Apr 27, 2006

Best Week Evva


The Dresden Dolls release their second studio album, which contains some songs from their first album, the live A is for Accident. Despite the fallen heart "Sing" gave me when I heard the acoustic-guitar intro, Yes, Virginia... is full of dramatic piano banging, sexual lyrics, and more of what made their self-titled album so great. The verdict's still out, but this one may actually be better.

Wed. Apr.19

Along with Blood on the Wall, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs rocked the Pageant in St. Louis. It was a full house and they did not disappoint.


Since it's related to comics, I can mention The O.C.
Samerie Armstrong revived her roll as Anna, Seth (Adam Brody) Cohen's ex. I rejoiced.


The film version of my favorite video games, Silent Hill, was released. The franchise, which has also appeared as a comic, received a cold reception from critics due to horrible dialogue and apparent confusion. It's hard for me to understand the latter complaint. But I'm a fanboy. Still, it's the clearest plotline I've ever seen from a French director. It's not quite on the same level, but Jacob's Ladder, which greatly influenced the series, didn't do well at first either.

One of the best parts of any Silent Hill game is the music. I enjoyed that the movie mostly recycled music from the games, although I'm disappointed we didn't get to hear anything new from Akira Yamaoka this time around. Even if you're not into the games, you should check out the soundtracks.

Download "The of Laura (Reprise)" from Silent Hill 2
Download "Rain of Brass Petals" from Silent Hill 3
Download "Melancholy Requiem" from Silent Hill 4
all tracks by Akira Yamaoka

Apr 19, 2006

Your Door Mouse is a Wonderland

Thanks to my friends over at Comic Geek speak, I've come across a new comic worth talking about. When I first read about Hatter M in Previews, I made a mental note of the comic, but the cover image didn't grab me as something I had to read. The guys at CGS interviewed writer/creator Frank Beddor (a movie producer and ex-pro skier) about his first attempt at graphic fiction, and I discovered that he had crafted a thoughtful and interesting world that deserved more attention.

Hatter M
is an extention of the Beddor's novel series The Looking Glass War,
which depicts an alternative-reality Wonderland where Alyss is a princess who escapes to London during the late 1800s. Hatter Madigan is Alyss's bodyguard. The comic depicts his journey, beginning in Paris, to find Alyss. I believe the book, which isn't available stateside till this fall, ends with a 20-year-old Alyss returning to Wonderland to regain the crown from her evil Aunt Red.

Ben Templesmith handles the artwork for the Image-published serial, which seems to be on a bimonthly schedule, often ending up slightly delayed, probably due to the amount of work that Templesmith is currently involved with. Those familiar with his style shouldn't expect much new here. Foggy, watercolored atmospheres replace recognizable backgrounds in most cells. His hazy style makes more sense on 30 Days, Fell, and Silent Hill. While his character work is a strong as ever, I can't help wanting more for Beddor's detailed world.

The first issue of Hatter M is rather airy, sometimes going almost whole pages without text. This may seem appropriate, but the technique rarely seems to work right with comics, especially when executed by such a stylized artist. Unlike the dark realities that Templesmith often depicts, Hatter M has a sense of humor and wonder, featuring "a battle to the death" with kites and an strangely enthusiastic and open-minded Jules Verne, who seems a little odd at first, but makes sense as a sort of aloof "superhero." I look forward to seeing more of him in the series.

As for Hatter Madigan himself, he's basically the typical strong-minded, short-on-words action hero. Only this action hero has a magic hat and lots of blades. The reader immediately gets the sense of a shiny knight questing for his endangered princess. I can hardly imagine any Alice/Alyss as weak, with the exception of the wide-eyed Disney version. As a side note, Beddor's Alyss eventually inspires Louis Carrol's original books.

Let your head spin.

Read Hatter M #1 at IGN

I didn't forget the music. Download "Alice" by Tom Waits from insound, and/or buy the album.

Apr 11, 2006

Comic's the Spektor

Sunday was the 1st Annual Comic Expo in Cape Girardeau, MO. Gary Friedrich (Creator of Ghost Rider I/Johnny Blaze), was there to sign. Several vendors and other interesting tables were set up, along with a setup by a local film group who has shot, among other things, a Tomb Raider movie that's garnered some attention and praise, including that of audience members at the show.

Brian Hurtt (Hard Time, Queen & Country), Collen Bunn (The Damned), Chris Samnee (Capote in Kansas), and Matt Kindt (Super Spy) all came down from the St. Louis area for the show. All three did sketches (Bunn is a writer) and autographs. I got a chance to talk to all of them. They were all super pleasant; Collen even looked at one of my comic ideas.

Matt Kindt sketching Green Lantern for Tim Baskin

Chris Samnee

Meeting Brian Hurtt was a big thrill. Hard Time (see my last post) is one of my favorite comics, and I love the fresh artwork, which is penciled by Hurtt. These guys worked really hard all day, doing sketches for what seemed like everyone. At the end of the day, Hurtt took the time to do a quick sketch of Cindy, a Hard Time character for me.

I'm sure you'll be hearing more about these guys from me in the future.

Brian Hurtt drawing the Cindy sketch

The title of this post doesn't make a lot of sense. Regardless, I have some music for you, too. Regina Spektor has two tracks from her upcoming album, Begin to Hope, on her myspace page. "Fidelity" is as good as any of her songs, although perhaps a bit less organic. "Better" kinda sounds like a mess, like she's fighting to keep her vocal originality, the random nature and musicality of her humming and other sounds-making, floating amid a thunderstorm of studio musicians and overproduction.

You can check out the two tracks, as well as two from Soviet Kitsch, make friends, check out her tour schedule, and sign-up for her newsletter on the page.

Hard Time: 50 to Life
Capote in Kansas
The Damned
Soviet Kitsch

Apr 4, 2006

DD, both of 'em

Radio Free Internet has a lot of Dresden Dolls cover gems. (Scroll down, I promise they're there.) Apparently DD is opening for Panic at the Disco on their summer tour. Tickets in the town nearest me are $18. I could rant and rave, but I think "WTF!" pretty much says it.

Sorry for that bit of whining.

To make up for it, here's DD playing "War Pigs" playing at SXSW. Sorry, it's just a clip.

For the two of you who actually read my blog on a regular basis, you might notice something new. Below the links, I've added what I'm currently listening to and a list of comics I read monthly (or whenever they come out). Thanks to Yeti Don't Dance via Stereogum for the code.

I'm discussed most of the music (or will in the future), but here's a run down of what's good about pictures & words:

Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev just finished their long, critically acclaimed run on Daredevil. Writer Ed Brubaker has done an excellent job of taking over and Michael Lark's pencils and inks leave nothing to be desired. The blind lawyer/superhero is currently in jail. A main character just died, which usually signals bad things for a comic, but we'll see.

Hard Time has been described as Oz meets My So-Called Life. Not a perfect description, but we'll take it. Throw in a little Eastern mysticism, a cute boy named Cindy, and a SG-esque love interest and we're almost dead-on.

100 Bullets is complex political thriller, hard-boiled noir, and good-ole fist-pounding action rolled into one hard-to-open package. It's as intimidating as it is well-written.

New Avengers is my funtime-action book. Bendis has taken a lot of flack and received a lot of praise. It's not the best book out there, but it's one of funnest!

Only one issue of the Batman: Secrets miniseries has hit the shelves, but I'm as impressed with Sam Keith as ever. The Dark Knight takes on his arch-nemesis The Joker.

Runaways is as good as superhero books can get. It's relevant, funny, clever, and compelling. Brian K. Vaughn (Y, the Last Man) writes this story of anti-hero teens and their mission to make up for the wrongs of their supervillian parents. Vaughn also writers Ex Machina, the story of a machine-controlling superhero who hangs up his mask (and helmet) after saving one of the World Trade Towers. EM hits all the big issues, including racism and homosexual marriage.

Local and Fell are both serials featuring one-shot, self-contained stories. In Local, Brian Wood's (What's up with all the Brians?) city-by-city indie/hipster/bohemian vignettes have all the coolness and personality of a carefully crafted mixtape. And they come with tracklistings for mixes by the artist and writer. Fell is Silent Hill meets detective noir. 'Nuff said!

Preorder Yes, Virginia by the Dresden Dolls
Marvel Comics (New Avengers, Daredevil, Runaways)
DC Comics (100 Bullets, Batman: Secrets, Hard Time, Ex Machine)
Image Comics (Fell)

Support your local comic store.

Apr 2, 2006

Your favorite new band may be the Artic Monkeys...

Many a late night, I lay awake pondering the chaotic will of the universe. Much like the Watcher, I am doomed to merely report on and observe the entertaining wiles of alternative music. However, I’ve recently uncovered the ability to create bands from my own wildest imagination.

For my first trick, I decided to resurrect Big Black as a contemporary British act, featuring biting satire not seen since Jello Biafra’s prime. If you like Shellac but wish they were as directly outspoken as Steve Albini out of the studio, then I give you Selfish Cunt.

“Even the name is perfect!” you say.

“I know,” I reply, and hand you this:

Download "I Love New York" by Selfish Cunt.