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Friday, January 06, 2006

Major Terrorist Plot Stopped By Italian Anti-Terrorist Operation - But Not Covered By U.S. Media

Three men were arrested in Italy for planned attacks targeting "stadiums, ships and railway stations" in the U.S. It ran as front-page news in newspapers all over the world. But not here. Why is that? Well, this article claims that it would upset attempts to vilify President Bush for NSA wire-tapping activities, which was the tactic Italian authorities used to crack this case. I don't know what the reason is, but it does seem strange that such a story received precious little coverage here at home.
This dovetails into thoughts I had on what I was reading last night; namely, an introduction to Oni Press' Queen & Country: Declassified, by Micah Wright, a former U.S. Airborne Ranger and writer of Sponge Bob Square-Pants as well as Stormwatch, a comic published by D.C. subsidiary Wildstorm. Wright wrote about East Germany before the Wall came down, with it's leadership encouraging citizens to inform on fellow employees, friends, even family, if they held any anti-communist beliefs. I grew frustrated when he began to refer to the U.S. birthing it's own "Stasi," with citizens spying on each other for "the State." Micah doesn't like the Patriot Act. Well, I don't like some aspects of it, myself. But, as a nation, we are FAR from the East Germany of the past, and I don't believe that's where we're heading.
Those with Wright's point of view cast an image of this country in which we are each probably being spied on by our government; and if we aren't, we certainly WILL be, soon. As if the government's wire-tapping activities are completely "willy-nilly," pointless, and all over the place. I don't believe that, and the above account of terrorist attacks against the U.S. stopped by the very means Wright disapproves of would seem to support their careful, focused use.

Gravity, published by Marvel Comics, 32 pages, $2.99.

Greg Willis is moving to New York from Wisconsin, to begin his freshman year in college, and his super hero career. You see, ever since a mysterious accident gave Greg the power to control the force of gravity, he's had a "B" in his bonnet to make the super-dude scene. However, he has no idea what he's doing, and he's already ticked off a pretty scary bad guy. That's as of the second issue. I only managed to pick up the first two at the local comics shop. Let's see if they justify buying the rest of the five-issue series.
Writer Sean McKeever pens a tale that places a small-town kid in the big city to make his mark. While this has been seen in other media, I'm not sure it's been done in super hero comics. And, while those who have been reading about super heroes for a while have probably seen some of the dumb mistakes made by the "new guys," McKeever seems to bring a fresh perspective to the situation, with some pretty solid characterization and humor resulting. So, we're off to a good start.
Mike Norton's art work is clean, uncluttered and action-oriented. Norton also has a knack for giving the main character expressions that really make the reader believe he's a hayseed (That's a term of affection; I'm a hayseed, myself.) enjoying his first stay in the Big Apple. The art is crisp, expressive, and just downright fun to look at. Nothing wrong here.
So, given the chance, I'll pick up the rest of the series. Those who enjoy super hero adventure coupled with good characterization and great art might want to do the same. See your local
comics shop, or an online retailer or auction site.

Review by Mark Allen

Theodor Seuss Geisel: The Early Works of Dr.Seuss, Volume 1/$22.95, 170 pgs. from Checker Publishing

You wont find green eggs or ham
Or elephants perched
on loaves of Spam
Or grinches with pockets full
(stolen without a single tool!)
of stolen holiday joy, my boy

What you will find inside the terrific new book reviewed below is a world full of imagination, a gentle wink, and a unique style of word and art from master cartoonist, Dr. Seuss.

Dr. Seuss?!? But Seuss wasn't really a cartoonist, you object. He wrote children's books like Green Eggs and Ham with that famous Cat In the Hat and Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are.

Sure he was; he even produced a short-lived comic strip (Hejj, King Features, 1935) that isn't reprinted in the marvelous first volume of Theodor Seuss Geisel: The Early Works of Dr.Seuss.

Say that isn't true, Mr. McGoo!

Settle down, chum; this is only volume one!

What this fat collection does offer is Seuss' work in political cartoons, as a satirist, and in advertising before he wrote his world reknown children's books. It includes such esoteric material as This is Ann, a malaria prevention pamphlet that Seuss produced for American troops during WWII, and an advertising campaign created for Atlas motor parts.

It also offers material that Seuss created for magazines including Judge, Liberty, and PM, and the first book he illustrated, The Pocket Book of Boners.

Some of this material has never been collected or reprinted, an amazing fact since this man Seuss sold over 500 million books worldwide and continues to entertain and educate new gen-erations of children.

Although you'll enjoy Seuss' distinctive art (seemingly always done with pen firmly in cheek), you wont find his quirky verse in this volume. Nevertheless, this collection receives the highly recommended.

Sold at comics and book stores and at

Michael Vance