Knight #4. "A Game to Die For" by T. J. Fixman (writer), Christopher Mitten (artist), David Lopez (colorist), Santi Casas (colorist), and Saida Temonfonte (letterer); "Batman: The Movie" by Andrew Dabb (writer), Giorgio Pontrelli (artist), Antonio Fabela (colorist), and Saida Temofonte (letterer); "Together" by Jonathan Larsen (writer), Tan Eng Huat (artist), David Lopez (colorist), Santi Casas (colorist), and Saida Temofonte (letterer); Kristy Quinn (associate editor), and Ben Abernathy (editor). $3.99, 30 pgs, FC, DC.

There's a Joker story playing out in the main Batman titles, and the two previous issues of LotDK dealt with ... the Joker, and now we get three stories, two of which star ... you guessed it. Man, DC really likes going to the Joker well, and it's one of the reasons why I'm not as big a fan of the Joker as I used to be (this is called the Wolverine Effect). Fixman's story, well illustrated by Mitten, is a good story, because it's mainly about a new Gotham hero called the Praetorian, who has captured the Joker and is waiting for Batman to arrive but who isn't prepared for the Joker's mind games. I shouldn't have been surprised by the twist, but I was, and even if you know it, it's still a pretty effective story about the Joker's ability to turn everything to his advantage. Dabb's story is, unfortunately, kind of dull. Dabb can write absolutely insane comics, but "Batman: The Movie" is bland, as the star of the movie wants to find out what makes Batman tick and gets his chance when the Joker shows up. Luckily for all concerned, Bruce Wayne happens to be visiting the female star of the movie, so of course the real Batman gets into the act. It's really a dull story that doesn't tell us anything new about Batman or the Joker, plus the art is just kind of there. Larsen's story is about Two-Face, and it's pretty predictable but effective - Batman's policy of "punch first and ask questions later" comes back to bite him in the ass. The actual plot doesn't make too much sense - if Harvey wants to do what he's trying to do and Batman stops him, why can't he try again once Batman has all the facts? There's a line in the story about something being "forever," but that's not what happens here. It makes a possibly clever idea less clever, because there's no reason why this couldn't be the end of the plan. Huat's artwork is pretty poor, too - it's the roughest I've ever seen from him, and while some individual panels - including the final one of the story - are quite nice, overall, it looks very sketchy and sloppy. It's too bad.

So this isn't the best of the digital stories, but it's still nice to see DC doing these. You never know when there's going to be something awesome in the issue!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf page:

Mitten's art works well in a Joker story, as we see here, and his heavy use of black in Panel 1 makes the Praetorian seem far more imposing than we already know he is. This is what comics do well - Fixman has already begun to introduce doubt in the Praetorian's mind, as we see in Panel 5, while Mitten is contradicting that in Panel 1, making the situation more tense, because we don't know if the Praetorian will really succumb or not. Note, too, that Panel 5 shows the Praetorian far smaller and hunched over, isolated in the long shot, while Batman on the screen dominates him. This shows, once again, who the big boss in Gotham is far better than any words could.

Mind the Gap #7 ("Wish You Were Here Part 2: Clouded Eyes, Broken Hearts") by Jim McCann (writer), Rodin Esquejo (artist), Arif Prianto (colorist), Beny Maulana (colorist), Dave Lanphear (letterer), and Rob Levin (editor). $2.99, 23 pgs, FC, Image.

I mentioned a few months ago that I have to sit down and comb through the first "x" amount of issues of Mind the Gap for clues, and I think I'll try to do that this month with the first seven issues. McCann claims that there are clues on every page, so I'll have some fun with that. After seven issues, you can probably tell if you're on board with this book or if you loathe it, and McCann doesn't do anything different with this issue than he's done in the first six. Elle has managed to contact Jo from beyond the ... grave?, as she's possessed that young girl, Katie, and is speaking through her, which freaks everyone out. Katie's parents aren't a concern in this issue, as the circumstances of Katie's coma are still murky and the cops talk to them, leaving Jo free to chat with Elle. But then Elle sees the dude she thinks pushed her front of the train, and she convinces Jo to get her out of the hospital. Because that always goes so well. There's a bit of forward momentum to the plot, as we get two different conversations fraught with meaning, and the issue ends on a double cliffhanger, as it appears Katie and Elle are more connected than anyone thought.

As I've noted, if you're interested in slowly unspooling murder mysteries, this is intriguing. It's not action-packed, and some of the characters are still kind of clichéd, and the hints we've had of the larger plot point to something kind of dull, but for the most part, McCann has done a nice job creating good tension with this book. If you don't care what's going on, it's not the book for you. But I'm interested, so I'm keen to keep reading. That's just how it is!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf page:

"Ho" is a hard word to pluralize (?). It certainly shouldn't have an apostrophe, but "hos" doesn't sound right when you look at it (so to speak). Should we add an "e" and write "hoes"? That seems the most logical, but I'm not sure if the rules of grammar apply to slang. Anyway, I assume Esquejo uses people he knows as models - much like Alex Ross does - and Panel 3 is a good one, with a nice point of view and good facial expressions on the two characters. In a book with not a lot of action, Esquejo tries to heighten the action by using a different "camera" angle, and succeeds pretty well.

The Order of Dagonet #2 by Jeremy Whitley (writer) and Jason Strutz (artist/letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Action Lab Comics.

It's been a while since the first issue came out, which is too bad - this is a weirdly charming series so far, and it can't be helped by coming out so infrequently. The first trade has been solicited in Previews, but issue #3 is the last single issue solicited, so does that mean the trade will contain only those three? Or has Action Lab decided to go digital with the single issues and then sell the trade? I don't know, and their web site doesn't have much information about it. That's too bad - this isn't a great comic, but it's pretty funny and entertaining, and it's always interesting to see different artwork, and Strutz's is certainly that.

Anyway, in this issue, the knights of Dagonet - knighted British celebrities, you'll recall - are trying to get back to London to fight the forces of Faerie, but they're having some difficulty. Gene Everyman and Dizzy Claiborne, along with Laverne, the sassy black lady (is there any other kind in fiction?) try to fly there, but they're re-routed ... to Wales! This leads to Gene ranting about the Welsh, which is pretty funny. Meanwhile, Sir Tottingham and Emerald meet some centaurs, who are big fans of the latter, and they can get a ride to London that way. There's a little bit of action, but otherwise, it's a "gathering the troops" kind of issue, but that's okay because Whitley's script is still pretty funny. Plus, Strutz's art, while still rough, is pretty good - he does some interesting things with layouts, and while I wish his lines were a bit crisper, but that's just a personal preference.

The Order of Dagonet is an enjoyable comic, and it would be nice if it would come out a bit more consistently. I'm curious to see if Whitley ramps up the action next issue!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf page:

Laverne is obviously the outside commenter on the scene, deflating the knights' smug self-importance. This is an example of the humor in the book - if you like this, you'll probably find the rest of it funny. Strutz does a good job getting a lot onto the page in a clear manner - the panels of Dizzy's antics are quite fun, and the opposition of Laverne and Dizzy's manager in the panels works well. There's more action on the page than we expect, and that's pretty neat.

Point of Impact #4 (of 4) by Jay Faerber (writer), Koray Kuranel (artist), and Charles Pritchett (letterer). $2.99, 21 pgs, BW, Image.

I wrote last time that Point of Impact reads like a fairly standard cop show, but that doesn't make it a bad comic book. It's a fun read, even though on the first page, it became clear who the killer was. Faerber is pretty good at these kinds of comics, so even though it's a bit predictable, it's pretty intense. Plus, Faerber does throw a few curve balls at us, so it's not completely predictable. The story, along with Kuranel's rough and tumble artwork and the black and white, really does make this feel like a solid 1970s cop show, and I'm certainly the audience for that. I wouldn't mind seeing more stories with either Abby (the cop) or Mitchell (the reporter) - they're both stereotypes, but in these four issues, Faerber has managed to make them pretty interesting, and I imagine Faerber has plenty of stories he could put them in.

Point of Impact is a comic that I like because I like the genre, but it might not be for everyone who doesn't love the genre. That's okay - if you're a fan of cop shows, you might want to give this a look!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf page:

Kuranel does a good job leading up to the final panel, where Mitchell rages at Boone. We get the nice establishing shot as they go into the alley, and then Mitchell shows Boone something, so we get where the two men are. Then we get Boone, and Kuranel inks his face heavily and shows how Nicole's death is weighing on him. Then we see that Mitchell is holding photos of the two of them, and Kuranel makes his beard heavy, showing the strain he's been under, and Boone's form frames him well. It's a simple layout, but it works very well.

21st Century Boys volume 1 by Naoki Urasawa (writer/artist). $12.99, 196 pgs, BW, Viz Media.

One of these days I'll have to write about this entire epic. I'll get to it, I swear!

The Batman Chronicles volume 11. $14.99, 168 pgs, FC, DC.

I'm still not sure why DC doesn't put these out more often, because it's not like rights are an issue, nor would I think they'd cost too much to produce. Are sales that poor on them? I love these, even though we've been slowly moving away from Awesome Death-Dealing Batman of the 1930s and into Goofy Batman of the 1940s. But they're still groovy comics!

Cherubs by Bryan Talbot (writer/layouter), Mark Stafford (artist), Nate Pride (letterer), and Mary Branscombe (Latin advisor). $19.99, 191 pgs, BW, Dark Horse.

Someone on the back of this book is quoted as calling it "pants-wettingly funny." Do I really want to read a book that makes me pee in my pants?

Harbinger volume 1: Omega Rising by Joshua Dysart (writer), Khari Evans (artist), Lewis LaRosa (artist), Matthew Clark (artist), Jim Muniz (artist), Matt Ryan (inker), Sean Parsons (inker), Ian Hannin (colorist), Moose Baumann (colorist), Jeromy Cox (colorist), Chris Sotomayor (colorist), Rob Steen (letterer), Josh Johns (assistant editor), Jody LeHeup (associate editor), and Warren Simons (executive editor). $9.99, 113 pgs, FC, Valiant.

Another 10-dollar trade from Valiant! And I've bought both of them! It's almost as if that's a good business model to get people to sample their products!

The Defenders volume 2 by Matt Fraction (writer), Terry Dodson (penciler), Jamie McKelvie (artist), Mike Norton (artist), Mirco Pierfederici (artist), Rachel Dodson (inker), Sonia Oback (colorist), Dommo Aymara (colorist), Jordie Bellaire (colorist), Veronica Gandini (colorist), Clayton Cowles (letterer), Joe Sabino (letterer), Jake Thomas (assistant editor), Jon Moison (assistant editor), Mark Panicca (editor), and Cory Levine (collection editor). $19.99, 120 pgs, FC, Marvel.

It's kind of strange that this book didn't last longer. I wonder why more people didn't read it.

Los Tejanos/Lost Cause by Jack Jackson (writer/artist). $35.00, 313 pgs, BW, Fantagraphics.

Who wants to read a big honkin' slice of Texas history? This guy does!

The Silver Darlings by Will Morris (writer/artist). $14.99, 51 pgs, BW, Blank Slate Books.

Blank Slate seems to solicit some really cool books that then take forever to actually come out. This was solicited in August, so I'm glad it finally shipped. I hope their other stuff comes out, too!

Superman: Last Son of Krypton by Geoff Johns (writer), Richard Donner (writer), Adam Kubert (artist), Gary Frank (artist), Jon Sibal (artist), Dave Stewart (colorist), Brad Anderson (colorist), Edgar Delgado (colorist), Hi-Fi (colorist), Rob Leigh (letterer), Steve Wands (letterer), Nachie Castro (associate editor), Matt Idelson (editor), and Rowena Yow (editor). $19.99, 250 pgs, FC, DC.

I heard some good things about this when it was being published, so I figured I'd give it a whirl. Why not, right? I mean, it's not like DC would suddenly reboot their entire line and render this entire story moot, would they?

Wonder Woman volume 1: Blood by Brian Azzarello (writer), Cliff Chiang (artist), Tony Akins (artist), Dan Green (inker), Matthew Wilson (colorist), Jared K. Fletcher (letterer), Chris Conroy (associate editor), Matt Idelson (editor), and Peter Hamboussi (editor). $14.99, 125 pgs, FC, DC.

I thought for quite a while about getting this, as I know the book kind of goes off the rails in issue #7, but I'm still interested in reading at least this trade, as issue #1 was one of the better ones of the DCnU #1s. We'll see, I guess!


A couple of things happened this week: The Oscar nominations came out, and while I don't give a tiny rat's ass about them, there's some good breakdowns of them: here (pretty funny), here (MGK breaks it down!), and ... well, Third Man hasn't broken them down yet, but he did try to predict them all! Come on, Third Man, break them down! I love breakdowns!

The second thing that happened is that no one got into the Baseball Hall of Fame because OH MY FUCKING FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER STEROIDS NOOOOOO!!!!! So Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa didn't get in, but neither did Biggio, Jack Morris, or Piazza. Some people are really in a tizzy about this, but really - who cares? Listen, half the Hall of Fame doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame (Eppa Rixey, really?), but that's politics - the Hall voting has ALWAYS been about politics, and Bonds was a douchebag for his entire career, and writers think Clemens lied to them, and Sosa pretended he didn't understand fucking English in front of Congress, so the voters will FUCKING SHOW THOSE UPPITY JUICERS!!!!! I'm actually mad at myself for spending the past three minutes typing this paragraph. It's the Hall of Fame - who cares?

In case you missed Stars in Danger: The High Dive, read about it here. Man, FOX. Two hours about minor or has-been celebrities diving. Way to scrape the bottom of that barrel.

Speaking of television, I hope everyone either watched or DVRed/TiVoed Justified and Cougar Town, both of which premiered this past Tuesday. One of the best dramas and one of the funniest comedies on television? Yeah, that was a good night. I haven't watched either yet, but I'm looking forward to it!

I'm sad that I haven't joined the list of people on Twitter at the beginning of The Line It Is Drawn posts, but you can still follow me on Twitter. I mean, how will you find out that my daughter's OT has never heard of David Bowie unless you read it on Twitter? This is important information, people!!!!

I also decided to grow a beard in 2013. I've never grown a beard before, but I figured that it would be fun. My wife thinks I'm goofy, but she doesn't care, and my daughter doesn't want me to kiss her because I'm so scruffy, but I don't care! Naturally, I've been taking pictures of my beard growth every day (I shaved on 1 January and just let it go!), and I made a .gif of it. Here it is (sorry I'm not smiling in more of them):

I'll update my progress occasionally throughout the year. I haven't made up my mind how much I'm going to groom it or if I'm just going to go nuts and let it grow wild. I also don't know how long I'm going to last. I hope to keep it the entire year, but summer in Arizona is so crappy, I might get sick of it around July. We'll see!

Finally, it's De-Lurking Week on the Internet, so if you read this blog regularly (or this column, I suppose, but why would you only read this column when we have so much cool stuff on the blog?) but have never commented, why don't you say hello now? We're friendly people around here!

All right, let's check out the Ten Most Recent Songs on My iPod (Which Is Always on Shuffle):

1. "Give it Up, Turn it Loose" - En Vogue (1992) "Fact of life - so sad but true - love can often hurt you"2. "Something I Can Never Have" - Nine Inch Nails (1989) "My favorite dreams of you still wash ashore, scraping through my head 'till I don't want to sleep anymore"3. "La Cienega Just Smiled" - Ryan Adams (2001) "Neither of you really help me to sleep anymore; one breaks my body and the other breaks my soul"4. "Can't Wait" - Foreigner (1987) "And the nights go on forever, these days I get no sleep"5. "Bizarre Love Triangle" - New Order (1986) "Whenever I get this way I just don't know what to say, why can't we be ourselves like we were yesterday"6. "Lost Cause" - Beck (2002) "No one left to watch your back now, no one standing at your door"7. "Valerie" - Steve Winwood (1982) "Someday, some good wind may blow her back to me; some night I may hear her like she used to be"8. "Falling to Pieces" - Faith No More (1989) "From the bottom, it looks like a steep incline, from the top, another downhill slope of mine - but I know, the equilibrium's there" 9. "Barest Degree" - Midnight Oil (1996) "The fire has gone, the big trees stand, the underground is smoking"10. "Sleeping With the Television On" - Billy Joel (1980) "Tonight unless you take some kind of chances dear, tomorrow morning you'll wake up with a white noise"

I hope everyone has a nice weekend! Just remember: It's always New Year's for Billy Dee!

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