Archive for June, 2012

thrift store finds: the batman murders

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , , , , on June 30, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

This week, we’re going to be looking at The Batman Murders, written by Craig Shaw Gardner. Published in 1990 by Warner Books, the original retail price for this book was $4.95. I paid a quarter at the Salvation Army.

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odds and ends: ipad comics, alf comics, lego haunted house

Posted in odds and ends with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

I wanted to make two awesome recommendations to those of you who read comics on your iPad or tablet devices.

Cartoonists Kevin Cannon (Far Arden) and Zander Cannon have launched Double Barrel, a digital comics initiative where the two are serializing their new comics along with a bunch of sketches and letters from readers. Double Barrel is effectively a streamlined comics magazine and it’s AWESOME.

I’ve already written here about my love of Far Arden; it was hugely popular with my students two years ago and I’ve been anxiously awaiting Kevin Cannon’s follow up, Crater XV.

For $1.99, you get 122 pages of content. This thing is gigantic and the creators are crazy talented. As much as I was looking forward to Crater XV, I think I enjoyed Zander Cannon’s oddly sentimental horror riff Heck just as much as the new adventures of Army Shanks. Download through whichever comics app you like (I prefer ComiXology, but there’s iBooks and the Top Shelf app, off the top of my head)

Also from Top Shelf, this week sees the release of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: 2009 by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill.

The summation of Moore and O’Neill’s Century storyline, this book has a bunch of people up in arms over Moore’s appropriation of a certain incredibly popular boy wizard character, refashioned by the author into the Antichrist. As far as I can tell, the work Moore does is all above board and not legally compromising, but I love the tightrope he and O’Neill walk with every new installment of LoEG. I get that a lot of folks are a little tired of the “winky winky” allusions to popular media, but I’m not and 2009 is my favorite book in the series thus far.

I opted to read 2009 on my tablet for three reasons. One, like I said, I’m a sucker for this series and when Top Shelf inevitably collects the first two books in the Century series (1909, 1969) with 2009, I’m going to buy that big collection. I don’t need the individual trades and the big collection. Two, for a book like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the “on panel at a time” format most comic readers use is ideal, because Kevin O’Neill packs SO much detail and hidden jokes within his pages, it’s nice to be able to appreciate each one up close. Three… you get 84 pages of content for $4.99; the print version is $9.99.


Folks who follow my Twitter feed might already know this, but I happened on a great Half-Price Books find this past Monday.

Fifteen issues of Marvel ComicsALF! I did a comic/sketchbook page about my love of ALF comics and how elusive they are to me. I’ve been looking for two years and I’ve happened on two… maybe three ALF comics in that time. To hit the motherlode like this? What a great day. I wish I was being sarcastic there.

I’m not going to go into any depth about my love of ALF today, opting instead to save those accolades for a later post… but I thought you’d want to see these comics in all their majesty.


I am seriously considering dropping $180 dollars on this.

Set for release this September, the Haunted House LEGO playset is a thing of wacky beauty. Part of the company’s Monster Fighters series, this is exactly the LEGO playset I wanted when I was a kid, but at that point the LEGO was just getting around to making castles, not elaborate Addams Family style abodes.

I can justify this purchase by saying it will become an annual Halloween decoration in our house, right?

summer journal comics: the graveyard

Posted in summer journal comics with tags , , on June 28, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

“The Graveyard” is this spot in our backyard, christened thusly by Elliot for reasons Ellen and I can’t quite figure out. It’s a bit overgrown, I suppose.

summer journal comics: panera freak out

Posted in summer journal comics with tags , , , , , , , on June 27, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

Despite all my shilling for that contest a few months ago, I’m going to take a VERY snobby position and say I do not really think the bagels you can buy at Panera are bagels. They’re more like… donuts. Someone once told me displaced New Yorkers like complaining about not being able to get NYC food more than they do finding suitable or even tastier replacements. I think there’s a measure of truth to that.

Let me just say then, that I have come to honestly enjoy Panera’s “bagels” over the years. They’re not what I think of when I think bagel, but they do the job decently enough.

summer journal comics: the adventures of eye man

Posted in summer journal comics with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

…yes, of course, well-heeled nerds everywhere know that Henry’s playing with OMAC, the One Man Army Corps. I have this gigantic Tupperware bin of action figures the boys play with regularly.

I would say about 80% of these toys were bought at ridiculous discounts. Most of the Marvel Legends figures were scooped up as that line ended its’ run in stores… a lot of them for $3 bucks apiece. The same thing’s happening right now with Mattel’s DC Universe Classics– they toys are on crazy markdowns around here, a lot like the Marvel Universe Black Widow I wrote about in Thrift Store Finds a few weeks ago. This is why we own a toy of OMAC, a character no child in 2012 has ever seen or heard of before.

Now, the funny/awesome thing is this: The DCUC toys all come with a Build-A-Figure accessory. The concept has always seemed insane to me, but it works thusly: A toy company releases six action figures in a “wave.” Packaged with each figure is a piece of a larger figure. Purchase say, a Batman toy… and you’ll get the left arm. Buy Superman, get the right leg. Buy all six figures and you can build a gigantic figure.

Well, we’ve managed almost to build an entire Build-A-Figure out of remaindered and marked-down toys. Check it out-

…anyway. If you’re reading this an you have the Left Arm or Left Leg of this toy (his name is Validus) and you want to help us out, leave a comment! Maybe we can work out a trade or something…

summer journal comics: eating sausage & pasta

Posted in summer journal comics with tags , , on June 25, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

I’m back after taking a week off, wherein I did no drawing and LOTS of napping.

I have to admit, I’m a bit worried about how some of these comics will come off from here on out, so I guess I’ll say it again today and then at least have the comfort of knowing I said it: While some of these comics are palpable for a “wide” audience, a lot of them are just snapshots of my kids and their behavior. I’m drawing them more for them than anyone else.

To wit, occasionally these things will come off as treacly (today’s certainly might) but that’s OK by me, since it’s something my kids actually did… and the sketchbook I’m drawing them in will sit on my family’s bookshelves for years. I scan ’em and post ’em because people DO seem to enjoy them. Indeed, if this “Site Views” widget is to be believed, personal comics about my family life > comics about me teaching English to high school freshman.

It’s weird and I’ve perhaps mounted a defense against something where I needn’t defend anything but it’s 9:30 and I’m waiting around to proctor a Social Studies OGT, so what the hell.

students draw me: week three highlights

Posted in student drawings, Uncategorized with tags , , on June 24, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

I’m just going to present these without comment this week!

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thrift store finds – st. susanna’s rummage sale finds

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

St. Susanna’s Catholic Church here in Mason is had its’ yearly rummage sale this month. In past years, this has been a good thrifting experience for both Ellen and myself. Here’s a couple of our collective finds from last weekend:

Masters of the Universe Battle Tank (Mattel)

I picked this toy up for $1.50. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe have been pretty popular in our house over the past few months and I thought this toy would be a fun addition to the boys’ play room. It comes from Mattel’s unsuccessful attempt to reintroduce the Masters franchise in the early 2000’s.

Although Mattel seemingly pulled out all the stops to get boys interested in the property (lots of toys, a new animated series), the company was unable to capture lightning in a bottle twice. By and large, kids did not go for this new update of He-Man. The endless variations of He-Man and Skeletor warmed the shelves of toy aisles, unpurchased, while the much harder-to-find ancillary heroes and villains were scalped for big bucks.

Collectors are still pretty into the line today, which is the other reasons why I thought a dollar and two quarters was a fine deal for this thing. This Battle Tank is missing the gun mount on the back and two projectile missiles, but otherwise it’s in perfect shape. Ditto the He-Man toy included, which still has his power sword.

At any rate, this will live in our “big boy toys” bin and Elliot and Henry will enjoy it.

Hunchback of Notre Dame trading cards (Skybox)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame always seemed like a boneheaded idea for Disney. Nothing about the Victor Hugo novel screamed “turn me into a 90 minute cartoon with anthropomorphic gargoyles!” While the flick does have gorgeous animation as well as some fine songs (The Bells of Notre Dame is a favorite of mine), this was a miss for Disney. I’ll always think of Hunchback as the movie which ended Disney’s glorious hot streak at the box office and their reemergence as a force in animation, stretching all the way back to 1989’s The Little Mermaid.

Anyhow, I paid $1 dollar for this very nice collection of trading cards. It looks to be a complete set

…with all the fun chase cards included. Here are some iron-ons.

I guess Skybox expected people to iron them all onto a white shirt? There’s also puzzle cards, cards that can be used to build a real Notre Dame cathedral, game cards, cards you can change into puppets…

This wasn’t exactly a collector’s set; these were trading cards meant for kids. To find them in such pristine condition was a surprise. The former owner of this set really took good care of the thing. I figured that was worth a dollar.

Old Cookbooks (for Ellen)

Ellen collects old cookbooks and she found these for fifty cents each, so $2 dollars for the lot. I thought I’d let her tell you why she picked these up herself:

Maybe it was the setting (in a church hall) or that the boys were actually behaving themselves, but I knew the vintage-cookbook-collecting gods were on my side when Chris held up The James Beard Cookbook. This is a book so thorough, but also so basic it actually gives instructions for how to boil water, a lesson I could have really used a few years ago. Beyond this gem, I found three other treasures; Another James Beard goodie, How to Eat Better for Less Money, which surely will never go out of style, a Larousse Gastronomique from 1961, and the book I’m most curious about is The Graham Kerr Cookbook by The Galloping Gourmet, “he cracks jokes as he cracks eggs”!

I think we paid fifty cents apiece for each book, $2 dollars for the lot!

nothing to see here

Posted in Uncategorized on June 18, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

I’m going to take a week or so off from posting… it is summer vacation for me, after all.

If you’re looking for some journal comics to fill the void my impromptu holiday is going to leave in your reading, I highly recommend going over and checking out Sam Spina’s daily journal comic. Sam recently announced that after three years, he’s going to stop posting daily journal strips and focus on longer format autobiographical stories.

I for one will miss Sam’s work but I really appreciate his reasons for stopping. In a day and age where most creatives are rewarded for doing the same thing over and over again, it’s nice to see an artist in tune with himself enough to understand his feelings about his art… even if said art is something he’s known well for.

I will miss the journal comics, happily read Sam’s new work, and enjoy the final days of these superior strips. Check them out and bookmark Sam’s site.

odds and ends: cincinnati comic expo, bunheads

Posted in odds and ends with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

Hey hey, final announcements have been made about the guest roster for the 2012 Cincinnati Comic Expo.

I’ve attended the CCE for all of its’ short history and enjoyed myself more each year as the con gets more ambitious. This year, the convention has expanded to two days worth of programming, and they’ve announced an interesting rosters of guests.

This year’s Guests of Honor are Rick Veitch, Steve Bissette, John Totleben, and Thomas Yeates, all artists who worked on DC Comics’ seminal Saga of the Swamp Thing during Alan Moore’s tenure as writer. The Saga of the Swamp Thing trades loom large in my reading as a teenager; I still have my weather-beaten paperbacks of those comics in my library, having too much sentiment for them to ever have traded up to the nice hardcover collections DC has been publishing in recent years.

Of the four guys, I’m pretty interested to speak with Bissette, whose crazy-beautiful dinosaur comic Tyrant was something I read to pieces in the 1990’s.

I wish I was more excited about meeting Dave Dorman, a fantasy/sci-fi painter whose art I really admired as a teenager. He did a lot of work for Dark Horse ComicsAliens comic book franchise… and we all know how I feel about Aliens. His painted illustrations for Aliens: Tribes set the bar for how I imagine those creatures. Earlier this year, Dorman made a couple of exceedingly strange statements with which I didn’t agree and they  soured my enthusiasm a bit about the painter. I suppose I should try to divorce my feelings about the artist from his art?

At any rate, I’m already starting to look forward to the weekend and tentatively planning on bringing Elliot and Henry.


 You all know I’m a fan of Gilmore Girls, right? The dramedy aired on various networks from 2000-2007 is a favorite, despite my possessing a fully functional set of male genitalia. The character interactions, the fast-paced dialogue, the soapy dramatic plotlines… I would never have pegged myself as a GG fan when it first hit the airwaves, but by God, I loved it later and miss it now.

As far as I’m concerned, GG creator Amy Sherman-Palladino has a lifetime pass from me. Any show she creates, I will check out. I cannot commit to watching those shows blindly (The Return of Jezebel James was a trainwreck I bailed on as quickly as the FOX network) but I will sample. So it is I found myself watching Bunheads on ABC Family this past Monday.

The show is even less male-friendly than GG, which I would have thought was mathematically impossible… but ASP found a way. It focuses (so far) on a small town dance studio. Bunheads features a lot of the hallmarks I so loved about Gilmore Girls. Quirky characters and lightning fast conversation peppered with pithy allusions to popular culture abound. The pilot episode takes an abrupt turn into maudlin in its’ final minutes, but there was enough to like about Bunheads to offer a tentative recommendation. I’ll be tuning in this Monday to see where it goes.