Not fit for man, definitely not beast.

It feels like -1 outside and...well that's reason enough for the world to just take the day off, right? I don't want to go out in that! I don't know how to live with that weather!

Iron Ruckus had a show last night at the PIT. It was fine overall, even though I'm still finding my own performance lacking. I seem to be in a phase where I just lock up and can't say anything on stage. That's not good, not good at all.

I bought the first trade of Immortal Iron Fist yesterday and read it while I ate alone at Chili's. Yeah, it's as good as everyone says. I need to get volume two ASAP but I ALSO need to not spend any money whatsoever!

For a brief moment on the drive home yesterday, I felt pretty good about everything. That changed later that night a bit, but...I have to work towards making 2009 great so I can peak again in 2010. I have a theory that I peak ever 4 years, and 2010 is the next such occurrence.

Bad Data has a show tonight at the PIT that I'm excited about and then I'm SHOW-FREE for the rest of the weekend!


Quick and early thoughts!

Okay, 2009, I'm going to worry more about quantity and not quality with this here thing. I have realized that no one reads this thing for it's biting social commentary since, well, there's none of that here. There's nothing here. So instead, here's a scattershot post about some things going on right now done at 7:26 AM, about four minutes before I need to leave for work.

Bad Data might be on Animal Planet.

Insurance probably IS NOT going to cover my wreck.

The eBay buyer who bought my Iron Man poster hasn't paid me yet and it's been a week.

Abra debuted on Harold Night. So awesome!

"Real World" looks great so far and is very entertaining, in the kinda boring way that the first couple seasons were.

I need to start buying "B.P.R.D." comics.

I'm in a new improv duo with Ethan Kaye called Ultimate Alliance.

2009 has been emotionally draining, moreso than most of 2008. Okay, exaggeration.

There's a blog in my brain about Tommy Wiseau, and it'll come soon.


Top 10 2008: Comics

10. SECRET INVASIONIssues #1-8 / Written by Brian Bendis, Art by Leinil Yu

You'll note that this is the only Skrull-related comic in the top ten, mostly because I was absolutely green in the face (PUNZ) after about two months of all the wrinkly-chinned hullabaloo. It got old, Marvel. And yeah, as the flagship series this series weighed way too heavily on slow-paced action and not enough on big reveals or characterization...or plot really. But okay, the art was amazing, the entire creative team was A-list (Mark Morales and Laura Martin rounded out the team, and they're the biggest inker and colorist working today) and the kick-off issue was downright paranoid glee. Good stuff and, as a whole, a bit more sturdy than Civil War. So that's it, no more Skrulls on this list. For the most part.

Issues #494-505 / Written by Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction, Art by Mike Choi, Greg Land and Terry Dodson

A lot of Uncanny's 2008 was spent with its wheels furiously spinning around with the car parked in neutral (that car metaphor works, right?). The great "Messiah Complex" storyline of 2007 ended and, well, led into five months of farting around until the fancy and multiple-covered 500th issue. Since then things have been slowly improving, with Fraction (and a bit of Brubaker) bringing in a bunch of slow-burning plots that all seem to be destined to dovetail together in a big ol' Claremont-ian event of awesomeness. Along with having a downright retro feel, the book is also breaking new ground with the current San Francisco locale change which has made a huge impact on the line as a whole. It's not great yet, and Fraction can do great things, so I'm looking forward to 2009.

Issues #24-27 and Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 / Written by Joss Whedon and Warren Ellis, Art by John Cassaday and Simone Bianchi

The stellar Whedon and Cassaday run came to an end with a truly epic moment and probably the biggest sacrifice the X-Men have endured since...well, the first death of Phoenix. There's not much more I can say about that part of Astonishing's run that I haven't said before. Whedon ruled, Cassaday did the best art any x-book has seen in a long time, the only problem was with the book's scheduling and the fact that the big climax was ruined in the other titles a month before said issue hit. Following that team's run was going to be hard, but Ellis and Bianchi haven't done...horribly. Okay, Bianchi's art is...odd...but I always appreciate Ellis' insane take on tradition and his seeming respect for continuity. This is no longer the flagship title but under Ellis, it's an okay one.

Issues #10-20 / Written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, Art by Georges Jeanty and Karl Moline

2008 was split between two storylines, one stellar and one fun, and a couple one-off issues that were all enjoyable. Drew Goddard's "Wolves at the Gate" really nailed the humor, conflict and bloody death that made the best episodes of Buffy memorable. The more recent "Time of Your Life" crossed over with Fray, a series that I just read. This was plagued by a bit of a delay, a fact that hurt the story a lot since I had no clue what Fray was all about. I now do. The storyline was better in retrospect. Big things are coming in Buffy, and I'm stoked.

Issues #1-8 / Written by Paul Cornell, Art by Leonard Kirk

If you had told me a year ago that a series starring Captain Britain and a bunch of D-List English heroes would be in my top ten list of 2008, above two X-Books, I would have said something ridiculously sarcastic, rolled my eyes and walked away asking myself why you even bothered talking to me. And now, here we are, stepping into 2009 and Captain Britain is one of my most-anticipated books each month. Solid art, intricate and careful characterization and some big ol' action with a shot of the UK added in. It's a pretty great read month in and month out and MI: 13 is becoming a ragtag group of heroes up there with the old school X-Factor team. Good stuff.

Volume 2 Issues #29-30, Volume 3 Issues #1-5 / Written by Joss Whedon and Terry Moore, Art by Michael Ryan and Humberto Ramos

This book spent most of 2007...um...not coming out, so it was nice to have seven months of Runaways in 2008. Both of the creative teams lacked what the other had and vice versa. Michael Ryan has the strong storytelling that Humberto Ramos lacks, but Ramos makes up for it with tons of attitude and charisma. And while Terry Moore is crafting a story that feels much more like Runaways than Whedon's time travel story, there's no denying that Whedon's run was much funnier and snappier. So, you know, good and bad. Overall I'm ecstatic about where this book is going, especially because it's coming out regularly again. Moore may not be as flashy or buzzworthy as Whedon, but he really appreciates these characters and knows how to craft stories with them. The future is bright.

4. X-FACTORIssues #27-38, Layla Miller and Quick & The Dead one-shots / Written by Peter David, Art by Pablo Raimondi, Valentine De Landro and Larry Stroman

The first half of 2008, X-Factor was experiencing a creative rebirth. Wolfsbane's departure yielded one of the series' best issues and led into one of its best storylines with "The Only Game in Town." That arc was aptly named as it was the only X-Book to really kick the events of "Messiah Complex" into high gear instead of sitting around for five months. The two one-shots spotlighting Quicksilver and the time-displaced Layla Miller were real highlights, especially Layla Miller. And then...well, the team moved to Detroit and lost a lot of its appeal. This coincided with the awkward return of Larry Stroman, a move that was highly anticipated and ended up disappointing. With 2008's close, Stroman has departed and Peter David has acknowledged the series' slide. He promises that things are going to pick up and with Madrox and Siryn's baby being born right now, well, I believe him.

Issues #118-129 / Written by Brian Bendis, Art by Stuart Immonen

Yeah, this is probably the best this book has ever been. Stuart Immonen's art is perfectly suited for the title and the fresh energy he has brought to Spidey has completely rejuvenated Bendis' writing. Venom, Gwen Stacy, last month's arrest of Aunt May...everything is illustrated with a detailed urgency unlike any this series has ever seen. Bagley was great, yeah, but this title really needed an offbeat artist to make it stand out. The teenage angst has never been this palpable. This is the only "Ultimate" book that matters.

Issues #207-219 / Written by Mike Carey, Art by Scot Eaton

This is also the title everyone either loved or hated in 2008. I, obviously, fell on the "love it" side. Of course I'm obsessed with continuity, so Mike Carey going back and fixing past wrongs and making every bit of mutant minutiae make sense had me in giggle fits every month. We saw Hazard again this year, people! Hazard! He appeared like, once! Fifteen years ago! Awesome! But seriously, Carey's doing all this while telling a smart story and making Professor X a relatable and complex character. Plus, you know, Gambit came back and didn't suck. So, that was cool. The Legacy setup is ending soon I think, and Carey said the book is going to change into something else that has never been seen in this corner of the Marvel Universe. I'm excited to see where this book goes.

Issues #546-581 / Written by Dan Slott, Bob Gale, Zeb Wells, Marc Guggenheim, Joe Kelly and Mark Waid, Art by Steve McNiven, Salvador Larroca, Phil Jimenez, Chris Bachalo, Barry Kitson, Marcos Martin, Mike McKone and John Romita Jr.

Thirty-six issues. This one comic alone shipped three times the amount it normally does in a year and somehow managed to make every one of them (of the twenty I read) the most worthy additions to the legendary Spider-Man mythos that I've read in my long tenure reading comics. The writers and artists listed up there are not only among the best in the industry, they're among my personal favorites. Slott and Romita Jr.'s "New Ways to Die" arc was a thrilling read every week, an arc that successfully re-purposed Eddie Brock and brought him back from obscurity. Marcos Martin's page layouts during his two storylines ("Peter Parker, Paparazzi" and "Unscheduled Stop") were divine, his completely unparalleled and unique vision of the webhead surely inspiring artists all over the country to give it a try. And of course, I can't say enough about all of Chris Bachalo's work on the title, especially his arc with writer Joe Kelly. Their two-part "Family Ties" arc was simply, well, amazing. Spider-Man's one-liners had never been so hilarious and his look had never been so abstractly exhilirating. In all of Marvel Comics, there really is none better when you look at the monumental goal they set for themselves by deciding to publish thirty-six issues in a year and see how they succeeded. And no, "One More Day" did NOT need to happen and Peter Parker SHOULD still be with Mary Jane, but "Brand New Day" is the best thing that could have happened to Spider-Man. Things are only going to get better.