So hey, I took a week off. It was Sunday, I guess--we'd been busy all weekend, running around buying shit that we needed (plus a Philadelphia Eagles cap--it's almost time!) and going to see Ratatouille (short review: very pretty, fairly good fun, but what was up with that sour grapes "criticism is ultimately meaningless in the face of any attempt at producing art" ending?). When I finally finished all this, I sat down to look at the blogosphere and realized, "Oh shit--this weekend was the San Diego convention. Now I'll need to spend another two hours just getting caught up. And that's just for the news--there's also the commentary on the news. Let's see what [name redacted] has to say. Oh, that's predictable, not very funny, and, frankly, a little depressing. Why do I bother with his/her blog anyway? Has this blog actually gotten worse since I started this blog? Have other blogs declined as well? Maybe I should go play Resident Evil 4 (Wii version) or the new Guitar Hero or something."
So I took a week off--not just from writing on this blog, but from reading any and all comics news (with one exception--I checked out Jog's shipping-this-week post). Here's the condensed version of what I would have normally wrote last week:
1. 90s Part Five: I started reading comics again, after I realized that I could just special order things from my local store that they were generally too chicken to buy for the shelf. (EDIT: This might be a bit uncharitable; I'll elaborate later.) Then they started buying these sorts of comics for the shelf, knowing that I probably would buy them. And I did, until I marched off to the land of eternal adolescence known as graduate school. Then I started reading comics again a few years ago--but that's the 00s, not the 90s. (I might flesh this out later this week.)
2. Multiple Warheads was very good. I have no idea what the online critical response has been (this statement also applies to the proceeding two items), but one might describe it as something like Grant Morrison and Victor Moscoso collaborating on a comic to be serialized in 2000 AD, which has a new editor who commissioned the strip as part of his hazy plan to take the magazine in a more manga-ish direction. I hate reviews that consist of nothing but comparisons to other comics, but that's kind of what I thought when I read it. Seriously, Morrison fans who are primarily fans of "batshit crazy ideas" Morrison should seek this out immediately.
3. I read a bit of the first issue of Comics Introspective, which is entirely devoted to Peter Bagge. There's way, way too much of the interviewer in there (really now, do we need his thoughts on when the Smashing Pumpkins sold out? Is this some meta-joke, given that the Hate aesthetic was kind of the antithesis of this sort of thing?), but Bagge fans will definitely want to buy it for the copious illustrations (much (most?) of it previously unpublished). From what I recall of Comic Book Artist, I don't think its Bagge-centered issue will be redundant at all. These seem like two very different approaches.
4. Left over from a few weeks ago: I seem to like The Order better than most. This looks to be an examination of how superheroes would work in Los Angeles (Fraction quoted Mike Davis, for Chrissakes!), which seems like a fairly promising premise. I don't expect an X-Statix/X-Force rehash here--Fraction's too smart for that. I think he's more interested in exploring the idea of heroism in the Hollywood/LA milieu--the recovering alcoholic character is going to be emblematic of that approach, I suspect. Also, Barry Kitson's art has never looked better, and I'm not really a Kitson fan.
5. I bought a KitchenAid stand mixer for the incredibly low price of $65. I used it in two applications this weekend. (1) Cookies: I can make cookies with our hand mixer (a hand-me-down from my wife's deceased grandmother), but this was much faster and much, much, much cleaner. It also seemed to distribute the sugar a little better, making the cookies (peanut butter, FWIW) a bit crisper than normal. (2) Focaccia bread: I'd never tried to make focaccia at home before, but I needed a quick recipe that would allow me to test the dough hook. This turned out very well--I'm convinced the stand mixer kneads dough better than my bread machine. Here is the recipe, if anyone is interested. My advice: go easy on the salt for the topping, do use corn meal to dust the bottom (file that under "duh"), and be prepared for a bake time more along the lines of 20-25 minutes. It's a nice recipe, I think.
I'd obviously like to use the mixer to make a cake, but my wife doesn't like cake. Yes--my wife does not like cake, especially chocolate cake. Yes--especially chocolate cake. It seems wrong to me too. But she's going out of town in about a week, so maybe I'll do some cake-baking then. Maybe I'll even try that avocado frosting Alton Brown made on that one episode of Good Eats--my wife is allergic to avocados, so it'll be like double forbidden food or something.
6. Greg Burgas, did you ask that question at the Dark Horse panel? Let me know.
...And that's really it. There are probably other debates raging in blogs out there that I haven't been reading, but I don't know about them yet. The only thing I've read today was Blogarama (Chris Mautner's new column--good idea), and that just today's posts and Graeme McMillan's week in review. So if I'm a little late in responding to a stale controversy, please remember that I spent last week shooting zombies and testing expensive kitchen equipment.