Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I dream of...Rush?

Last night I dreamed I was sitting at a dining room table, covered with dishes filled to the brim with delicious foods. The dining room seemed very familiar, much like my family's dining room from Rocky Mountain House. Prominently seated at the table was Rush Limbaugh.

I was very nervous about his presence, concerned that a conversation about politics would come up, but he seemed to regard me with some favour, as though he were an old uncle. However, he would sharply criticize my ability to serve food from the dishes.

Also seated at the table was a woman who Limbaugh was trying to offer a job at Fox News. When she politely declined he began screaming at her and threatened to send her to prison.

I don't know what this dream means, but Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

September ends with a bang: witness the Marvel Mystery Handbook!

Tomorrow is release day for the Marvel Mystery Handbook, not just the latest Marvel Handbook project I designed but, in my opinion, the greatest; it has some fabulous content and even new artwork which is always a treat! Check out the solicitation here!

Also in stores tomorrow is Volume 10 of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe hardcover series and the Wolverine: Weapon X Files trade paperback. That's a pretty full day for me!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Barack the Barbarian#2: where satire meets slapstick

Looking over the second issue of Barack the Barbarian, I still marvel that this is a limited series, rather than a one shot. As I said of the first issue, there is definitely some humour to be mined from casting Conan fan Obama into the role of a barbarian and reenacting his road to the White House as a Conan-style farce, but after you've laughed at the concept once, how does the humour sustain itself?

I suppose I should have remembered that writer Larry Hama is a veteran writer/editor of Crazy Magazine, so he does have a sense of humour beyond the "metafive" of Obama as Conan; for instance, the post-ice age interpretation of basketball:

As to the political satire? It's still about as subtle as Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems.

This month, Barack journeys into the Labyrinth of Pundits. To cross the threshold, one must answer a riddle from a Sphinx. Barack's Sphinx bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain toothy late night host:

By simply offering his opinion on sports, Barack gets in. Meanwhile, the Old Warrior faces a Sphinx who offers him a low-ball question ("Who's buried in Grant's tomb?") and Red Sarah refuses to answer her Sphinx's question, bluffing and bragging her way into the labyrinth.

Venturing into the Labyrinth of Pundits, we see an amusing series of send-ups of TV pundits, starting with Mo Doubt and continuing on to Choler (Choler: "It means rage!" Barack: "It can also mean diarrhea.")

We continue on to the Tweedledee/Tweedledum duo of Libbow and Billow and the stinky Nose-Pin Sean. If it sounds as though the right-wing take all the lumps in this book, I hasten to add that the lefties get a few jabs; witness, Ubermensch and Rake-Hell:

I still have reservations about the length of this series - in fact, I have no idea how long Devil's Due intends to run it. But Hama breaks out some funny lines and Christopher Schons' loose art is well-suited to the caricatures he unleashes. We'll see how it develops in the end.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fall of Hulks begins in December



M.O.D.O.K. The Leader. Mad Thinker. Egghead. Red Ghost and the Super-Apes. Doctor Doom. They make up the secret group who have analyzed every victory and every defeat in the Marvel Universe to create the perfect battle plan that results in FALL OF THE HULKS! The origins and shocking truths of some of Marvel's most dangerous villains are revealed as the biggest HULK EVENT yet begins! From fan-favorite creators JEFF PARKER (AGENTS OF ATLAS) and PAUL PELLETIER (WAR OF KINGS) comes this tale of the “Smartest There Is” and their quest to prove it, once and for all. 32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99

Under normal circumstances I only promote comics in advance which I had a hand in producing. However, I have a few reasons for promoting this comic:

  1. It's the beginning of the next big Hulk crossover and ever since Greg Pak took the reigns of the Hulk franchise it's been extremely well done.
  2. Two words: Jeff Parker.
  3. Well, maybe a few more words; Parker is one of my favorite writers in the business right now, from Agents of Atlas to Interman to Marvel Adventures Avengers to Exiles to X-Men: First Class, he's one of the best talents in editor Mark Paniccia's stable of creators (and I have high regard for Paniccia's acquisitions). From the hilarity of "Doom, Where's My Car?" to the espionage of the Interman, he brings a great game to the business.
  4. Then there's Paul Pelletier, whose style is pleasantly similar to Alan Davis (in my opinion, one of the all-time top talents) and has brought excellent artwork to books like Exiles and War of Kings. Always a pleasure to see him.
  5. Oh yeah...although I didn't produce this book, I helped proofread it. If you consider yourself a potential customer, let me assure you: it has more faces than Dr. Lao, more soul than Soul Train and more Wizard-ry than the Wizard of Oz. Plan to buy it.

That is all.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Kidnapped: softcover coming!

This December, celebrate Christmas with the softcover edition of Kidnapped!


Written by ROY THOMAS (based on the novel by ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON) Penciled by MARIO GULLY Cover by GERALD PAREL

A STOLEN INHERITANCE! ABDUCTION AT SEA! AN UNSOLVED MURDER: These are the elements that Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island, wove together in Kidnapped, his novel set upon the ocean and in the wilds of the Scottish Highlands in the middle of the 18th century. Young David Balfour tries to claim his rightful inheritance from a treacherous uncle determined not to share it—and is kidnapped aboard a ship bound for the American colonies, where he’ll be delivered into slavery. He escapes in the company of a dynamic Scottish rebel named Alan Breck Stewart, and the two of them forge a powerful and memorable friendship—fighting all foes side by side, and triumphing in the end. Collecting KIDNAPPED! #1-5. 128 PGS./Rated T+ ...$14.99 ISBN: 978-0-7851-3532-6

Friday, September 25, 2009

Index in December


Continuing the chronicle of the Marvel Universe, starting with Spider-Man (from AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #501 on), Iron Man (from IRON MAN #1 (2005) on) and the X-Men (from UNCANNY X-MEN #465 on). Follow the history of the Marvel universe as it unfolds month by month with the All-New Official Index to the Marvel Universe. Each issue provides synopses for dozens of individual comics, including back-up strips, introducing you to the characters, teams, places and equipment that appeared within, providing vital information about first appearances, where they last showed up and where they appeared next! 64 PGS./Rated A …$3.99

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Love Atlas Comics #7: "From Out of the Past!"

From my tattered copy of Astonishing#49 (1956), a tale of dinosaur bones, museums and comeuppance: three great tastes that go great together.

We look in on a trio of university paleontologists who are waxing about their superiority over men of the past. They regard some of man's past accomplishments such as his "stirring adventures" (and envision a caveman fighting a sabertooth tiger), "pomp and pagentry" (two knights jousting) "and even great romances" (Cyrano de Bergerac). "But they lacked knowledge! Our specialty, paleontology...the collection and classification of fossils, lay far beyond their wildest dreams!" Indeed, "...if any fool needs convincing...let him walk through the museum halls where our superb handiwork is spread out for him to behold!"

Why, the egotistical braggarts! I always knew palaeontologists had less character than a Wall Street banker! But the story continues: a fellow from a dig produces a new fossil fragment, which one of the palaeos dismisses as "a piece of our old brontosaurus friend!" with such cool detachment you'd think he was the one who murdered the old beast. And so the dig continues to see if more fossils can be found in that spot. I do hope the piece they found was the intercostal clavicle.

At any rate, the men dig while the palaeontologists relax. click to enlarge

Why those smug little...! Now they're looking down on the working class! When the revolution comes, these three will be the first against the wall! I'm sorry, the only way they could possibly receive any comeuppance is if this dig somehow unearths something so mind-blowing that it puts their own world to shame!

Sure enough, the working men do find something and call the palaeos down. They found more bones, yes, but more than that, they found... click to enlarge

Well I'll be O. Henry! What a humbling, albeit lucrative, discovery. So what have we learned today children, if nothing else? That's right, neanderthals make the best palaeontologists.

In all seriousness, I do agree with the core philosophy of this quick little tale, similar to that of History Bites' Rick Green - that times may change but people do not and that one day future generations will have cause to ridicule us. ...For inventing the Brontosaurus, for one thing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Parting thoughts on Wednesday Comics

Wednesday Comics#12 came out today, bringing to an end the 12-part weekly series DC Comics has experimented with; as described earlier, each issue featured a single-page DC adventure hero story serialized in the fashion of an old newspaper comic strip and published at newsprint sizes. Here's my thoughts on the 12 strips of Wednesday Comics:

* * *

Batman This was just a crime story with a little Batman in it, but it was fine, lovely art by Eduardo Risso.

* * *

Kamandi the Last Boy on Earth The story was typical but the actual storytelling was gorgeous; Ryan Sook's art was beautiful and the Prince Valiant-style captions were classy.

* * *

Superman In which Superman mopes about for a few weeks feeling sorry for himself then gets over it. Maybe John Arcudi originally wrote this story for Spider-Man?

* * *

Deadman David Bullock is not a name I was familiar with before so, crown me fool; he's excellent, combining some of my favorite aspects of Jack Kirby's art with Bruce Timm's. He turned in a great high adventure story about Deadman battling demons and did it with panache.

* * *

Green Lantern I can't get too worked up about a character like Green Lantern but this was fine for what it was. I'm not certain whether the story was best told in this format, it feels like a 12-page story done in installments.

* * *

Metamorpho I started out loving this strip but writer Neil Gaiman played it too cutesy throughout; a couple of gags about 60s comics can be fun, but he ran it into the ground. Still, there's a lot to love about Mike Allred's art and Gaiman did deliver him a lot of great visual moments, notably the two-week trip across the table of elements in which Metamorpho transformed himself into each element.

* * *

Teen Titans I have friends who defend this strip because they have a lot of regard for Sean Galloway. Fair enough. That doesn't excuse Eddie Berganza's story, which doesn't simply suggest an inability to write in the format but an inability to write in the medium. The Titans seem to have around 10 members but most of them go weeks at a time without appearing, then suddenly jump into the story between panels. The main villain Trident is apparently supposed to be someone Titans fans would know but then turns out to be someone else altogether and...why did I bother reading this tripe?

* * *

Strange Adventures I've had limited exposure to Paul Pope's work, but this strip convinced me to change my ways. This strip starred Adam Strange in a fast-paced action story that somehow found time for a Dr. Fate guest appearance. I loved everything about it.

* * *

Supergirl I can't believe this became one of my favorite strips! Jimmy Palmiotti's simple story has the super-pets Krypto and Streaky embarking on a series of rampages as they act like disobedient pets (only with super powers). Poor Supergirl has to help her friends and enlists Aquaman and Dr. Mid-Nite along the way. The real star is Amanda Conner whose art was just gosh-darn adorable.

* * *

Metal Men This seemed like a very familiar Metal Men story, what with their number one foe Chemo showing up and most of them being destroyed (don't panic, they always come back). It started out as the Metal Man foiling a bank robbery and seemed like it would be a little more fun than it ultimately was; though we readers put no stock in the Metal Men's lives, writer Dan Didio weighed the story down with their sacrifices. Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez turned in some fine art.

* * *

Wonder Woman I gave up on this strip on week two because the work of trying to read it wasn't reciprocated by the entertainment I derived from it. While many creators used the unusual format of Wednesday Comics to blow the art up to mammoth sizes, Ben Caldwell tried to squeeze about four pages on each and it was just too much of a slog trying to make out his tiny panels and discern what reading order was the correct one. I did like the apparent Little Nemo in Slumberland references though. Now that it's over, I guess I'll do the work of trying to read them together.

* * *

Sgt. Rock A fairly typical story of Sgt. Rock fighting Nazis. I'm not sure why Joe Kubert needed his son Adam to write it; surely after 50 years he can write this stuff in his sleep?

* * *

The Flash With Supergirl, this was a fine surprise. Karl Kerschl and Brendan Fletcher played around with the format every week in Flash, turning in homages to soap opera strips, Tarzan, Modesty Blaise, Blondie and even Peanuts, if you can believe it. This was simply a fun super-hero strip each week and it should be interesting to read it together as a whole.

* * *

The Demon and Catwoman This was a slight story but it was all in good fun. Catwoman and the Demon fight his old enemy Morgaine Le Fay and...that's about it.

* * *

Hawkman I don't know what to make of this strip. There's something very off-kilter about the dialogue which suggests that Baker was either trying to mock the super-hero genre (as he did before in Plastic Man) or write it for a kids audience (as a former Tiny Toons creator, he knows something of that). What I do know is that he needs to cut back on the photoshop.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Out tomorrow: Pet Avengers TPB

Tomorrow sees the release of the Pet Avengers Classic TPB. It's a fine collection of stories featuring Marvel Pets like Lockjaw, Zabu, Niels and Lockheed! It's not actually one of my books but I helped gather material for its publication so I give it my recommendation. If Marvel Pets are your thing, grab a copy!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

More considerations about Golgo 13

It seems to me that in fiction where the protagonist is a hitman that he tends to follow a certain arc, from stone cold killer to genuine hero. At some point the hitman encounters someone who makes him reconsider his position; even prior to this encounter, we already see that the killer has his own code which renders him a little human to our eyes. Then we see Philip Raven changed by a pretty face; Leon changed by caring for an orphaned girl; Martin Blank changed by true love; even Frank Martin has a sense of moral outrage.

Since my post about the first volume of Viz's Golgo 13 collections, I've read another six volumes and I'm here to tell you: Golgo 13 does not follow these patterns. It's certainly understandable - most of the films mentioned above were intended as a single story (in two, the lead dies after his epiphany, what Ebert calls the Deadly Change of Heart), while Golgo 13 is a serial which has had to endure 40 years of tales. But Golgo 13 is not a particularly heroic hitman. His own code goes like this: he will kill anyone for money; he will see a job through to the end (ie, he will not cheat an employer); he will kill only the assigned target (and anyone else who tries to kill him); he will seek revenge if someone double crosses him.

If that sounds like someone capable of performing despicable deeds, well, go to the head of the class. Among other things, we learn that Golgo 13 shot Dodi al-Fayed in the head shortly before his limo crashed on August 31, 1997 ("English Rose," Golgo 13 Vol.4). click to enlarge

What a gentleman, eh? Then again, some people like him; Golgo 13 turns out to be an old acquaintence of Nelson Mandela (they spent some time in the pokey together), which proves helpful when Mandela needs help to prevent a coup ("Power to the People," Golgo 13 Vol.3). click to enlarge

Part of what makes these Golgo 13 stories so interesting to me is the "current events" nature of the storytelling. Golgo 13 rubs elbows with all sorts of contemporary figures and winds up figuring in several major events. We learn what he was up to during the Tiananmen Massacre, for instance ("Hydra," Golgo 13 Vol.2). We also see Golgo 13 head into outer space to meddle with the Apollo-Soyuz mission ("The Orbital Hit," Golgo 13 Vol.4), prevent a nuclear plant meltdown in California ("Wasteland," Golgo 13 Vol.10) and halt an attempted coup on Okinawa - without killing anyone ("Okinawa Syndrome," Golgo 13 Vol.11)!

Which is not to say that every Golgo 13 story is "ripped from the headlines." Some are simply crime stories such as "Headhunter" (Golgo 13 Vol.9), in which a businessman is murdered and his father tries to find the identity of his killer so that he can hire Golgo 13 to finish him off. In "the Wrong Man" (Golgo 13 Vol.11), a hapless salesman finds himself mistaken for Golgo 13 and like something from a Hitchcock film is able to string his "employers" along and rather enjoys the respect that comes from being a notorious killer...until they send him on a job to kill a garage full of armed men! click to enlarge

The stories often present Golgo 13 as a force of nature, not a man. The focus is usually kept on other characters in the cast - the people who hire him, the people targeted for death at his hands, people just swept up in the chaos around him; sometimes a story will be more than halfway over before Golgo makes an entrance. We care for the supporting characters, not Golgo, which is how they're able to keep bringing him back without humanizing him to the point where he'd have to reform like the Hollywood hitmen I listed above. Still, one story does force Golgo to grow a conscience when he discovers that his vast personal fortune from decades of assassinations is being used to fund oil drilling ("A Fierce Southern Current," Golgo 13 Vol.3). click to enlarge

Comparisons were often made between Golgo 13 and James Bond; I think it's interesting that since Daniel Craig took over as Bond we've seen the film version come closer to Golgo - the last two Bond films were certainly more intense and violent than usual. I don't recommend Golgo 13 to everyone, but the adventures of an unrepentant, unstoppable hitman interest you then he's the man.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Free is no longer free

Well, I suppose things must be rough when the libraries start charging money not simply to borrow, but to simply use their collections. And behind that is the threat of charging money to browse a collection. That's what the University of Toronto is proposing. There will always be public libraries and ebook sources for the budget-minded, but I know that academic collections - especially one such as U of T's - contain so many hard-to-find materials, that this just can't be a good thing to the academic community. I understand that libraries need to keep an eye on the bottom line, especially these days, but taking information out of the hands of the people simply never ends well.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Another look at Warlord of Io

I spoke about the comic Warlord of Io and Other Stories before and described its unlucky fate due to shifting standards over at Diamond; I also described how I recently met James Turner and obtained a rare copy of his second story, simply titled Warlord of Io#1. This time, I'll discuss the most recent work. click to embiggen

Warlord of Io#1 contains the story begun in Warlord of Io and Other Stories. The well-meaning Zing has recently been appointed emperor of Io by his father and hopes to bring about sweeping reforms to impress his friend Moxy Comet. We pick up the story as Zing, Moxy and Zing's bodyguard Urk visit Tne, the wise old tree. Unfortunately, the military of Io are none too pleased by Zing's plan to cut their budget and are even now preparing a coup. Zing, Moxy and Urk must rely upon their wits...and on the stupidity of their opponents. more hilarious if you click to enlarge

While the first issue was largely set-up, this time out Turner brings an all-out action issue set at a breezy pace as Zing applies video game logic to every crisis, important lessons are learned about Bobbleheds, Dazbog deletes Plotka as a Spacebook friend and Moxy learns why you shouldn't recharge your cell phone. Plus, the Encyclopedia feed from the previous story returns. Turner emphasized to me that (like the "director's commentary" in Rex Libris#1) it should really be ignored on the first read-through, it's meant to enhance repeated reading experiences.

There's a lot going on in the background of this story, from the wonderful cityscapes and creatures Turner designed to repeated references to the heroic Jon Jett, who is clearly being set up for a later appearance (or running gag). I think perhaps Turner's Hunter-Killer Cyclopbot could put it best: "Prodigious comic book! Luck astronomical! Fortune favors Warlord of Io readers!"

You can obtain a pdf copy of Warlord of Io#1 from Slave Labor Graphics.

Friday, September 11, 2009

You like lists? I like lists too! We should hang out.

I recently ran across a copy of the films listed in Halliwell's Top 1000, an immense list supposedly collecting the 1,000 greatest films (published in 2005). It's actually more than 1,000 films and it's debatable whether they are the greatest. Roger Ebert will tell you not to put too much stock in these lists, but I still couldn't help but be interested. I've republished the list below, with the films I've seen in italics.

1 Tokyo Story
2 Rules of the Game (La Regle du Jeu)
3 Lawrence of Arabia
4 The Godfather, Godfather Part II & Godfather Part III
5 Seven Samurai
6 Citizen Kane
7 Raging Bull
8 Vertigo
9 Some Like It Hot
10 8 1/2
11 Dr Strangelove
12 Singin' in the Rain
13 Taxi Driver
14 The Searchers
15 The Seventh Seal
16 Sweet Smell of Success
17 Sunset Boulevard
18 The Third Man
19 Apu Trilogy: Pather Panchali, Aparajito & the World of Apu
20 Children of Paradise (Les Enfants du Paradis)
21 The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie
22 Andrei Rublev
23 The Passion of Joan of Arc
24 Viridiana
25 Toy Story
26 Rashomon
27 Wild Strawberries
28 To Be or Not to Be
29 Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
30 Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, Two Towers & Return of the King
31 2001 - A Space Odyssey
32 The Battle of Algiers
33 Alexander Nevsky
34 Belle de Jour
35 Casablanca
36 Goodfellas
37 Tristana
38 The Magnificent Ambersons
39 Breaking the Waves
40 Sullivan's Travels
41 Frankenstein
42 Battleship Potemkin
43 Double Indemnity
44 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
45 Weekend
46 Jules and Jim
47 Breathless (A Bout de Souffle)
48 Bonnie and Clyde
49 Wings of Desire
50 Fitzcarraldo
51 If
52 The Wild Bunch
53 The Red Shoes
54 Annie Hall
55 Tom Jones
56 On the Waterfront
57 West Side Story
58 Saturday Night And Sunday Morning
59 The Grapes of Wrath
60 Great Expectations
61 The Leopard
62 Schindler's List
63 Ashes and Diamonds
64 A Nous La Liberte
65 Antoine Doinel Tetralogy: The 400 Blows, Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board & Love on the Run
66 Mr Smith Goes to Washington
67 Monsieur Hulot's Holiday
68 Laurel & Hardy short films
69 Chinatown
70 Star Wars, the Empire Strikes Back & Return of the Jedi
71 Gosford Park
72 Rear Window
73 Aguirre the Wrath of God
74 A Short Film About Killing
75 M*A*S*H
76 Cries & Whispers
77 All the President's Men
78 Nights of Cabiria
79 King Kong
80 Gone with the Wind
81 All Quiet on the Western Front
82 Fanny and Alexander
83 North BY Northwest
84 The Band Wagon
85 Yojimbo
86 Brief Encounter
87 Deliverance
88 Fargo
89 Cabaret
90 Once Upon a Time in America
91 Days of Heaven
92 The Adventures of Robin Hood
93 High Noon
94 His Girl Friday
95 Manhattan
96 Duck Soup
97 Henry V
98 This Is Spinal Tap
99 Bad Day at Black Rock
100 The Graduate
101 Charlie Chaplin Short Comedy Classics
102 American Beauty
103 Z
104 Unforgiven
105 The Maltese Falcon
106 ET - The Extra-Terrestrial
107 It's a Wonderful Life
108 The Blue Angel
109 The Bridge On The River Kwai
110 The Gold Rush
111 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
112 The Hustler
113 A Kind of Loving
114 Walkabout
115 City Lights
116 On the Town
117 Oliver Twist
118 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith
119 After Life
120 Cinema Paradiso
121 Au revoir les enfants
122 David Copperfield
123 A Day at the Races
124 The Color of Pomegranates
125 The Celebration
126 Day for Night
127 Ossessione
128 The General
129 The Bicycle Thief
130 Three Colors Trilogy
131 Jour de fête
132 Kes
133 Lacombe Lucien
134 The Dead
135 La Strada
136 BRD Trilogy; The Marriage of Maria Braun, Veronika Voss & Lola
137 A Hard Day's Night
138 Dead of Night
139 Kind Hearts and Coronets
140 The Devil & Daniel Webster
141 Open City
142 Napoleon
143 Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde (1931)
144 Don't Look Now
145 The Driver
146 In the Heat of the Night
147 Way Out West
148 The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
149 Bride of Frankenstein
150 Mean Streets
151 The Lost Weekend
152 The Knack
153 The 39 Steps
154 LA Confidential
155 The Man in the White Suit
156 Kings Row
157 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
158 The Barbarian Invasions
159 The Last Metro
160 Stagecoach
161 The Last Picture Show
162 An American in Paris
163 Badlands
164 The Lavender Hill Mob
165 Marseilles Trilogy: Marius, Fanny & Cesar
166 Pelle the Conqueror
167 Touch of Evil
168 Persona
169 Paths of Glory
170 Alien
171 12 Angry Men
172 The Manchurian Candidate
173 Stairway To Heaven
174 A Man for All Seasons
175 Mephisto
176 Midnight Cowboy
177 Psycho
178 Le Million
179 Les Misérables (1935)
180 The King of Comedy
181 Destry Rides Again
182 Network
183 A Night at the Opera
184 October
185 The Tin Drum
186 Oh Mr Porter!
187 Passport to Pimlico
188 The Lady Vanishes
189 Diary of a Country Priest
190 Throne of Blood
191 The Piano
192 Picnic at Hanging Rock
193 The Night of the Hunter
194 Kwaidan
195 Pinocchio
196 The Player
197 Love Me Tonight
198 Thief of Bagdad (1940)
199 Rembrandt
200 M
201 Pygmalion
202 Sons of the Desert
203 Top Hat
204 The Philadelphia Story
205 Trouble in Paradise
206 Bambi
207 Ran
208 When Harry Met Sally
209 The Hunchback of Notre Dame
210 Grand Illusion
211 The Best Years Of Our Lives
212 Solaris
213 Come and See
214 Invasion of the Body Snatchers
215 Whisky Galore
216 Hud
217 Easy Rider
218 Marty
219 Ivan's Childhood (1962)
220 Crumb
221 Blow Up
222 The Kid
223 The Navigator
224 The Invisible Man
225 Fury
226 The Magician (The Face)
227 le jour se leve (Daybreak)
228 The Bank Dick
229 An Autumn Afternoon
230 Smiles Of A Summer Night
231 Gigi
232 The Birth Of A Nation
233 Shoah
234 All About Eve
235 Bringing Up Baby
236 La Belle Noiseuse
237 Intolerance (1916)
238 Fantasia
239 Southern Comfort
240 Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment
241 The Exterminating Angel
242 Brighton Rock (1947)
243 Trainspotting
244 Blue Velvet
245 Boudu Saved from Drowning
246 Ugetsu
247 The Wizard of Oz
248 Death in Venice
249 Being There
250 Orphic Trilogy: Blood of a Poet, Orphee & La Testament d'Orphee
251 It Happened One Night
252 Contempt
253 Mutiny on the Bounty
254 The Thief
255 Hannah and Her Sisters
256 The Butcher
257 Heimat
258 Aladdin
259 Witness
260 WR - Mysteries of the Organism
261 Strangers on a Train
262 The Wages of Fear
263 The Ladykillers
264 Rebecca
265 Kiss Me Deadly
266 Yi Yi: A One and a Two
267 Early Summer
268 Oliver!
269 The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner
270 Little Caesar
271 Bill Douglas Trilogy; My Childhood; My Ain Folk; My Way Home
272 Songs From the Second Floor
273 The Big Sleep
274 The Dresser
275 Diabolique
276 Turkish Delight
277 The Lady Eve
278 The Education of Vera
279 In the Mood for Love
280 Topsy-Turvy
281 All About My Mother
282 The Birds
283 Army in the Shadows
284 La Beauté du Diable
285 The Killing Fields
286 Forbidden Games
287 Amadeus
288 The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
289 Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
290 The Crowd
291 The Big Red One
292 Nashville
293 The Southerner
294 10
295 Les Amants
296 Face to Face
297 Gandhi
298 Billy Liar
299 Angels With Dirty Faces
300 A Clockwork Orange
301 Memento
302 L' Argent
303 A Face in the Crowd
304 Once Upon a Time in the West
305 Foreign Correspondent
306 Morocco
307 Metropolis
308 Things to Come
309 Queen Christina
310 Breaker Morant
311 Central Station
312 Casque d'Or
313 O Brother Where Art Thou?
314 Day of Wrath
315 Who Framed Roger Rabbit
316 Black Narcissus
317 Animal Crackers
318 And Then There Were None
319 The Conformist
320 Last Year at Marienbad
321 The Conversation
322 Christ Stopped at Eboli
323 Funny Games
324 Playtime
325 Triumph of the Will
326 Performance
327 Claire's Knee
328 Lancelot of the Lake
329 Black Robe
330 The Spirit of the Beehive
331 The Go-Between
332 Hail the Conquering Hero (1944)
333 Groundhog Day
334 Touch of Zen
335 The Straight Story
336 My Fair Lady
337 The Pianist
338 Lady for a Day
339 The Burmese Harp
340 Y Tu Mama Tambien
341 The Usual Suspects
342 The Son's Room
343 Death by Hanging (1968)
344 Do The Right Thing
345 Apocalypse Now
346 Ikiru
347 Le Samourai
348 Sansho the Bailiff
349 Red Sorghum (1987)
350 Lolita
351 Zero for Conduct
352 Ace in the Hole (AKA The Big Carnival)
353 Richard III
354 Amores Perros
355 Jean de Florette
356 Master and Commander
357 Tunes of Glory
358 The Life of Oharu
359 Being John Malkovich
360 Robocop
361 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
362 Ashani Sanket (Distant Thunder)
363 Night of the Living Dead
364 Kagemusha
365 Family Life
366 A Brighter Summer Day
367 Limelight (1952)
368 Arsenic and Old Lace
369 Le Feu follet
370 The General
371 Dogville
372 Sons & Lovers
373 Repentance
374 Eight Men Out
375 Farewell My Concubine
376 The Elephant Man
377 Padre Padrone
378 The Fallen Idol
379 Beauty and The Beast (La Belle et la Bete)
380 Dog Day Afternoon
381 Earth
382 Shane
383 The Truman Show
384 Rocco and His Brothers
385 My Darling Clementine
386 The Hospital
387 Juliet Of The Spirits
388 Strike
389 The Grifters
390 Gilda
391 Short Cuts
392 The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
393 L'Eclisse
394 Howards End
395 Last Orders
396 The Big Parade
397 The Gospel According to St Matthew
398 The Killers
399 Ride the High Country
400 Red River
401 Goldfinger
402 Murmur of the Heart
403 Hiroshima Mon Amour
404 Henry V (1989)
405 They Shoot Horses Don't They?
406 O Lucky Man!
407 To Be and to Have
408 Monkey Business
409 Tootsie
410 Monty Python and the Holy Grail
411 Hobson's Choice
412 This Man Must Die
413 L' Atalante
414 Shanghai Express
415 A Taste of Honey
416 American Graffiti
417 Dirty Harry
418 Dumbo
419 Life of Brian
420 Horse Feathers
421 Genevieve
422 How Green Was My Valley
423 Cleo From 5 to 7
424 Jesus of Montreal
425 Gaslight
426 Thelma & Louise
427 The Front Page
428 La Ronde
429 Ninotchka
430 The Assault
431 I'm All Right Jack
432 The Miracle of Morgan's Creek
433 Last Tango in Paris
434 La Chinoise
435 The Full Monty
436 Felicia's Journey
437 Amarcord
438 Letter From an Unknown Woman (1948)
439 Patton
440 Alice
441 The Blue Kite
442 Werckmeister Harmonies
443 The Sound of Music
444 The Last Seduction
445 Doctor Zhivago
446 UTU
447 Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train
448 Prospero's Books
449 Heaven Can Wait
450 Burnt by the Sun
451 Shakespeare in Love
452 The French Connection
453 Key Largo
454 The Killers
455 Pulp Fiction
456 Dinner at Eight
457 Intruder in the Dust
458 Darling
459 Olympische Spiele
460 Newsfront
461 Goodbye Mr Chips
462 The Decline of the American Empire
463 Lost Horizon
464 It Always Rains on Sunday
465 Lenny
466 Heavenly Creatures
467 Farewell My Lovely
468 Holiday
469 Donnie Brasco
470 Klute
471 Blade Runner
472 Land and Freedom
473 Last Exit to Brooklyn
474 Richard III
475 L'Avventura
476 Woman in the Dunes
477 Les Misérables
478 Innocents with Dirty Hands
479 A Day in the Death of Joe Egg
480 Husbands and Wives
481 The Circle
482 Mrs Brown
483 City of Hope
484 In Cold Blood
485 The Ploughman's Lunch
486 Modern Times
487 Umberto D
488 The Long Day Closes
489 Love Affair
490 Shadowlands
491 The Man Who Knew Too Much
492 Onibaba
493 The Quiet American
494 Notorious
495 The Man Who Came to Dinner
496 Cyrano de Bergerac
497 A Room with a View
498 Mon Oncle d'Amerique
499 Charlie Bubbles
500 Falstaff - Chimes At Midnight
501 Milou in May
502 Field of Dreams
503 Raiders of the Lost Ark
504 Scarface
505 Tillsammans
506 Mother and Son
507 Diary for My Children
508 Niagra
509 The Kid Brother
510 From Russia With Love
511 In The Realm Of The Senses
512 The Scarlet Empress
513 Mine Own Executioner (1947)
514 Raise the Red Lantern
515 Shine
516 The Garden of the Finzi-Continis
517 Before the Rain
518 Reservoir Dogs
519 The Private Life of Henry VIII
520 Harvey
521 Green for Danger
522 The Old Dark House
523 Mr Deeds Goes to Town
524 My Name Is Joe
525 Ginger and Fred
526 Dr No
527 Nosferatu
528 The China Syndrome
529 Moonlighting
530 All That Jazz
531 Le Cercle Rouge (The Red Circle)
532 Keep an Eye on Amelia
533 Ordinary People
534 The Candidate
535 The Way to the Stars
536 Miracle on 34th Street
537 My Learned Friend
538 Nada (1974)
539 The Narrow Margin
540 Kolya
541 Here Comes Mr Jordan
542 Jezebel
543 A Night to Remember
544 Night Train to Munich
545 Ermo (1994)
546 Nixon
547 The Jazz Singer
548 My Favorite Wife
549 Nothing Sacred
550 Odd Man Out
551 The Asphalt Jungle
552 Innocent, The (L'Innocente)
553 Naked City
554 White Heat
555 Death Of A Salesman
556 The Parallax View
557 The Italian Straw Hat
558 Planet of the Apes
559 I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang
560 Of Mice and Men
561 The Nasty Girl
562 Hardcore
563 A Time For Drunken Horses
564 Our Relations
565 Lantana
566 Journey Into Fear (1975)
567 The Palm Beach Story
568 Dr Mabuse - The Gambler
569 Great Race
570 The People vs Larry Flynt
571 The Ghost Goes West
572 Touching the Void
573 The Wind
574 Out of Sight
575 Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House
576 Once Were Warriors
577 Pretty Village Pretty Flame
578 Pride and Prejudice
579 A Private Function
580 Scenes From a Marriage
581 Saving Private Ryan
582 Meet Me In St Louis
583 Lovers of the Arctic Circle
584 The Quiet Man
585 My Favorite Year
586 The Shootist
587 Casino
588 Dangerous Liaisons
589 The Best Man
590 The Prisoner of Zenda
591 This Sporting Life
592 Sense and Sensibility
593 Barton Fink
594 The Sweet Hereafter
595 Atlantic City
596 Four Weddings and a Funeral
597 Knife in the Water
598 L'Invitation
599 A Midsummer Night's Dream
600 The Story of Qiu Ju
601 Private's Progress
602 Tango
603 Run Lola Run
604 Room at the Top
605 Germinal
606 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
607 Phantom of Liberty
608 Taking Off
609 The Producers
610 Loves of a Blonde
611 The Opposite of Sex
612 The Best Intentions
613 Safety Last!
614 Days and Nights in the Forest
615 The Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man
616 Saturday Night Fever
617 Rabbit-Proof Fence
618 Panic in the Streets
619 Ghost Dog
620 About Schmidt
621 Secrets and Lies
622 The Sting
623 Port of Shadows
624 Poil de carotte (1925)
625 Intermezzo
626 One False Move
627 Comrades
628 Man With the Movie Camera
629 Grave of the Fireflies
630 Rocky
631 She Done Him Wrong
632 Strictly Ballroom
633 The Informer
634 Maxim Gorky Trilogy
635 Meet John Doe
636 Sunday Bloody Sunday
637 Metropolitan
638 A Star Is Born
639 The Thin Red Line
640 The Talk of the Town
641 Son of Frankenstein & The Ghost of Frankenstein
642 Chariots of Fire
643 The Crying Game
644 Jane Eyre (1943)
645 The Pajama Game
646 The Set-Up
647 Pixote Hector
648 Ship of Fools
649 Sunshine State
650 The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
651 Happiness
652 Cabaret Balkan
653 Those Wonderful Movie Cranks
654 Women in Love
655 The Men
656 Romeo + Juliet
657 Empire of the Sun
658 Wise Blood (1979)
659 Daisies
660 Taste of Cherry
661 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
662 A Day in the Country
663 Zazie dans le Metro
664 The Roaring Twenties
665 Bob le Flambeur
666 42nd Street
667 Summertime
668 House of Games
669 The Madness Of King George
670 Vagabond
671 Now Voyager
672 The Watchmaker of St Paul
673 The Lion King
674 The Way Ahead
675 Rosetta
676 The Butcher Boy
677 Fat City
678 Un héros très discret
679 Spirited Away
680 The Hours
681 Los Olvidados (Young And The Damned)
682 War & Peace (1968)
683 Wuthering Heights
684 The Thin Man
685 Election
686 A Fistful of Dollars
687 Five Graves to Cairo (1943)
688 Bachelor Party
689 The Ruling Class
690 The Big Chill
691 Young Mr Lincoln
692 The Man Who Wasn't There
693 Lamerica
694 From Here to Eternity
695 Hellzapoppin
696 Our Hospitality (1923)
697 Gladiator
698 Elizabeth
699 Fail-safe
700 Seven Days in May
701 Crossfire
702 Farewell My Lovely
703 Buena Vista Social Club
704 Dracula
705 Closely Watched Trains
706 A Christmas Carol (Scrooge)
707 Mother
708 Greed
709 One Eyed Jacks
710 The Court Jester
711 Kramer versus Kramer
712 Late Spring
713 The Silence Of The Lambs
714 Woodstock
715 Le Fils (The Son)
716 La Terra Trema
717 Three Kings
718 Crimes & Misdemeanors
719 A Simple Plan
720 The Wedding Banquet
721 Delicatessen
722 Interrogation
723 The Matrix
724 The Nun's Story
725 The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre
726 Dracula
727 Shrek
728 The Damned
729 Se7en
730 Shadow of a Doubt
731 The Defiant Ones
732 East is East
733 The Ox-Bow Incident
734 Man Of Marble / Man Of Iron
735 The Niebelungen
736 Yol
737 The Big Country
738 Stormy Weather
739 The Cameraman
740 Major Barbara
741 Night Of The Demon (Curse Of The Demon)
742 Gregory's Girl
743 Smile
744 Boys Don't Cry
745 Assault on Precinct 13
746 The Picture of Dorian Gray
747 Woman of the Year
748 The Nightmare Before Christmas
749 Ivan the Terrible
750 Showboat
751 An American Werewolf in London
752 The Fencing Master
753 The Golem
754 The Game
755 Hue and Cry
756 Ulee's Gold
757 Sugarland Express
758 Marathon Man
759 This Gun For Hire
760 Blithe Spirit
761 City Slickers
762 Coal Miner's Daughter
763 The Day of the Jackal
764 Gunga Din
765 Anne and Muriel
766 Sitting Pretty
767 Billy Elliot
768 The Asthenic Syndrome
769 Quiet Wedding
770 Blue Collar
771 Zelig
772 The Music Man
773 Reds
774 Ballad of a Soldier
775 The Insider
776 Dear Diary (Caro Diario)
777 Victim
778 A Slight Case Of Murder
779 The Awful Truth
780 The Blue Lamp
781 I Married A Witch
782 My Man Godfrey
783 State of the Union
784 As Good As It Gets
785 Picnic
786 All The King's Men
787 The Moon and Sixpence
788 Thunder Rock
789 Friday the Thirteenth
790 Public Enemy
791 Bachelor Mother
792 Man Bites Dog
793 Mary Poppins
794 Double Suicide
795 Life Is Beautiful (La Vita e Bella)
796 Phantom of the Opera
797 Diner
798 Yankee Doodle Dandy
799 Soldier of Orange
800 Cabinet of Dr Caligari
801 Sing As We Go
802 Toy Story 2
803 Will It Snow For Christmas?
804 The Spiral Staircase
805 The Charge of the Light Brigade
806 Carry On Up the Khyber
807 Beauty and the Beast
808 Magnolia
809 The Night of the Iguana
810 Badgad Café
811 The Little Foxes
812 The Women
813 Little Women
814 The Life of Emile Zola
815 Bringing Out The Dead
816 Charley Varrick
817 Cousin, Cousine
818 Folies Bergere
819 49th Parallel
820 Love On The Dole
821 Les Enfants du Marais
822 The Enforcer
823 One Hour With You
824 The Count of Monte Cristo
825 The Body Snatcher
826 Speed
827 Stanley and Livingstone
828 The Scarlet Pimpernel
829 House on 92nd Street
830 Julia
831 Boomerang!
832 I'm No Angel
833 The Three Musketeers
834 The Paleface
835 My Favorite Blonde
836 The Happy Time
837 Alexander's Ragtime Band
838 A Walk In The Sun
839 The Fugitive
840 Erin Brokovich
841 Sabotage (A Woman Alone)
842 Berlin, Symphony of a Great City
843 Witness For the Prosecution
844 The Gay Divorcee
845 Sur Mes Levres
847 Pickup on South Street
848 Fourteen Hours
849 The Last Laugh
850 Arise My Love
851 Damnation
852 The Dreamlife Of Angels
853 The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes
854 La Baie des Anges
855 Cape Fear
856 French Can-Can
856 England Made Me
857 Gimme Shelter
858 The Sixth Sense
859 The Cranes Are Flyiing
860 Mandy
861 Best Boy
862 Adaptation
863 The Young In Heart
864 Hoop Dreams
865 Mr Skeffington
866 Dead End
867 Lady Killer
868 Trilogy: On The Run, An Amazing Couple & After Life
869 A Star Is Born
870 Kanal
871 Paris, Texas
872 Braveheart
873 The Iron Giant
874 The Apartment
875 Withnail and I
876 The Big Heat
877 Laura
878 The Letter
879 Witchfinder General (The Conqueror Worm)
880 The Thief of Bagdad
881 The Winslow Boy
882 Salvatore Giuliano
883 The Pumpkin Eater
884 East Of Eden
885 Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto, Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple & Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island
886 Ghost World
887 Call Me Madam
888 Bowling For Columbine
889 Born on the Fourth of July
890 The Titfield Thunderbolt
891 Jubilee
892 La Femme Infidele
893 Ordet
894 The Butterfly Murders
895 Love (Szerelem)
896 Black God, White Devil
897 Bullitt
898 Melvin and Howard
899 The Gunfighter
900 Odishon (Audition)
901 Memories of Underdevelopment
902 Get Carter
903 The League of Gentlemen
904 The Mark of Zorro
905 Born Yesterday
906 Tampopo
907 The Great McGinty
908 The Great Lie
909 Airplane
910 The Bedford Incident
911 Ben-Hur
912 Straw Dogs
913 Rebel Without a Cause
914 The Wicker Man
915 Autobus
916 For Me and My Gal
917 My Brilliant Career
918 Nothing But The Best
919 Random Harvest
920 The Happiest Days of Your Life
921 Lovers and Other Strangers
922 The Good Earth
923 Midnight
924 Babe
925 The Most Dangerous Game
926 Saboteur
927 San Francisco
928 Il Posto (The Job)
929 Only Two Can Play
930 The Prize
931 One Hundred and One Dalmatians
932 The Hot Rock
933 Tobacco Road
934 Alias Nick Beal
935 A Private Conversation
936 They Won't Forget
937 The Sign of the Cross
938 La Balance
939 On Approval
940 My Life As A Dog
941 Repulsion
942 The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey
943 Antonia's Line
944 Father Brown (The Detective)
945 Back to the Future
946 Force of Evil
947 Kuhle Wampe (Whither Germany?)
948 Shock Corridor
949 The Devils
950 Pickpocket
951 Salaam Bombay!
952 Rome Express
953 Bad Company
954 Bombshell
955 The Black Swan
956 Dodsworth
957 The More the Merrier
958 Black Eyes
959 The Woman in the Window
960 Written On The Wind
961 Peeping Tom
962 Stage Door
963 The Sea Hawk
964 Dodge City
965 Satyricon
966 The Blue Bird
967 Chicken Run
968 The Rains Came
969 The Black Pirate
970 Young Frankenstein
971 Trash
972 Tokyo Godfathers
973 Donnie Darko
974 The Lodger
975 The Last Waltz
976 Sherlock Junior
977 Les Triplettes de Belleville
978 Lover Come Back
979 Witchcraft Through The Ages
980 On Golden Pond
981 The Ghost Breakers
982 One Hundred Men and a Girl
983 The Bowery
984 Dark Star
985 Mystery of the Wax Museum
986 Atanarjuat The Fast Runner
987 The Man Who Could Work Miracles
988 Around the World in Eighty Days
989 Patterns
990 Tokyo Olympiad
991 Jason and the Argonauts
992 The Group
993 The Great Waltz
994 Kipps (The Remarkable Mr Kipps)
995 The Blair Witch Project
996 Starship Troopers
997 Fire Over England
998 Tin Pan Alley
999 Blackmail
1000 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

In all, I've seen 221 out of 1,000. One charge against this book's list is that it has a bias towards films of the 30s & 40s and is far too pro-British. I can certainly see that here; I like Green For Danger but I would certainly never expect to see it on a list of the 1,000 greatest films ever made...unless it were the 1,000 greatest mystery films ever made.

I don't know what standards the editors used in compiling this list (having not so much glanced at a copy), but for those films which are listed, there the question of why some are ranked higher than others. Almost every critic and fan agrees that Bride of Frankenstein is better than Frankenstein and is constantly cited as a case where the sequel outdid the original, yet Halliwell's places Frankenstein first. James Bond producers and fans almost all cite From Russia With Love as the peak of the series, yet Halliwell's ranks Goldfinger higher.

Then there are omissions. For all the Chaplin they have listed here, where is the Great Dictator? They didn't exclude German films, so where's das Boot? The pro-British angle creeps in on the Hitchcock inclusions as lackluster British pics of his like Sabotage and Blackmail are included while some superior US films of his like Lifeboat get the shaft. Speed, but not Die Hard? Starship Troopers, but not Dark City? Se7en, but not Fight Club? Bullitt, but not the Great Escape? The Prisoner of Zenda, but not the Man Who Would Be King?

And there's the "bunching" of film series together as though they constituted only one film, rather than two, three, four or more. So Chaplin's short films are grouped together, but his full-length films are listed separately. Then you have Frankenstein & Bride of Frankenstein split up while Son of Frankenstein & Ghost of Frankenstein share a listing for some reason (this may be the only time I've seen Ghost of Frankenstein considered for a greatest movies list).

There are many obvious inclusions on the list; every "greatest film" list writer must adhere to certain expectations and quotas, so we have Battleship Potemkin and films of historical interest only such as Birth of a Nation and the Jazz Singer.

And there are films which critics like to list to demonstrate that they judge by reputation, not substance. Lugosi's Dracula is simply not very good, as anyone who has taken the time to watch will tell you; my theory is that anyone who ranks it among the greats has either a dim recollection of it or believes its long-standing impact on horror movies counter-balances its lack of interest. The same goes for White Heat, which may have one great oft-quoted line, but is an otherwise unremarkable picture. I fear that one day future generations of film critics will apply these standards to movies of their own childhood and similarly dub XxX one of the greatest films of all time because it has quotable one-liners.

There are other films which I wouldn't place on this list, but I recognize that I'm in the minority. I outright dislike Some Like it Hot and the Big Red One, think the Searchers is highly overrated and Blade Runner bores me. I'm marching to my own beat there, I know.

Still, there are quite a few films on this list that I want to see - the Game, Yojimbo, Graves of the Fireflies, Throne of Blood, the Ox-Bow Incident, Bad Day at Black Rock, the Fallen Idol, Odd Man Out, Kagemusha, the Defiant Ones, Kind Hearts and Coronets, the Lavender Hill Mob, Little Caesar, Public Enemy, the Asphalt's not entirely useless.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Response to Steve Bennett

Over at icv2, Steve Bennett says:
I see that Blaze the Wonder Collie got an entry in the recent Marvel Pets Handbook: I'm impressed that Marvel would spend so much time and talent on a project with the smallest possible demographic: me.

You're quite welcome, Steve. Please be certain you pick up the Marvel Mystery Handbook on sale soon; as the target demographic for Terry Vance, you don't want to miss it!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My big surprise at the Toronto Fan Expo

The Toronto Fan Expo had something on its opening day that I'm not used to in the convention circuits - a nine o'clock closing time. Because it started late in the afternoon, closing in the evening hours certainly made sense. However, I took my time getting down on that first day (and had some trouble getting in), so I only intended to scout the location and plan what I'd do the following day. By the time I was through the doors, I had only 1.5 hours to look around.

I went straight to Artist's Alley to see who might be sequestered there. After seeing how San Diego's Artist's Alley had a superstar lineup, Toronto was more like what I'm used to in Calgary - locals and small talent. So, I went up the first row glancing at names then came down the second.

There, at the end of that row was a table covered in Rex Libris merchandise. Behind the table sat a bald, bearded man. He noticed the Ordo Bibliotheca t-shirt I was wearing and complimented it. "Are you James Turner?" I asked. "I am." he replied.

James Turner's Rex Libris was one of my favorite reading experiences. The "librarian hero" gimmick caught my eye, but Turner's humourous scripts held me as a customer through all 14 issues and encouraged me to try his Warlord of Io and Other Stories.

I knew that Turner was from the area, but the convention's website made no mention of his presence. I thought the listings included guests at Artist's Alley, but no, for there he was.

And what a bounty he had at his table! Magnets, buttons, an Ordo Bibliotheca official membership book...and the unpublished 2nd Warlord of Io story! Wait, unpublished? Yeah, except for the ten copies Turner printed himself. Now, one of them is mine.

But then the realization hit me; I had no money! I had spent the last of my cash on Toronto's subway! I spirited away for the nearest cash machine which was, thankfully, very near, and returned to collect the products.

But more importantly, I was able to speak with James Turner. I was finally able to express how much I enjoyed Rex Libris, what I thought of Warlord of Io, and made all manner of comments on his artwork, SLG's online store, the direct market, advertising and a host of other concerns. And I showed him my profile picture used in my Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe bio (the one I use as my online avatar).

More about the Warlord of Io comic later; for now, I'm simply pleased to recall my meeting with Turner. Mark Gruenwald once advised readers not to seek out creators they admire - "once you find out the guy's a slob in real life, how can you not let that color your impression of his work?" James Turner is no slob.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Out tomorrow: Index#9

Issue #9 of the Official Index to the Marvel Universe hits shops tomorrow; I blogged the solicitation here.