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Booking Through Thursday: Size Matters

btt buttonWhat’s the largest your personal library has ever been? What’s the greatest number of books you’ve ever owned at one time? (Estimates are fine.)

Is your collection NOW the biggest it’s ever been? Or have you down-sized?

What’s the fewest number of books you’ve ever owned (not counting your pre-reading years)?

IMG_0154I’d say my personal library is the largest it’s ever been now, as I’ve continued adding to it through the years, without any significant downsizing. A large chunk of it is comics-related: graphic novels, collected editions, etc. I couldn’t begin to properly estimate at present–especially as I have several bins of books tucked away in a shed at my parents’ house.

I’ve meant for ages to downsize a bit–but never quite get around to it. I also haven’t quite determined if I’d be merely downsizing what I have in this apartment, on my shelves…or downsize the collection itself permanently.

That’s the trouble, I’ve found, with being a comics & books person: by the very nature of the thing, it’s materialistic. The things take up space.

About ten years ago, I visited a friend’s place, and she showed me her dad’s library. A beautiful room with more books than I could count, organized neatly…and I was simply in awe.

At the time, my personal library could probably fit on 3-4 shelves, and included college textbooks whose “buyback” prices were insulting (Take a $35 book kept in good condition through the semester and offer me $1.25–less than the price of a single-issue comic–I’ll keep the book.)

IMG_0156But I’d received the bite, and found myself stuck with a vision that I hold to this day of someday being able to have my OWN library. A library, study, den, man-cave…whatever the word would be. A space for my book and comics collection.

Though in today’s economy and my own work situation at present…I begin to see definite folly in that vision.

And perhaps morbidly, after watching various CSI and L&O shows…I sometimes think about what my collection says about me. The books I have, the comics I’ve amassed. Quantity and quality of books, where I’ve chosen to shelve them, etc. What someone would deduce about me and my life simply from seeing this bedroom.

Plenty of other stuff to be touched on, such as the collector mentality (I don’t collect for value, but for completism, for one thing); but it branches into other topics. Perhaps to be touched on by future (or already touched on in past) Booking Through Thursday prompts.

’nuff said.

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Ultimate Spider-Man #160 [Review]

Death of Spider-Man: Part 5 of 5

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Mark Bagley
Inker: Andy Lanning with Andrew Hennessy
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Art: Bagley & Ponsor
Assistant Editor: Sana Amant
Senior Editor: Mark Paniccia
Published by: Marvel Comics

So, this issue is mostly one big fight scene. Seems the Green Goblin’s been busy, and it’s all come back down to Norman Osborn vs. Peter Parker. But unlike that first time the Goblin came back–when it was Mary Jane who was thrown off a bridge, playing on readers’ knowledge of what happened to Gwen in the regular Marvel Universe–this time, it just feels like little more than a ripoff of a two-decades-old Superman story. Yet, it works.

The villain apparently rose…many have fallen, and it’s down to the titular hero to save those around him from said villain.

Face it…the title of the story, the branding of the last few issues of this title and the Ultimate Avengers thing–it gives it all away. Much like knowing weeks before the story even began that Doomsday! was a tale that would end with the death of Superman. It was the journey to get there, watching the hero gradually take more and more of a beating, attempting to dish it back, and ultimately making a final sacrifice to save those he loves from a monster’s rampage.

The story itself–pretty simplistic. I haven’t read the first four chapters of it in this title, and bought (but wound up only skimming) the issue where Peter takes the bullet for Cap….yet, the recap page at the beginning of this issue sum things up pretty succinctly–I don’t need those chapters to “get” this.

The art–maybe not fantastic, but after recently reading the first tpb of the post-Ultimatum Ultimate Comics Spider-ManBagley‘s art–which I’ve always enjoyed and associated with Ultimate Spider-Man–is SUCH a thing of beauty. The characters actually look like I’d expect, as I got used to. The way they looked over the course of all those practically biweekly issues in college and all those TPBs after that when I went back to the series last year and caught up on over 60 issues of story.

As a whole…not truly worth the $3.99 cover price. Not even with that black plastic bag with the hero’s logo in red on it. But y’know? I missed out on Ultimate Spider-Man #1; I wasn’t able to acquire any issues til #4 or so, and was only able to get back to #3. But by and large (I got the first hardcover with those first 13 fantastic issues) I got in at the beginning. So I couldn’t bring myself to entirely “pass” on this ending.

If you’re already buying this title, sticking with the singles after the Ultimatum stuff and the renumbering and the re-renumbering, the changes in art and all that…if you read the earlier chapters of this story…again, face it: you were already going to or have bought this issue already. If you’ve sat things out, wondering at simply waiting for the collected volume: keep to that route. You’ll get a full story. If you’ve avoided this story on principle…hold to it.

This isn’t going to be for everyone. In many ways, I should be appalled at this. To see the character I so enjoyed reading about–and the supporting cast–put in this (albeit fictitious) situation, to see things come to this…it’s horrible. Heart-wrenching. But when you come down to it…this issue makes this version of Peter Parker, Spider-Man, much more real, at least in the moment. We saw his origin. His beginnings. His career. And now, his end.

If you can find this issue, without being taken for a marked-up price…I recommend it. If you’re a lapsed fan of the series, it might be worth getting to be there for the end. If nothing else–consider the collected volume.

Story: 4/10
Art: 9/10
Overall: 7/10

Booking Through Thursday: Soundtrack

btt button

What, if any, kind of music do you listen to when you’re reading? (Given a choice, of course!)

It depends on the kind of reading. If I’m reading emails or casually reading news and other articles online, I may have a little bit of everything playing.

But if I’m reading comics or books where I actually want to “mentally invest” in what I’m reading, has to be instrumental stuff.

Typically, I go with movie scores/soundtracks. I find that my FAVORITE movie score/soundtrack to listen to–as a whole–is the music from Gladiator. I’ll often mix stuff from that, from John Williams’ work (Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Superman, etc.), Lion King, Aladdin, Pirates of the Caribbean, and whatever else strikes my fancy at the time.

Lately I’ve been enjoying the Green Lantern soundtrack/score after getting hooked by the opening/prologue track.

It’s really that simple, I’d say.

Superman #712 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Flashpoint Checklist part 2 [Checklist]

July 2011

  • Flashpoint #3
  • Flashpoint: Batman Knight of Vengeance #2
  • Flashpoint: Secret 7 #2
  • Flashpoint: Abin Sur – The Green Lantern #2
  • World of Flashpoint #2
  • Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman #2
  • Flashpoint: Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager #2
  • Flashpoint: Frankenstein & the Creatures of the Unknown #2
  • Flashpoint: Citizen Cold #2
  • Flashpoint: Booster Gold #46
  • Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies #2
  • Flashpoint: Deadman and the Flying Graysons #2
  • Flashpoint: Legion of Doom #2
  • Flashpoint: The Outsider #2
  • Flashpoint: Lois Lane and the Resistance #2
  • Flashpoint: Hal Jordan #2
  • Flashpoint: Kid Flash Lost #2
  • Flashpoint: Project Superman #2

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Cat’s in the Cradle

I didn’t get around to writing this properly in time for Fathers’ Day, but thought I’d share it with y’all today.

I learned a lot about my dad, about my relationship with him, while I was in college. Away at college. Toward the latter part of my freshman year and throughout my sophomore year, so many things seemed to finally make sense, or simply occurred to me that never had before.

I remember reading one of the Dragonlance books, and a character made a comment: “We raise our children to leave us.” And something about that hit me hard in a big way. I saw my parents, and all they’d done and were doing for me in a whole new way. Something simple, yet for me, it was huge.

I also recall the lyrics to the song “Cat’s in the Cradle” suddenly being very real and in-my-face. Just listening to it, and realizing what the song was about and what it meant. I don’t recall now, though if I picked up the phone or wrote in an email, but at the time I felt that sudden need to reach out, to NOT let time slip on by.

And I was reminded of this Satuday when a radio show host had the song going in the background and was talking about it.

And I got to thinking about comics, and Dad, and how much of who I am today is because of Dad.

I wouldn’t be where or who I am today without him.

Even with comics–same deal. I have related in the past how it was Mom and my grandpa who introduced me to comics.

But it was Dad who made “being into” comics a possibility, a reality.

Continue reading

Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors #2 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

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