odds and ends

Last week, I mentioned one of my purchases from Hastings was this graphic novel:

NewUniversal: Everything Went White, written by Warren Ellis with art by Salvador Larroca.

I bought this based on the strength of Ellis’ writing but the art absolutely killed any enjoyment of this book for me. It seems a trend in comics lately has been to use celebrity likenesses for character designs. All the characters in this book look like the artist copied them out of production stills from movies and television shows. At first glance, I recognize Josh Holloway from Lost, Angelina Jolie, James Cromwell, Johnny Depp, and Bruce Willis.

I am sure Larroca’s art is to someone’s tastes, but his appropriation of likenesses seems lazy and hindered me from enjoying the story.

Now that being said, the story is pretty rote as well, although this might have more to do with the genre than this book in particular. Ellis is good at taking the superhero elements and coming up with new spins on them… but there are SO many superhero comic books out there, that NewUniversal didn’t distinguish itself to me all that much. I don’t like to pretend I know personal information about authors when I don’t, but I’ve read a lot of interviews wherein Ellis expressed his complete disdain for superhero comics. Perhaps that’s coming through here.

I did like one key scene toward the end involving “the starbrand” meeting other starbrands. Time travel is involved and it provided a nice twist I didn’t see coming. Other than taht, I didn’t enjoy and cannot recommend NewUniversal. Of course, as I said last week, I only paid about $1.25 for the trade, so it wasn’t a huge financial loss.

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If you enjoy reading my weekly Thrift Store Finds posts, you may also enjoy Half Price Books Adventurers, a new blog with an interesting premise: Two women forsake their normal vacations to travel around the country visiting  and shopping at new Half Price Books stores.

I can relate to the ladies’ interest in visiting different stores. We have four HPB locations within 30 miles of my house and I go to all four regularly, looking for comic books and comic paperbacks. Besides the ineffable nature of shopping at used book stores, each of the four locations near me have very different methods for selling things. For example, the Montgomery Road location has better deals on individual comic issues (a quarter a pop is the norm), where as the Northgate HPB has better Clearance discounts on trade paperbacks. If I notice these small differences across four stores… I’d love to see some of the other locations.

I also like the driving force behind the ladies’ quest- buying used laserdiscs. Laserdiscs as a format were pretty much on their way out the door by the time I was old enough to buy them, but their clunkiness have fascinated me since I was a kid. I can only imagine they are fun to shop for in 2012, considering most of our local HPB stores have boxes of them for $1 apiece.

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Finally, I had to share this fun video of a woman who built her own collapsable TARDIS.

I am completely useless when it comes to anything involving carpentry, but I have to admit… I’d love to have a TARDIS sitting in our backyard. Ellen’s been talking about getting a couple of live chickens to roost and, in that case, we’d need to have a chicken coop. Perhaps we could have a chicken coop/TARDIS?

All of this lady’s videos are terrific and it looks like she uses them as teaching tools in her classroom. Teaching figurative language creatively AND a fan Doctor Who? I need a cooperating teaching teacher like that!

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