10. The Whirlpool, by Jane Urquhart
09. Wolverine Classic volume 1 by Chris Claremont
08. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
07. Hearts in Atlantis (short story) by Stephen King
06. Lolita by Vladimir Nobokov
05. The Long Road, by Matthew LeDrew
04. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
03. Tender is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
02. Dark Avengers – Ares, by Kieron Gillen
What’s #1? Sorry! You’ll have to watch the video to see! ;)
Never Look Back
So five years ago I went to see the first Iron Man movie with my buddy Jordon Pollard — great guy, never had a book dedicated to him. I didn’t expect much, because honestly I didn’t think much of the character at the time. I’d never read Iron Man. I didn’t particularly like Iron Man. Then the movie came out and it just blew me away — stylistically, thematically, everything was perfect. And that Nick Fury cameo at the end? Got goosebumps. Everyone did. It was an awesome day.
For the next few years I continued to hold Marvel films to that standard, with varying degrees of success. Incredible Hulk was okay, Thor was great, Captain America and Iron Man 2… not so much. Iron Man 2 was the worst of these offenders, as it failed to live up to the level of the original. So when Iron Man 3 was announced as launching Phase Two on the Marvel Cinematic Line… I was cautious.
But honestly, they couldn’t have made a better choice.
Everything in this movie works. It delivers on all promises. I deconstructs Tony Stark in a way I wouldn’t have thought possible again, and really reminds us why we fell in love with the Avengers franchise. It continues from Avengers in an amazing way, with Tony Stark suffering from PTSD after the results of that film, making Avengers not just a crossover, but an essential part of the Iron Man saga. That was appreciated. Beyond that, it’s a wonderful story with believable characters and interactions. Downey Jr. really gets to have some fun with his dialog in a way that wasn’t there in the second movie and it just makes the film.
I’m not going to ruin anything — but anyone who loved Iron Man but has been ho-hum since then on Marvel Movies, see this flick. It’s very much worth the price of admission.
Never Look Back
Top Ten Books I Thought I’d Like MORE/LESS Than I Did
Doing a 5/5.
Books I thought I’d like More:
5. The Relic
4. Money has no Smell
3. The Da Vinci Code
2. Buffy: Chosen
1. Heart of Darkness
Books I thought I’d like Less:
5. The Divine Ryans
4. Life of Pi
3. Shot in the Heart
2. Batman: No Man’s Land
1. A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Never Look Back
So some of you might be wondering what I’ve been up to the last few weeks — posts have been scarce and pre-written. Well, one reason is I’ve been working hard on posts over at the Geeks vs Nerds Online Magazine, which you should check out for new TMNT reviews as well as reviews on many other IDW titles. Another is that I’ve been working hard to make sure the next two Engen titles, Chains and Sci-Fi from the Rock Returns, make it out on time.
Well there were some problems with Chains in production, but I’m glad to say I’ve got both book in now in time for their release at next weekend’s convention and reading… but, well, there’s a problem.
Problems are going to happen sometimes as a small press publisher. Sometimes deadlines make the crunch hard and things get missed. My favorite small press comic publisher, Mirage, has a slogan “If it ain’t late, it ain’t Mirage,” making fun at their constantly-late publications. In than vein, perhaps Engen’s slogan should not be “Never Look Back” — perhaps it should be “If it ain’t broke, it ain’t Engen.”
So to see what I’m talking about, see the image accompanying this post… notice anything? Here’s a hint: the title on the spine should be the same as the title on the cover. Oops.
So I’m fixing this in time for the release, so anyone buying on Amazon will clearly have a good copy — but I can’t get new copies in in time for the convention next week. So fans of Black Womb eager for the end of the series will have an odd looking bookshelf, with two copies of Gang War — one 150 pages longer than the other. LOL.
The perils of small publishing. Puts Ken Tam’s spine-mishap into perspective.
Never Look Back
Top Ten Tuesday REWIND — pick a past topic you missed or one you want to revisit! That’s what I was told from The Broke and the Bookish. Well then, that’s vague… hmm. What do I do for this? Well, I’m going to do a callback to this post and give you my next Top 10 Graphic Novels of all time! Mainly because my opinions on the other lists are still my opinions, but you can breeze through a Graphic Novel fairly quickly, and that leads to changing / evolving tastes over time. So, here we go!
10. X-Cutioner’s Song (X-Men): One that probably would have made it on my list last time, except I hadn’t read it yet. Had a bunch of individual issues I’d collected over the years, but then Ellen gave my the whole collection for my birthday and I finally got to read it all. It’s X-Men soap-opera at its best: multiple storylines, a plot to kill Professor X, time travel, and a battle royale on the moon! On the moon. Man I loved X-Men growing up. ;)
9. Transmetropolitan: Back on the Streets (DC/Vertigo): I’d never really gotten the appeal of Vertigo before reading this. I didn’t get the whole “mature readers” thing, because so many books claiming to be for “mature” readers were in fact the most immature: tits and swearing, basically. Not so, here. This could have been a novel, easily. It’s a dark and satirical look at our culture through the allegory of a future culture, seen through the eyes of a journalist who’s a little like if Allan Moore and Hunter S. Thompson had a love-child. And if that doesn’t make you want to pick it up, I don’t know what will.
8. Preacher, vol. 1 (DC/Vertigo): Another book that you think you’ll understand when you hear about it, then you read it and realize it’s better in execution than you ever thought it could be. Garth Ennis writes an amazing story over the course of 66 issues dealing with a Quest to find God by a Preacher that has been possessed by a being called Genesis: a child of the unholy union between and angel and a demon. It’s a story that’s been done before but never done so well. Check out just the first issue, you’ll be hooked. I can almost guarantee it.
7. Ultimate Fantastic Four (Ultimate Marvel): This one didn’t make it on the list last time because, honestly, it’s better for what it worked with than it stands on its own. I never much liked the Fantastic Four. They get along a bit too much. But this book, changing them to teenagers and showing their origins in a new and inventive way, really brought them to a head for me. I’ve becoming disillusioned with the Ultimate Universe after the Ultimatum event, but the first storyarcs from each series (Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four) are each still a good read. Worth checking out if you just want to understand the characters / phenomenon and then get out again.
6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics, vol.2 (IDW): A weird choice some might say, but these three issues tell one unique story from Mark Martin featuring the Ninja Turtles dealing with a time-travelling, reality-changing mutant girl who ends up threatening all reality and creating a giant rat parody of the Punisher. Sound confusing? That’s because it is. It’s also Ninja Turtles at its best, from the days when being a self-aware parody was an okay thing for the title.
5. Spider-Man: The Other (Marvel): This story gets harped on, and I don’t know why. It deals with Spider-Man at deaths door from natural causes, and him dealing with that death and coming to terms with it before eventually passing on… and the twist involving the death is something I will dare not spoil. It’s simply amazing. Again, people harp on it, but I think it was great and definitely worth checking out.
4. Ultimate Spider-Man volume 6: Venom (Ultimate Marvel): This Ultimate retelling of Venom’s origin takes the best of every part incarnation and mixes it into one. It really is, for me, the definitive look at the character, and should be regarded more closely.
3. Trial of Gambit (Marvel): Another book that got to me young and kept me, this book revealed the (then) shocking truth about Gambit’s past with Mr. Sinister, hinted at since his first appearance. This is probably the last big X-Men event, for me. Everything else was downhill after this. If you read from the 1990 X-Men #1 to here, you’re good in my book. Anything before or after is just weird.
2. Marvel Zombies (Marvel): Probably the most innovative idea to come out of the House of Ideas, Marvel Zombies takes a simple What If? – style story and choses to base a whole world around it, to great comedic and dramatic effect. it’s gone on a bit long now (most comics, once popular, overstay their welcome), but this first volume is pure gold.
1. The Walking Dead (Image): The first volume of this series largely follows the first season of the show, with some alterations made of course… but it’s an amazing book that deserves to be read by anyone. It’s no wonder TWD became a hit on AMC with this as its source material.
Never Look Back