Saturday, September 25, 2010


That is a question that seems to fit my hobby.  I have heard this in a variety of questions over the years.  Why do you read comics?  Why write reviews?  Why, why, why.  For me it is a matter of loving the stories.  The variation and types of stories combined with stunning visual images just appeal to me.  All this has been churned up by the Bendis comments.  I know that my current reviews have been short and not as good as what I was once doing.  Honestly no comics review should be very long.  You are just commenting on 22 pages most times of story and then you should never give things away.  This alone requires a limited amount of paragraphs.

I began reviewing to be a part of a friends endeavors with his sites.  It was PaperBackReader where he finally stuck with it for two go arounds.  We did have that venture into ComiXtreme for a bit.  As he started PBR, I was just graduated from Divinity School and had lost my Mother to the effects of Diabetes.  Reviewing and later my column Critical Mass became my therapy.  I immersed my hours of nothing into writing.  I enjoyed reviewing books and feeling a part of a community of comic fans.

Little did I know that the power of Church politics would rise up and use my beloved hobby as a weapon to hurt me.  Lies, misdirection, and implied gossip were used to paint me as someone who would hurt children because I read comics.  It was reviews of Top Cow books that anchored the attacks.  I know that there was more going on beyond comics now in hindsight, but still, to have the implication of this out there that I would hurt kids wounded me deeply.  I was told that in one meeting there were pages that had nothing to do with my reviews shown and that they were nothing to do with PBR.  I could have looked at them and seen just what they were doing, but I figured it best not to do so.  Still, for a while it was like there was a stain on my books and I had to hide part of who I was while at that church.

Now I am serving at a church where the Pastor wants me to do a Superhero Sunday.  It is a complete turn around from the place I was in.  What is nice is the fact I don't feel like I am hiding myself.  I can be me and not be watching for someone to attack me for any and all things around me.  I can write reviews and be honest that I read comics.  I think the fallout emotionally did hurt my writing and I hope to get back to a better quality as I do more.

The answer to why is simple.  I love comics.  I see them as a way to inspire reading.  I know that this can happen.  To give a child a comic is the opening of imagination.  This brings about more reading.  The more a person reads the more they are open to ideas of working together and solving problems.  I see comics as a way to foster a love for learning.  I guess that is why I get disappointed at the dumbed down way some writers approach the books nowadays.  Many things I read in comics from the 1970's and 1980's made me want to know more.  I would go to the encyclopedia and find out about the stuff I was curious about from my comics.  Oh, encyclopedia's are an ancient hard bound book form of Google.

I wish I had the money to buy enough Tiny Titans and other kid friendly comics to give out at Trunk Or Treat.  That would be awesome.  Candy is a one time enjoyment, but a comicbook can provide years of satisfaction.

Enough rambling.  Have a wonderful day.


Bendis Is Upset with the Lack of Good Comics Reporting, Reviewing, etc.

I just read Kalinara's post about this "Long form Journalism" Mr. Bendis wants to see.  Of course he wasn't talking about me or really any of us that Blog and review comics for free.  He basically is attacking the paid sites that just "cut and paste" press releases.  I doubt Mr. Bendis has ever read my newest Blog, or many of the fine Blogs I read.  In my "career" reviewing comics, PaperBackReader and ComiXtreme, I never copied nor pasted.  I wrote whole articles from my own head.  Some were awesome, some were not, but all were mine and original.  Before I had to stop because of the Church I ended up at, I had many creators sending me requests for books to read, received complimentary issues for review from Top Cow and DC Comics, and had become trusted as an honest reviewer.  I asked to be taken off the comp lists after I knew I would be unable to review because of the giving up of my volunteer job.

So I will take no offense, because I know it was not me.  I would suggest that Mr. Bendis do what I was told when I complained about the quality of the Marvel product.  There are vast quantities of things out there that have been published that you can read.  See, I did, I do not buy new Marvel comics.  I do buy the great old books that are better than what I feel Mr. Bendis and others are doing at Marvel.

In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, "Whota Maroon!"


Friday, September 24, 2010

Flash Back Fridays: SAMURAI HEAVEN & EARTH #1 v.2

            I am going to try this as a way to make sure there is content on the Blog when the days between Ssalefish Comics is few and far between.  So I usher in Flash Back Fridays.  I figure to mine some gems from my old Blog that had to go dark.  So some my seem familiar.  Enjoy!
            SAMURAI HEAVEN & EARTH #1 v.2 is just as good as the starting tale. I worry a bit that new readers might feel a smidge lost as they enter this story. It does set the framework of what happened, but a title like this demands one find those back issues or buy the Trade Paperback that has been released. This is one of those tales that just has so much to offer. It is a feast for the eyes and has a tale of romance and action that rivals any TV Show on air today.
            I happened upon this comicbook by accident. The beauty of that original cover's art caught my eye, but the writer drew me in. Ron Marz is currently making Witchblade and many Top Cow titles be more than just sexily drawn women and violence.  He is really doing some of his best work there and it began here. The sentimental romantic that I am fell in love with the story. A Samurai on a quest to find the woman he loves, no matter the dangers or miles he must face. Just because I mentioned romance, do not balk. Upon returning to find his master’s house conquered and his love captured, Shiro systematically slew every soldier in the compound, alone. From there he traveled following a slave trader to whom the now dead enemy had sold Lady Yoshiko. Shiro ends up in Europe and crosses swords with the famed Musketeers. It is from there that the story continues.
            It just so happens that it is the slave trader that Shiro has tracked down. There is just the matter of the hulking bodyguard standing in the way. Action and romance is here as we are at least given more of both Shiro and Lady Yoshiko. I admit that this is a bit harder to feel the same chemistry of the first volume, but like a TV Show second season, one must make allowances that they are entering a part two of an ongoing tale. Still, this book is better than most the stuff filling the store shelves.
            I just wish to be able to follow the adventure of this Samurai as he fulfills his vow that nothing in heaven or on earth will come between him and his love. That is just a great concept that we seem to lack in the current society today.  But, alas, Marz is so busy at Top Cow I fear it might be a long time coming for volume three.  Both volumes are in Trade currently.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I have to say that CHASE lived up to the hype it was using in the previews for NBC's Fall Season.  Kelli Giddish is wonderful as Annie Frost, Texas Ranger.  It is another action packed TV Show by Jerry Bruckheimer.  The opening scene is a great chase and take down of a fugitive on the run.  Annie kicks butt in the take down by the way.

I loved the show.  I just have one problem.  It is on opposite of Castle.  I have a choice to make, but thanks to I can watch both.  This show should be a solid one for NBC.  It is part procedural and a great deal of action.  The cast seems like they will gel as an ensemble to enjoy watching week in and week out.
I could ramble on more, but really one must just watch and see if they like it.  I do suggest you give Annie Frost a chance.  It really is a nice concept and different from some of the other settings of many law enforcement shows.  One thing last night was the way Annie used music to get in the fugitive's head.  Just a nice little element to the process.

CHASE is definitely worth a look this TV Season.


Batman Beyond #3

                I will make my guess as to the person who seems to be Hush right now in this title.  I say Jason Todd.  It fits that Amanda Waller and Camdus would have him locked up in a mental ward of some kind in suspended animation.  I like the tension they are building between Bruce and Terry.  It was leading to this in the animated series and the movie, Return of the Joker.  Terry is a different type of Batman.  He has a style that is not as dark, but still effective.  Bruce building an army of robotic Bats is what seems right.  The old man wants to be in control and do things his way.  Still, the conflict here will definitely be a distraction I feel.

                The new Catwoman is providing a great foil for Terry.  The banter between the two is perfect.  While not romantic or flirty, it has its own special flavor.  The way that Adam Beechen is weaving Terry’s rogues with the old Gotham criminal element works well.  This Hush character has opened the door to what has happened to the aged villains of Gotham.  The shocker is seeing the one person of the Bat family that has never made their Beyond appearance, until the last page.  Awesome!

                This is an enjoyable mini that should give the green light for another, or dare we hope and ongoing series?  This would be terrific if that would happen.  The world of Batman Beyond is ripe with possibilities.  I for one would love to see more after this story closes.


Power Girl #15

                I was worried about this title when the creative team changed.  This was right there with Batgirl as my favorite buy of the month.  I am still hanging with the book, but that is because it has not totally undone all that was good about the start.  I miss the humor that was in Power Girl, but the character is still doing well.  Wonder where Terra is though.  Seems the new team is gutting the supporting cast.

                Not able to push Power Girl on you anymore.  While enjoyable, it has become just another DC book right now.  The very unique flavor of the start of the title is gone.  What is left is a typical comicbook.  We have the elements of the genre.  Hero plus baddies plus conflict equals story.  The book is readable and better than some on the market, but it honestly could be any female in the title and role of character.

                Seems I am talking myself out of buying Power Girl.  Maybe.  I guess that is what Winick is for me.  I mean I tried really hard to stick with Green Lantern when he started writing early on in his career.  I left because of the same thing.  His stories were bland and I just could not justify the cost versus enjoyment.  Now comics cost even more and I face the same dilemma.  What do I do, stay or go?

                Still not sure about that right now.  I am really hoping that this is a temporary assignment for Winick.  Maybe DC is just filling a hole until they change writers.  I hope so.  This is one time that Winick being bounced around from title to title would be a good thing.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Batgirl #14

                This is the title everyone should be reading.  It delivers every month a brand of action, excitement, and humor that is sorely lacking in many comics nowadays.  This is just a fun little romp with the two female representatives of the Bat and Supes families.  Stephanie and Kara make a great pair.  Steph is just jaded enough to need the bubbly Kara to make her smile. 

                In this issue it is a silly romp of classic comic plotting.  A failed experiment and the resulting manufactured celluloid Draculas.  We have what if animated would be a great montage of Supergirl and Batgirl tracking down the depressed hard light projections and just having fun while doing it.  The whimsy is a detail that makes this a great read.

                Overall this has become the best of the best from DC Comics in my opinion.  We have a growing Stephanie Brown and the superb character supporting cast that has formed around her.  It is nice seeing this once thrown away character become the coolest read each month.  I know I eagerly await each issue and savor the turn of each page.  You should be reading this book and forsaking all others.  Well, maybe at least look to trying it and replacing a more costly title that you might be disappointed in.


Secret Avengers #1

                As most of you know I gave up Marvel at the beginning of Brand new Day.  Well close, I was reading Nova until I could not stand buying Marvel anymore.  The crossovers and the lack of respect for the characters I loved just pushed me away.  I also was tired of the smug and arrogant remarks from the leadership.  I took their advice about reading the back issues if I did not like what they were producing.  So this is a rarity for me now.  I guess I should tell you why I picked the book up.

                I was buying my stack of books at the shop and was well over the every purchase over ten bucks gets a free book from this stack.  Yes, I just picked this up because it cost me nothing.  I can tell you that the $3.99 price does nothing to make me want to purchase the title.  Might get the Trade if it is ever in the used book store I frequent.  Still, it is a far book, if overpriced.

Ed Brubaker is the writer and that was a reason that I picked secret Avengers from the stack of Marvel books.  I wonder if there is a tricky buying incentive right now?  I knew if I was going to have a hope of enjoying this book Brubaker would help.  Mike Deodato is awesome on the artwork in the comic.  I like his War Machine.  See, Jim Rhodes is one of my favorite characters and to see him in this title is nice.  In fact the entire line up is interesting and full of characters I like.  Black Widow, Nova, Valkyrie, Moon Knight, Steve Rogers, the irritating Ant-Man, and Sharon Carter make up this is a nice contingent of heroes. 

So it is a nice story and a good start for a series.  The price and my aversion to the current climate of Marvel Corporate will not be seeing me buy this book though.  Was nice to visit, but I am still not moving back to my once home of comics.


Green Lantern Corps #51

                Alpha Lanterns were the scariest thing in the build up to The Blackest Night to me.  They were these soulless creatures that were just sitting there waiting to become a problem.  Thanks to Cyborg Superman that happened.  He has taken over Lantern Stel’s home planet and now hold Ganthet prisoner.  Worse he wants Ganthet to reverse the Alpha Lantern process so he can reverse his own robotic status as he is now an Alpha Lantern.  It is through the destruction of the Alphas that this is to happen.

                Kyle, Sora, and John Stewart are trapped with the populace and with their rings depowered sitting ducks.  That is when Kyle calls for the Lost Lantern Hannu.  It is clear when he arrives why he is a perfect choice to aid them.  The results however are mixed emotionally as a favorite Lantern is returned and lost.

                This is the final fate of this group of Lanterns.  We have her one action pack issue that is the middle of the tale.  Green Lantern corps is one of the top titles at DC for the simple reason of how it spreads the use of Lanterns across the board.  It also is usually where the action happens.  So this is a great read for all fans of the Green Lanterns.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Promo Images

I am trying to get some things to use to promote the Blog.  Figure to use them around town and maybe leave them at some Con Freebie Tables.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wonder Woman #602

                I mentioned how of the two DC characters being written by J. Michael Stracynski, Wonder Woman and Superman, Wonder Woman is the one that might be the best done.  JMS has stripped everything away and totally changed the character.  It is bothersome.  It sends a message that Wonder Woman can only be written be recreating her.  I see elements of the Wonder Woman I know, which is a mix of the general knowledge and following her for the last five years.  She is a strong female that has rarely been given her due by the powers that be.

                Still, this is a nice Hero Tale.  We get to see a person that was ripped from her life and lost everything that made sense.  She now struggles with a destiny she is not sure she wants and a duty she must perform or bear the burden for the deaths of the last of her people.  The connection to the Greek gods has always been strong in the world of Wonder Woman.  Now they are an interesting mix of active participants and disinterested bystanders.

                Aphrodite is the one we have a bit of story with here.  It is just a conversation with Diana, yet it speaks volumes to where the story is going.  The idea of rebirth and the common thread of blood in the process of all life is here in clear and obscure ways.  The world of Man is very destructive to the remaining Amazons, yet Diana is a force unto herself.  It is like seeing the old Wonder Woman coming forth in the moments of action.

                So this is a comicbook worth watching as it goes forward.  I see it resolving eventually and of course there is the out.  I know the end.  It will be a choice.  It will enable the return of the classic.  Does knowing that effect the enjoyment?  No.  The journey is what one will be reading this comicbook for until the end.  I will enjoy, buit I do hope one day Princess Diana can be treated like she should and truly be able to stand as the member of the DC Trinity the claim she is in the DC Universe.

So, Yeah, Been gone a bit.............

I apologize.  This is no way to do and I am going to endeavor to figure a day that will be posting day.  I do have a large stack of books, I went to the comicbook shop before the list got too large for me to purchase.  I still left two books in the box.  I was sideline by my own genetics and the work I do.  I am changing medicines and one has a side effect of making me very tired.  I had to drop one because of cost and the diabetes is growing stronger even as I work to adjust my lifestyle to counteract the disease.

I was also reading old comics from my ex-love Marvel Comics.  I began by just grabbing some old Wolverines as I went to the Reading Room, some of you know what room this is in your abode.  It lead me down the bookcase to my Silver Sable series.  I loved that series.  Silver and Sandman really shine there in that book.  So I was reading comics.

I am still debating how to deal with the Top Cow books I read.  I guess I am gun shy from the experience at the church I worked at for a few years.  I do have some excellent Comic Book Rescue Project buys from Hillsville at the Flea Market.  Of those I got a run of Spider-Woman, the original series, and I have some thoughts about the era of Marvel women from that time.  I collect She-Hulk, Dazzler, and Spider-Woman from back then and of the three, Jessica Drew is so whiny.  They really wrote her as an early version of Ally McBeal.  It also got me thinking about the other two and how they are portrayed.  Very different from the action heroine in the Silver Sable book years later.  I want to ponder this a bit and write about the time period concerning women I think.

So hang in there.  I am gearing up to become steady once again with post.  I am thinking of trying to bring back some of my earliest ideas in this crazy world of comic review and blogging.  I also have some novels to write about.

Thanks for hanging around.