Category Archives: Friendly Neighbourhood Ramblings

Random Stuff.

Bad fanboy. Worse blogger.

Well, that didn’t work out as I had envisioned.

Reading over twenty books a week, staying current and writing something (from a certain point ANYTHING!) about every book turned out to be quite time consuming. Hell, it may have even lead to a minor bout of being burned out on comics. At this point I’m back in the wagon again, though perhaps at a somewhat healthier level. My pull list (fully digital, mind you) has shrunk down to seven monthly books, plus an odd number one issue here and there. Quite frankly, I can’t arse myself into reviewing these any more. Also, expressing my love for Saga, Locke & Key and The Walking Dead each month would grow old rather fast.

So that’s it then. It’s been fun. Is this blog dead? Practically, it absolutely is. Officially? Not quite yet…


(Though honestly it takes a lot of me not feel utterly pessimistic about even that vague notion. So don’t hold your breath. I sure won’t hold mine…)

I’m back: reviewing comic podcasts

Just to get the juices flowing and to ease back into the review game, this week I’m reviewing podcasts that are dedicated to comics. For years I’ve listened to requests for Itunes reviews from many a podcaster, but since I don’t use Itunes this never happened. Well, that has recently changed and finally I can meet this request. So here’s an overview   thoughts on some of my favorite podcasts. They all got five-star reviews from me at Itunes.

Hideous Energy
This podcast is the toast yo. Austin and David are friends that on one then more occasion kissed each other, sometimes hold hands and emotionally abuse one another. They are not gay however, but are perfectly fine with all kinds of gayety. Oh, and they like to talk about comics. Comics is the center topic of this podcast but, be prepared for discussions that happily flow miles, and miles off track, some fine absurdist humor, totally unfounded claims, unresearched journalism and a bunch of cock jokes. Whether you are interested in killing Giraffes, using fictitious drugs, listening to friends having a good time or just hearing about comics, this is one of the most entertaining comic podcasts out there.

Week after week for seven years now, Josh, Conner and Ron have reviewed the most recent comics. The Ifanboy pick of the week podcast is the number one resource for eloquent and well thought out reviews of comics, brought to you in a tight well produced format. Also, it doesn’t hurt that the hosts pack more than enough of the funny. The podcast offers views on indie darlings as well as big two blockbusters, all delivered through distinct personal voices of three very opinionated individuals (don’t be fooled by the preconception of Josh being the Vertigo guy, Ron the X-men guy and Conner the indie guy). Besides reviewing the latest Wednesday’s issues, the guys also review a book of the month on the podcast (which is almost always a trade paperback, hard cover or an original graphic novel), answer questions of the Ifanbase and feature some of the community feedback on comics. The experience, enthusiasm, and amount of thinking that the Ifanboys put in their podcast, makes it a cornerstone of the world of comics podcasting.

11 O’clock Comics
Four mikes. Four voices. Four laughs. Four drinks. Four tastes that can range quite far apart. This is the antithesis to the well-structured and tightly produced Ifanboy podcast. Here are four guys enjoying each other’s company and just letting it rip while talking comics. Sure there are a couple of recurring items (the introduction, the drink roll call and the ‘in your travels’ section), but mostly this is a free style form of comic podcasting. Surprisingly, with most episodes exceeding the two hour mark, listing to the ramblings of Vince B, friendly chuckles of David Price, analytic mind of Jason Woooooooooooood or the grumpy-when-drunk Christopher Neseman  never gets tired. Maybe this is because of the perfect blend of contemporary popular and indie comics spiced with splashes way back or because of the weird, absurd or even offensive material that Vince B brings to the table. A fact is that these gentlemen are very experienced comic readers and have a fine eye for the technical details (be it inking, lettering or coloring). Their recommendations have more than once led me to a more than satisfactory purchase and even more important they have provided hundreds of hours of entertainment.

Awesomed by Comics
Now this is a weird one, but a fun one. Hosted by the incredibly creative and talented couple of Evie Nagy and Aaron McQuade, this weekly-ish award show is like the Oscars, if Oscar was a podcast hosted by two journalists who just got a baby who therefore have little time left to spend on podcasting, however when they do get around to podcasting they are sure to make you laugh. Just like the Oscars Evie and Aaron each give out awards to comics and creators that they were awesomed by and some that they decidedly were not awesomed by. The comic reviewing is enriched by Evie’s quick wits and Aaron’s genuinely funny musical skits (Watching porn with Greg Land, anyone?). Sure, they may not be a weekly podcast anymore for the foreseeable feature, but when a new Awesomed by Comics MP3 file hits the internet, it’s pure comic book podcasting gold.

And now for a more local flavor, I will be switching to Dutch, because this is a Dutch podcast dedicated to the Dutch geek scene:

GeekStijl Insider
Neerland’s eigen podcast geweid aan alles wat met de geek cultuur te maken heeft. Comics, games, fantasy, toys, etc. Geekstijl schuwt geen onderwerp (een recente aflevering werd geweid aan mannelijke My Little Pony fans) en staat altijd open voor feedback of onderwerp suggesties. De presentatie ligt in handen van de bevlogen fanboys Arrie ten Wolde, John Lopez en Gert-Jan van Oosten. Dit strak geproduceerde en professioneel klinkende programma bevat behalve het laatste geeknieuws, wekelijks ook een comic aanrader en een interview met personen uit de Nederlandse geek-scene in de breedste zin. Niet alleen is het fijn om tussen het Amerikaanse podcast geweld ook eens een ander geluid te horen, maar de brede insteek van deze podcast is verfrissend te noemen in een tijd waarin iedere podcast zich op zijn eigen niche lijkt te gaan richten. Zo heb ik zelf als fervent comic liefhebber al menigmaal geboeid geluisterd naar voor mij verrassende praatjes over onderwerpen als bord- en kaartspellen.

Word Balloon
Host John Siuntres, the godfather of comic podcasting, describes his show as a comic book conversation podcast, in which he talks to the creators and all kinds of other people that work in or around the comic industry. With his insightful discussions John provides for a very interesting peek behind the curtains. Whether it’s recurring big shot guests like Brian Michal Bendis and Jeph Loeb or industry veterans like Martin Pasko and Neal Adams, John gets them all and has spent hours and hours of frank, friendly and above all entertaining discussions with them. Siuntres is an experienced radio maker, and this is evident from his radio friendly voice, which he has honed for years on local Chicago radio stations. His voice, together with his impressive roster of guests and the astute conversations he has with them makes this a veritable recommendation.

War Rocket Ajax
Another great comic book interview show, with a bit more format then say the Word Balloon podcast. Hosts Chris and Matt ostensibly want to destroy the earth through the awesomeness of their podcast. I’m not entirely sure they are succeeding, but at least they are producing some minor natural disasters around the world, and their awesomeness may actually contribute to global warming. Besides interesting guests from in and around the world of comics, this podcast is a monument to Chris’s love for cartoons (both the good, the bad and everything in between) and video games as well as (weirdly enough) his nostalgic love for the skater magazine Thrasher, from which he now and then lovingly recites letters.

That’s (more then) all the comic podcasting I have time to listen to. When my commute was longer I listened to these and the following, which I also highly recommend but do not listen to on a regular base:
Smodcast, Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier shooting shit together. Pretty funny, most of the time.
Hollywood Babble on, or HBO, Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman’s showbiz podcast, also spending a little attention to geek news. Guaranteed to make you laugh!
RadioLab, making difficult subjects understandable and relatable in a beautifully produced podcast.
MATES, or Mike and Tom Eat Snacks, for fresh insights into the world of snackology and the best improve comedy.

I hope somebody finds a usefull recommendation in this list. Next week I’ll be back to review every comic I have read. Allthough to be honest I don’t think it will be a particulalry long list (Au contraire)…

Soon, more Shaolin Cowboy!!!

I’ve been reading some comics here and there, but in lieu of any reviews, I just wanted to post some exciting news. Comics Alliance reports that Geoff Darrow is working hard at a new volume of Shaolin Cowboy, to be published through Darkhorse! Praise the Lord for this man’s uncanny skill at drawing and drawing ridiculously detailed.

No more regular updates for the following months

I started this blog 21 weeks ago and immensely enjoyed working on it and discovering more about what I like and what not. It has been a very enjoyable challenge to write something worthwhile about comics on a weekly basis.

Sadly, real life has come in the way of my managing this blog. so, for the foreseeable future I’ll only update sporadically. I hope to be back in weekly mode after (sigh…) another 21 weeks, and review EVERY #$&*@! comic that I read.

Avengers Trailer!!!

OMG!!! How weird is it to see Cap, Iron Man and Thor moving together in actual film footage!?!?!

This totally made my day, I’m glad I was still up to catch it!

Book of the week will be up quickly…

…just not tonight. My book of last week by the way was Ultimate Spider-man #2. It was really good. “How good?”, you may ask. Well, it made me go:

As for my reviews of this week, I have thus far read Wolverine. Debt of Death, The Red Wing #3 and Mystery Man #5. The DC reboot, as well as work related stuff have really made me fall behind on my comics. And I don´t think I´ll be getting caught up very quick. Ah, well at least I´ll have stuff to read. Hopefully tomorrow my review of USM2.


My Stripfestival Breda 2011 swag

Today, the whole family went to the city of Breda; wife and kid went clothes shopping; while I went to one of the Netherland’s biggest comic convention, the Stripfestival Breda. It was a great chance to meet people I had only known through the internet (Hello there, Gert-Jan van Oosten), as well as seeing some crazy talented creators in action, like Ian Churchill, Mark Schultz, Igor Kordey as well as the folks from smaller Dutch publishers DROP comics and Windmill comics. Of course, I also got some good swag:

I’m finally going to get balls deep into DROP comics, having bought all of their output: Sanguis #0, #1, #2 (premiered today at Breda), as well as ACE issues zero and one.  From Windmill comics I picked up Rotterdam’s own superhero: Captain Roffa, which came with a sweet, sweet sketch of Cable by Boykoesh. I also got two trades, which have been on my to-buy-list for a long time: the Authority book one and three. Lastly, I met this friendly Flamish guy Rob Croonenborghs who has recently published a U.S. comic through 215Ink: Jezus Hates Zombies. Like all the work at his table I looked at, it looks awesome and he gives away free sketches, with everything he sells. So he decorated my copy of Jezus Hates Zombies with a great sketch of Jezus versus Wolverine.

Oh, and to top it all of, when I got home I found that the first issue of Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors had arrived. Thanks dethfilm!

Expect reviews of all this stuff in the following weeks. Even though I had a really tight spending budget I had a great time at the Stripfestival, and if anyone who’s reading this gets a chance to go there tomorrow (sunday the 10th of September) I highly recommend them to go there. If not to buy comics, then to meet some very talented and likable people!

Overview of this week and real life Super Dinosaur!

A great week of comics reading this week, to give it a tease here’s the listing of what I’ve read and the order in which I liked it:

1. Chew #9                                                                                                                                         9.3
2. Chew #10                                                                                                                                      8.8
3. Red Skull Incarnate #1                                                                                                           8.5
4. Sweet tooth #23                                                                                                                        8.3
5. Gladstone’s school for World Conquerors #3                                                                  8
6. Mystery Men #3                                                                                                                            8
7. Detective Comics #880                                                                                                              8
8. Super Dinosaur #3                                                                                                                    7.9
9. League of Gentleman. Century: 1969                                                                               7.8
10. FF #5                                                                                                                                            7.5
11. Kirby Genesis #2                                                                                                                     7.5
12. FF #6                                                                                                                                            7.5
13.Rocketeer Adventures #3                                                                                                    7.3
14. Flashpoint: Abin Sur #2                                                                                                       6.8
15. Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the creatures of the unknown #2                        6.5

Not a lot of this week’s releases, but I enjoyed myself greatly with the comics I read, on average I rated my books 7.8. Review will be up tomorrow, but for now let me share with you the greatest picture I have seen all week. Despite the great art on many books I’ve read, I extremely liked this photo of Robert Kirkman and a real life Super Dinosaur holding hands from super Dinosaur 3. It’s not everyday we see a fictional character and his creator walking down the street. Enjoy:

Robert Kirkman and Super Dinosaur holding hands, from Super Dinosaur #3

Robert Kirkman and Super Dinosaur holding hands, from Super Dinosaur #3

Reading few comic books, loving the new Spider-man actor

I’m sorry to say that I didn’t get a lot of comic reading done this week. Here’s the problem: On a regular week, I stay at home to care for my four months old daughter at least two days. On these days I find myself frequently stuck on the couch while bottle feeding her. That’s when I get most of my reading done nowadays. However, the last week and a half my wife stayed at home because she was sick, all the while breast-feeding the baby and letting me get to my work…. So while I got a lot of things done last week, reading comics was put on the back burner…

Keeping that in mind I’m still very glad to have found the time to have read DC’s cosmic crossover from the late ’80’s Cosmic Odyssee, the Walking Dead 87, Daredevil 1, a biography comic about Stephen King, Screamland 2 from Image and the first issue of the most recent arc of Locke and Key: Clockworks… Reviews will be up shortly.

To make up for my straggling comic reading I offer a video of my favourite news coming out of Sandiego Comic Con this weekend. While I was excited by lots of stuff like the Eisners, Brian K. Vaugh’s return to comics, DC preview art from the upcoming reboot and the trailer of the second season of the Walking Dead television series. The following video of an apparent lifelong comic fan rushing the stage just before the panel of the new Spider-man movie left me with a warm feeling and got me pumped for the new film like nothing else I had seen up till now. Enjoy and see you shortly: