What I'm reading - <i>mental_floss</i>, old Marvel trades

Last week, nobody was readin' nothing, apparently. Unless you were all mad at me. But I don't care! I must share my reading material with you!!!!

I love mental_floss. I read it voraciously (although this week I've had to read it a bit more slowly) and always love everything in it. This issue, as you can see, is "The 10 issue," which features several lists of ten. The trivia contained within each issue of mental_floss makes me so happy, as I am a big trivia nerd. There's Monopoly trivia, the weirdest food festival in the world (the Shepherd's Shemozzle in Hunterville, New Zealand, where in 2008 contestants had to run 50 meters while clutching bull testicles in their teeth), the five sins that cannot be forgiven by a regular priest but require absolution from the Apostolic Penitentiary, why computer geeks strive to receive checks for $2.56, and how Ken Jennings links ghostwriters to Ghost Rider in six steps (which can't be that hard). If you're a nerd of any kind, you should subscribe to this magazine. Or at least check out their web site.

I've also been reading some Marvel trade paperbacks that I got cheap last week at my comic book store. Apparently Diamond had a big sale, and Marvel had some backlog they wanted to dump, so they were half-price at my store. I've already read a trade of John Byrne's first (only?) nine issues of West Coast Avengers (that's what's on the covers, although the indicia calls it Avengers: West Cost), featuring revelation after revelation about the Vision. Now I've dived into a trade of Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown, which has been repackaged as a Wolverine book (perhaps not surprisingly) and Union Jack by Ben Raab and John Cassaday. The Havok and Wolverine book is fascinating, not for the story (which I've only just begun) but because I can't even imagine Marvel today putting out an in-continuity comic (which this is) fully painted by Jon J. Muth and Kent Williams. It looks like a Vertigo graphic novel, for crying out loud. As for the Union Jack mini-series - I was very wary about buying it, because I have never read anything by Ben Raab that I liked, but as it becomes clear that Cassaday is not going to do many interiors anymore, I figured it was worth the risk for 6 bucks. I find that, as I'm a writer guy first, I can buy writers I like even if I don't love the art, but if I love the artist and don't like the writer, it's much more difficult to justify buying something. That's a shame, because I see plenty of stuff with gorgeous artwork, but I just can't get past the writer. And Union Jack, whether it's good or not (I've only read about 15 pages), is freakin' gorgeous.

What's going on in your literary world? Hello? Is anyone there?

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