Harry Harrison! Terry Pratchett! Mike Allred! The British Batman!


069) A Stainless Steel Rat Is Born by Harry Harrison, finished October 4

I've had my eye out for this book for some years now. I can't remember how I first heard of it, but it sounded like something I would be interested in so I added to my Amazon wish list etc etc. Then I came across this volume, apparently the first (from what I gleamed from the cover and inside ads) and its immediate sequel at Thrift Town at a dime each and so I snapped them up and started reading the first.

Thankfully, I didn't learn till the evening after I finished volume one that, in fact, this book is a prequel. You know, it kind of tasted like one?

The book is mildly amusing but not Adams or Pratchett funny. It also hasn't aged too well. The idea that all the human nations tens of thousands of years from now will be speaking Esperanto is charming at best.

Jim diGritz is a budding Danny Ocean and the book's best pleasures are watching him pull of heists. But a certain monotony and repetition sets in and the book gets harder to push through. I may read the other book I bought, I may not. Time will tell.

But if you've got a quarter, I'm willing to talk.

just over one month


068) Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett, finished September 27

Look at me, rereading books! Surely the apocalypse is upon us. Though, this being Pratchett, I certainly still enjoyed myself.

I reread it because I had the school buy a class set of these for my AP Lit course. We'll be reading it between Hamlet and Nineteen Eighty-four. And debating its literary merit.

Can a comedy of recent vintage even have a chance in this race?

I'll keep you posted.

a week or slightly more


067) Modern Masters Volume Sixteen: Mike Allred by Eric Nolen-Weathington, finished September 19

A booklength interview with Mike Allred about his career, from precomics through 2008. Interesting fact, nice tidbits . . . .

You know what I really liked about this book, though? I liked seeing Mike's mind at work as he remembered how it has worked. I love his work (not all of it equally of course, and I do think he has a couple weaknesses) and recommend it to all and every, but my favorite thing about Mike Allred is how inspiring he is. He unquenchable passion, his constant reaching for new horizons, his willingness to take absurd chances. I also admire how he is able to make connections with people --- connections that are real and meaningful and that last.

Whether I would want to model my career after his is the wrong question. What I would like to do is model how I pursue my career after his. With courage and passion and optimism and a little bit of crazy.

a few weeks


066) iZombie: uVampire by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred, finished September 15

I'm afraid it's not terribly often that I regret not having reread the previous volume when picking up the lastest trade collection of comics I read. But this time I do have that regret. Roberson has created a truly innovative take on classic monsters and I missed remembering all the details. I'm going to have to pull volume one off my shelf and read them both again.

Something else: This really may be the best example to date of how Mike Allred's drawings and Laura Allred's colors engage in this amazing symbiosis that engages the eye like few other comics can. It's a miraculous and compelling thing, their art.

Note also that at the end of this volume is a one-shot written by Gilbert Hernandez (but still colored by Laura Allred). Here's the original cover to that issue:

two or three days


065) Knight and Squire by Paul Cornell and Jimmy Broxton, finished September 12

I had my library bring this baby in because Ben not only wrote praisingly about the British Batman and Robin, but sent me an email telling me I had to pick it up. So I did.

(By the way, if you're not following Ben's new comics blog, you are missing out. Click over now.)

In short, I liked it. I didn't like it as much as Ben did nor as much as he thought I would, but I certainly liked it. I love that it's written by a Brit and I love the instant creation of a whole nation of superheroes/villains and I enjoyed reading it. But I couldn't help feeling it hasn't reached its perfect form. Maybe if it became a continuing series they characters could really grow into what they appear to be. I also couldn't help wishing that BBC had the tv rights and could really go to town with it --- like a Sherlock-slash-Tick. Wouldn't that be awesome?

So I hope DC keeps these Brits making this mag and I hope it grows into what it could apparently become. I would like that very much.

(Incidentally, favorite character? Jarvis Poker. Very well drawn fellow.)


Previously in 2011 . . . . :


Previously in 2011 . . . . :

064) Alice in Sunderland: An Entertainment by Bryan Talbot, finished September 21

063) Blacksad written by Juan Díaz Canales and drawn by Juanjo Guarnido, finished September 5
062) 21 by Wilfred Santiago, finished September 4
061) Bone by Jeff Smith, finished August 29
060) Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse: Race to Death Valley by Flody Gottfredson, finished on a date that's a little hard to identify exactly
059) Shakespeare Wrote for Money by Nick Hornby, finished August 18

058) Take Time for Paradise by A. Bartlett Giamatti, finished August 11

057) The Shining by Stephen King, finished August 9
056) I Don't Want to Kill You by Dan Wells, finished August 6
055) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, finished August 2
054) Moneyball by Michael Lewis, finished July 12
053) Madman New Giant Size Super Ginchy Special by Mike Allred et al, finished approximately July 9

052) The Influencing Machine by Brooke Gladstone and Josh Neufeld, finished July 8
051) Wilson by Daniel Clowes, finished July 6

050) Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut, finished July 1
049) Housekeeping vs. The Dirt by Nick Hornby, finished June 25
048) The Light Princess by George Macdonald, finished June 22
047) Half a Life by Darin Strauss, finished June 17
046) Babymouse: Cupcake Tycoon by Jennifer L. Holm and Matt Holm (siblings), finished June 16

045) Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card, finished June 10
044) Writings from The New Yorker 1927-1976 by E.B. White (edited by Rebecca M. Dale), finished June 7
043) The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin, finished May 31
042) Unnamed book by unnamed client (MS POLICY),
finished May 27

041) Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour by Bryan Lee O'Malley, finished May 14
040) Scott Pilgrim Versus The Unverse by Bryan Lee O'Malley, finished May 14
039) Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together by Bryan Lee O'Malley, finished May 13
037) The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse, finished May 11
036) Scott Pilgrim Versus The World by Bryan Lee O'Malley
035) Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O'Malley
034) The Complete Peanuts 1975-1976 by Charles M. Schulz, finished May 1
033) Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli finished approximately April 27

032) Golden Gate by Seth Vikram, finished April 20

031) Batman: Year 100 by Paul Pope, finished April 18
030) The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby, finished April 9
029) iZombie: Dead to the World by Chris Roberson and Mike Allred, finished April 2
028) A Sense of Order and Other Stories by Jack Harrell, finished April 1
027) Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard, finished March 30

026) The Black Dogs by Ian McEwan, finished March 21

025) Stitches by David Small, finished March 20
024) Arkham Asylum: Madness by Sam Kieth, finished January 19 or 20
023) Hamlet by William Shakespeare, finished March 18

022) Red Rocket 7 by Mike Allred, finished March 10
021) Missile Mouse: Rescue on Tankium3 by Jake Parker, finished March 10

020) The Hotel Cat by Esther Averill, finished February 28

019) Wonderland by Tommy Kovac and Sonny Liew, finished February 21
018) Redcoat by Kohl Glass (MS POLICY), finished February 18

017) Best American Comics 2010 edited by Neil Gaiman, finished February 12
016) Little Bee by Chris Cleave, finished February 10
015) Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck, finished February 2
014) Cursed Pirate Girl: The Collected Edition Vol. I by Jeremy Bastian, finished January 31

013) Sweet Tooth: In Captivity by Jeff Lemire, finished January 30
012) Sweet Tooth: Out of the Woods by Jeff Lemire, finished January 30
011) Essex County: The Country Nurse by Jeff Lemire, finished January 30
010) Essex County: Ghost Stories by Jeff Lemire, finished January 29
009) Essex County: Tales from the Farm by Jeff Lemire, finished January 29

008) Magdalene by Morah Jovan, finished January 27

007) Knightfall Part Two: Who Rules the Night by a slew of DC folk, finished January 23
006) Bayou by Jeremy Love, finished January 17

005) Mr. Monster by Dan Wells, finished January 10
004) The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, finished January 6
003) The Mystery of the Dinosaur Graveyard by Mary Adrian, finished January 5
002) Batman - Judge Dredd: Judgment on Gotham by John Wagner and Alan Grant and Simon Bisley, with lettering by the famous Todd Klein; finished January 4
001) Batman: Venom by Dennis O'Neil et al, finished January 2


  1. I'll still be your friend even though you didn't like Knight and Squire as much as I wanted you to. I just won't be as much of a friend as you want me to be. I also liked Jarvis Poker, infinitely more than I like the Joker.

    And thanks for the plug!

  2. .

    Jarvis Poker was a great character. They should write him his own novel.

  3. .

    [Edit: fixed broken hyperlink]

  4. Being highly susceptible to all formes of Brit entertainment, I need to get my hands on Knight & Squire.

  5. .

    Definitely recommended to you.