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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Narnia DVD Deal, Kids Comics, and Another Writing Gig

The wife and I were in "the City" (Oklahoma City, for those who don't live in Western Oklahoma) last Monday and Tuesday, and stumbled onto a great deal for the Chronicles of Narnia dvd at Lifeway Christian Bookstore. What it boils down to is you get to buy the $29.99 dvd for $19.99, and get a $5.00 savings card to spend on anything in the store. So, basically, you're actually getting the dvd for $15.00. Half-price is good with me. Click here for the deal. I should mention that this is NOT the collector's edition.

Ok, while in the City, I couldn't resist dragging the poor woman to a couple of comics shops. See, even though I've managed to "hook" her on some four-color fare, she still doesn' t really care to hang out in the bat cave. By the way, she's added a book to her must-read category: Fantastic Four...that is, the ones done by Mark Waid and Mike Weiringo. I've been picking up the trades, and I continue her indoctrination! Mwahahahahahahahah!!

Ahem. Anyhoo, it was actually she who pointed out to me what a great job Atomik Pop and Atomic Comics were doing in establishing a kids' comics section in their stores. We were both very impressed with the selection. Super hero, manga, Archie, Disney, fantasy, and other good stuff! Now, if only all of the OTHER comics shops in the nation would follow suit. That, and get the scantily-clad, disproportioned renderings of women off of the walls. (Not that I noticed such in either of the stores mentioned, but believe me, plenty of others have them.) Can we talk about continuing to foster the image of comic fans as something very akin to the comics shop owner in The Simpsons? Because that's what those store owners are doing.

Speaking of which, I recently wrote a review of Comics Buyer's Guide, in which I praised their subscription rate as being a great deal; at around 50% off, what else can you call it? I also stated that I was about to take advantage of it, myself. Alas, I found a pitfall. The newest issue on the stands, as of last week, was of Red Sonja, nearly wearing her chainmail bikini. Ok, I suppose she was actually wearing it, though, if you'd seen the cover, you'd understand my doubts. Well, as a pastor, I decided I'd rather not have the local postmaster wondering why I receive such fare. Call me a prude or a worrywart if you like, but I feel better that way.

Lastly, I fell into another writing gig for a new website called Komikazee. I'll be providing a regular-to-semi-regular column on my opinions on goings on in the comics industry, historical tidbits, some loose review material, etc., etc. A couple of the columns are already up, so feel free to zip over there and take a look.

I'm just thrilled someone actually ASKED me for my opinion.

Graphic Classics: Arthur Conan Doyle/$11.95 & 144 pgs. from Eureka Productions


It's elementary, my dear Watson, that Sherlock Holmes was the greatest accomplishment of author Arthur Conan Doyle. But this world-renown sleuth was not Doyle's only successful creation. Graphic Classics: Arthur Conan Doyle (GCACD) is an anthology of his short stories adapted into comics, and, as is true with all anthologies, with varied results. At the least, it again brings attention to an ongoing debate among comics fans. What is more important in this artform, art or story?

GCACD is loaded with dialogue and caption. The adaptations are written for "adults, yet [are] accessible to children ages twelve and up". That means that instead of it taking the ten minutes needed to read most comics, you will enjoy a long and satisfying experience with this collection.

As is true with all anthologies, the quality of art varies as well. Almost all of the styles represented here lean to abstraction and minimalism, but that isn't a bad thing in and of itself. Indeed, most readers will find an entertaining mix of art that will tweak their interest. Artists Rick Geary, John W. Pierard and Nick Miller are standouts among a crowd of accomplished peers in this collection.

Particularly fun is a story of romance war as told by Brigadier Gerard, one of Doyle's memorable characters. Gerard is an old windbag whose exaggerated stories are accepted and enjoyed by listeners who wink as he speaks. One suspects that, despite his words, Gerard never fired a shot.

(Before it's forgotten, the answer to the earlier question is neither. Great comics are a seamless marriage of art and story in which neither is conspicuous to a reader.)

This anthology is recommended for people who like to read and look. Aavailable at comics shops & www.graphicclassics.com.

Michael Vance