Sunday, June 29, 2008

Amy Reads the Week (of June 29th, 2008)

What a lovely week it has been, Gentle Reader, with an even more promising week to come. Tomorrow, Sister-In-Law Reads comes to visit as Mr. Reads and I have a week or two off before I begin teaching second summer session, and Mr. Reads takes a much-needed break from teaching to get Writing Done. Then, all members of Chez Reads--Mr. Reads, Amy Reads, and Pup Reads--will head to Rural Area outside of Relatively Nearby Metropolis to enjoy a (very!) brief vacation at a, yes, Friends, dog-friendly bed and breakfast. We are all of us thrilled, but none more so than Pup Reads herself.

Pop culturally, We Reads have discovered a fantastic television show entitled Burn Notice. Normally, We Reads shy away from anything on the USA Network (has anything on said network reached the pinnacle of USA Up All Night? I think not!), but on seeing many stellar recommendations, we decided to get the first disc. And then we promptly got the last three and finished the entire first season in a week. It is smart, fresh, funny, sad, well-written, well-acted, and most importantly, engaging. As season 2 begins in a few weeks, I Highly Recommend that you watch season 1 in preparation!

In comics related news, I have finally (!) gotten caught up with Wonder Woman, much to my pleasure, and greatly enjoyed participating in Renee Montoya Week on the site Who Is The Question? Thanks to Eric for allowing This Humble Author to speak out on one of her favorite characters! And as news trickling out of Wizard-Chicago reveals, once again Amy Reads is heartbroken over not attending a convention. Gail Simone and Greg Rucka both speaking on a panel about Wonder Woman? It is This Humble Author's convention dream transposed to reality! One day, Gentle Reader, one day.

There is still Amy Reads's Great Read of Green Lantern and X-Men coming soon, but more importantly, there is a desire to get some Real Writing Done, Myself. Now that the dissertation has been Put Away (in a metaphorical sock drawer, for six months, as the old sage advice goes), I feel an almost-desperate need to Produce and Accomplish.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Losing Her Religion: A Brief Review of Wonder Woman #21

There are three people in this world, Gentle Reader, who were instrumental in returning This Humble Author to the superheroic comic genre. Each of these three people is immensely talented at what he or she does, and therefore each has a particular talent that was presented to me, some five or six years back, when I found myself Rediscovering My Youth. Or, that is to say, when I found myself longing once more to watch a fight for my rights in satin tights (and that good ole red, white, and blue). While the Amazon Princess always has been Dear to My Heart, at the time I had not read her, in some while.

The first (and foremost) of these individuals is, of course, Mr. Reads, back when he was merely Boyfriend Reads. What Mr. Reads does, and does Rather Well, is Read. As a poet, as a writer, himself, Mr. Reads has an uncanny knack for Knowing What Is Good. Beneficially for This Humble Author, he also has an uncanny knack for knowing exactly what it is that This Humble Author will enjoy. This of course leads me directly to persons numbered 2 and 3.

Greg Rucka is individual numbered 2, and my rediscovery of superhero comics directly coincided with my introduction to Greg Rucka’s run on Wonder Woman. What Mr. Rucka does, and does Rather Well, is present the Other. He gives us a character who *should* be Just Like Us and instead shows us a character who is so utterly different from the world that we cannot help but sympathize with her, enjoy her strength and development, become angry with her when she fails, but only because she is So Very Angry with herself. Princess Diana, Tara Chace, Renee Montoya, all of these women were written with an eye towards what makes them different. It is no surprise, then, that these women are Warriors, All. Because what is more alien to our society than the Warrior, and the Woman Warrior, at that?

And, no surprise to you, Gentle Reader, Ms. Gail Simone is individual numbered 3. I remember when Mr. Reads first handed me Rose and Thorn, and Birds of Prey, and, most importantly, introduced me to the concept of Women in Refrigerators. As a feminist, an academic, and just generally, a Person Interested In Popular Culture, I found the very idea of Ms. Simone to be Utterly Fascinating. A fan becoming a writer, a critic becoming a voice. But while that is all Well And Good, it was Ms. Simone’s writing that truly won me over. And when I discovered that two of my enjoyments of comics were to coincide—Gail Simone was to write Wonder Woman—I knew that things would be rather interesting indeed.

Friends, I adored Greg Rucka’s run on Wonder Woman. I think he presented us with the difference of Diana. As a Princess from an isolated island, as a Warrior Ambassador for Peace, Diana is a dichotomy, and Mr. Rucka gave us those odd, isolated moments. The graphic novel The Hiketeia, for example, shows better than any other tale before or since the utter alienation of this character.

Mr. Rucka showed us the alienation; Ms. Simone shows us the internalization.

Diana is changing, to meet the world, to become someone new, but that change is not what Ms. Simone focuses on. Rather, it is Diana’s reactions to those changes we see stressed, so completely, in the recent issues of Wonder Woman. When battling on the edge of insanity, Wonder Woman finds herself losing: her strength, and understanding, and, most important to this Warrior for Peace, she tells us she is losing “My compassion. My mercy. My love.” These are the defining characteristics of Princess Diana, and to lose these things, she notes, would be “the wound that finally slays what I truly am.”

That wound, Gentle Reader, seems to threaten her very Soul.

It was Batman, was it not, who had a plan to defeat all super-powered heroes in case of emergency? And was it not his plan to let Wonder Woman defeat herself? Locked in a room, no weapons, no doors, just her willpower and her determination, Wonder Woman would fight until her heart gave out. There is often talk of the willpower of the Green Lanterns, but I point instead to the Amazon Princess. She will never back down, she will never surrender, and Ms. Simone demonstrates the toll that will have on Diana. Her gods will not answer her, so she sought another.

There are consequences, of course. Deep, earth-shattering consequences. The Lasso begins to reject her. She begins to doubt herself. There is constant questioning and repositioning here, on the edge of sanity, but most importantly there is development, growth, change, and Becoming. For good or for bad, the Amazon Princess changes, and We, the Constant Readers, are fortunate enough to watch it unfold, to cheer for her triumphs and to mourn her failures. In short, we are there, are we not? Because she is brought forward, as human as is possible for a Woman of Wonder, Made of Clay, Born of the Gods.

Mainly, for This Humble Author, that change also comes in the form of Costume: the Amazon Princess’s armor changes throughout the issue, and it is beautiful, Friends, just beautiful. But also, too, that change comes in writing. Mr. Rucka wrote the distant future-queen, the Ambassador come to fight for Peace. Ms. Simone, instead, writes the Wonder Woman of our past and of our future. This is the Wonder Woman for My Generation, Friends, not only the character but also the imprint. When I read Tresser singing to himself “Lolly lolly lolly get your strange bedfellows here,” I laughed out loud. I could not help it. Where Mr. Rucka rooted the imprint firmly in the realm of the Other, Ms. Simone bridges it between past and present. I, as a Reader and a Constant Fan, could never imagine Wonder Woman without her gods. That is, of course, until Ms. Simone gave her new ones.

For the first time since The Crisis, I feel as if Wonder Woman is standing on solid ground. I have greatly enjoyed Ms. Simone’s run thus far, but the past few issues, in particular, have given us a quietness, a solidity that along with the Team-Up is the true marker of Gail Simone’s writing. There is a quiet dignity to this story, to the presentation of Wonder Woman, and her alignment with Other Heroes, the constant questioning and requestioning of herself, all presents a picture of an Amazon Princess on the edge of sanity, on the edge of the future, on the edge, Gentle Reader, of change. She is losing her understanding of herself, she is losing her gods and her religion, but she is, perhaps, finding her humanity, too.

And it is her humanity, is it not, that we are most interested in? As I have argued before, She is both Same and Other, both Human and Amazon, and Ms. Simone brings that to the forefront.

I have had the great pleasure and privilege to reread all 12 issues of Welcome to Tranquility in the last week, and coupled with my recent reading of Secret Six and Villains United, I can say without a doubt that bringing forward the humanity of otherwise inhuman characters is Ms. Simone’s forte. And who is more inhuman than the Woman born not of woman but of the very Earth itself? Not even the alien from Krypton can claim such a difference, particularly as it is Clark Kent who is the real person rather than the mask. In these recent issues, Ms. Simone offers a new glimpse into the humanity of the Amazon and this does not rely on her employment (as evidenced when Etta Candy begs her not to return to the Taco Whiz in issue #20) or her romantic life. Rather, it is solely rooted in Diana’s internal questioning, in her quest to understand herself and how she is changing in the face of her actions, of the world, and of the loss of her traditions, her gods, her beliefs, and her mother.

Or, as Diana asks with a question laden with a myriad of implications and possibilities, “What is it that I am becoming?”

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Renee Montoya Week

It is true, Gentle Reader, that it is Renee Montoya Week over at the fantastic site Who Is The Question? As Constant Readers are now well aware, Renee is a character with whom I am Greatly Enamored. Please enjoy the wonder of this strong hero all week long, and thanks to Eric for making it happen!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Amy Reads the Week (of June 22nd, 2008)

Still playing catch-up, Gentle Reader, and this time, I have gone Way Way Back. Over the past few days, I have worked through over 50 issues of New X-Men, Academy X, and the New Mutants.

I think what these titles really drive home is the awful face of Hatred in the X-Men universe. That is to say, it is one thing when someone expresses Hate against Emma Frost, or Wolverine, or another Grown-Up who can Fight and Protect Him-or-Her-Self, but to see that same racism, that same hatred against children, against teenagers, to see that hatred bring forth death and destruction of children, well, that is to see the True Face Of Hatred, Indeed.

Some parts of the run handle this better than others, of course, but I think what they all reveal is the immediate danger for those Mutants, particularly the young ones post House of M. For the Younger Members of the 198, the world has become a Very Dangerous Place Indeed. What Marvel does as an Imprint, and what it has always Done Well, is to use the comic book universe as a marker for "real-world" problems. The Hatred directed against the Mutants, purely because They Are Different, and that Hatred directed against Young Children, solely out of Fear, is analogous for racism, homophobia, sexism, classism, anything in which there is blind hatred and fear against someone different.

DC does archetypes well; Marvel handles analogies with perfect aplomb.

I have never been a very big fan of the X-Men until reading Morrison and Whedon. I grew up a DC Girl, and in my heart, a DC Girl I will stay. But when written well, the X-Men are written Very, Very Well, and I am about to embark on Mr. Brubaker's and Mr. Carey's run on the Mutants, as they are two writers whom I Absolutely Adore. Then, Friends Who Adore Those Of A Greenish Hue, I embark on a Quest of Brightest Day and Blackest Night.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Comics Backlog #4: Supergirl, Daredevil, and JLA

Well, it is official, Gentle Reader. JLA and Supergirl have bored me to tears. So much so that I am dropping both from my pull list as of now.

Daredevil, however, is Quite Extraordinary, and promises to become Even More Extraordinary(er?). That is right, Friends. Apparently my beloved comics writer Greg Rucka is joining the Daredevil cast, along with another beloved comics writer, Ed Brubaker.

Trying to plod through more of the backlog, and while I would like to give you more than these Reviews In Brief, I am afraid that I do not have anything at all particular to say about Supergirl (eh) and JLA (meh). As for Daredevil? All I can say is Fantastic.

I will probably start reading more Green Lantern tomorrow, Gentle Reader, so I promise to Keep You Updated!

As for now, I return to the backlog. On the docket: Teen Titans, Young Avengers, and the Umbrella Academy. An all-teen all-star lineup, it seems!

Comics Backlog #3: Green Lantern: Rebirth

For those Gentle Readers who are, specifically, Shelly, Ragnell, Kalinara, and Sally, I have Delved Deep into The Color Green: This Humble Author has read a Green Lantern Collection.

It is true, Friends. I have.

While I have No Special Love for the Green Lanterns, I have No Special Dislike of them, either. Rather, the GLs are a part of my Comics History into which I have never delved very deeply. What I do know of the GLs comes in referential form: in Supergirl, in JLA or JSA, in the cartoon JLU. As such, I am not really a fan of Hal Jordan or Guy Gardner. That is, of the Earth Green Lanterns, I am most interested in Kyle Rayner, John Stewart, and Alan Scott.

But, and here is the "but," Gentle Reader, I like the idea of a Green Lantern Corps. I want to know the Lanterns from other sectors, examine the alternative GLs. I adore Mogo, for example, and find the idea of a planet Green Lantern to be just about one of the Most Fascinating Plot Elements Ever. Because of this, Mr. Reads is about to put in my hands the Sinestro War, so that I may examine the history of the Rings Of Different Hues.

Here is what I did like about Green Lantern: Rebirth: the explanation of the yellow weakness, Kyle, Green Arrow's constant understanding and strength, Sinestro's arrogance, Kyle, the struggle between Fear and Willpower, Kyle, how the DC Universe joined together to save Hal, and Kyle.

Here is what I did not like about Green Lantern: Rebirth: I get Very, Very Grumpy when someone makes my Batman become a Bad Guy. And while Batman is not a Bad Guy per se, the art depicts him as villainous, creepy, and wrong.

While I enjoyed it, I enjoyed the stories around the major GLs. I am not, nor will I ever be, I think, a fan of Hal Jordan. But I could certainly enjoy stories that center on Kyle. I adored the fact that Kyle was the only GL safe from Parallax because Kyle is the only Lantern to Know Fear. Further, Kyle's artistic nature and how it becomes prominent in his use of the ring is Very Interesting Indeed.

Not a fan yet, Friends, but definitely more interested than before.

Slowly but Surely, Gentle Reader, I am plodding through the Immense Comics Backlog. I am almost caught up on Daredevil (almost a year behind!) and Teen Titans (only a few months behind), but I am still several issues behind on everything else. But next week my class begins the Comic Book I will be teaching, and that is enough to look forward to, no?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Reviews in Brief: The Middle Man and Secret Six

Villains United/Secret Six
The backlog continues, Gentle Reader, and I know that many of you will be Shocked, absolutely Shocked when you discover that This Humble Author has never read Villains United or The Secret Six. For those Readers of This Humble Blog who are, perhaps, less Constant than others, the shock would be based on This Simple Fact: I adore Ms. Simone's writing. I have read most of her work, I blog about it, I even am teaching her comics (it is true, Friends!), but while I was Familiar with the Secret Six, thanks to Birds of Prey, I had never delved that deep into my backlog of comics, until now.

I have said it before, and I will say it again: Gail Simone is a master of the team up. No one, no one takes disparate characters and makes them work quite like Ms. Simone. Welcome to Tranquility, Birds of Prey, Gen-13, Secret Six, Ms. Simone is able to bring a rather diverse and, in the Secret Six's case, rather dysfunctional group of individuals together and make them a *team*. Catman, Ragdoll, Scandal, Knockout (This Humble Author's Humble Favorite), Mad Hatter, and Deadshot should not work together, but they do. In fact, even when they do not work together, they work together just perfectly.

The relationship between Knockout and Scandal was a familiar one to me, thanks to Birds of Prey. As an Adorer of All Things Amazon, I am fascinated by all things Resembling Amazons; thus, the Furies are particularly fascinating to me. Barda, of course, is a longtime favorite of mine, and Knockout is rapidly becoming another favorite Fury, and another favorite female hero/anti-hero. But the relationship between Knockout and the daughter of Vandal Savage works well on numerous levels, the most basic one on the level of friendship and trust. Written as a fascinating antithesis to the anti-relationship of Cheshire and Catman, the relationship between Knockout and Scandal works because they work well together. The same as the relationship between Catman and Deadshot: two people who should never be friends become friends, and the world seems right.

Dr. Psycho is still the scariest of All Scary Villains for This Humble Author, along with the Joker, but the Mad Hatter is discomforting, as well. It is a testament to Gail Simone's writing that we sympathize with the Mad Hatter, a character who is By All Rights unnerving. But so, too, do we sympathize with Ragdoll, with Deadshot, with all of these anti-heroes/anti-villains who exist in the liminal state between good and evil, between right and wrong. In that gray area, always, is the strength of the team.

Like Grant Morrison's run on X-Men, this mini-series by Gail Simone makes me regret any time I have spent *not* reading it. But now that the Dissertation is A Thing Of The Past, I can return to things like a Very Large Stack of Comics Backlog. Next on the list: getting caught up on Daredevil.

The Middle Man
Gentle Reader, I wanted to hate this pilot, so completely. I do not trust ABC Family for Good Programming. That is to say, I trust them for "good programming," but not for, say, Programming of a Good Quality. But this show is self-aware, smart, funny, absurd, and just pure joy. If you have not seen it yet, do catch one of the encore viewings. I promise you, you Will Not Be Disappointed.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Amy Reads the Week (of June 15th, 2008)

What a week-end, Gentle Reader! You may not know this about This Humble Author, but I am--dare I say it So Publicly?--Rather Anxious. That is to say, in the revelry of this week-end, I found myself at some points staring off into space, wondering if I had fixed This Reference or That Mistake in My Dissertation.

Luckily for This Humble Author, Friends were on hand to distract.

Friday night's venture into Nearby Metropolis was a smash, and delicious fondue and lovely conversation were had. Saturday evening, Myself and Four Girl-Friends descended upon the local Tasty Eats and Beverage Hole (margaritas and quesadillas to be had by all) and then the local Dance Club to enjoy the celebration of not one but two newly-minted Ph.Ds, myself and another colleague. Wearing a button that declared my status, courtesy of the fantastic Supadiscomama, I enjoyed the evening Very Much and forgot, just for one moment, the possibility of Typos.

But upon arriving home to find a sleepy Husband and Pup, I was too awake to sleep myself, so I finished The Avengers: The Initiative vol. 1. As I have mentioned before, Friends, I am Rather Behind in Marvel, and I am using this strange and nebulous time to get caught up in lots of things: cleaning, organization, comics, and pleasure reading.

I quite enjoyed The Initiative, mostly for the overwhelming push towards out-of-controlness among the registered superheroes in the Marvel Universe. There is a constant sense that everything is spiraling away from everyone in control, and this issue, dealing with both the impact of the New Warriors and the Post-Registration/Post-Civil-War world in which those like Iron Man and Spider-Man now exist was Rather Extraordinary.

The focus on the children, the up-and-coming superheroes, was a particularly interesting move. There often exists two types of child hero in comic books: the one who wants to Prove Everything, and the one who Wants Nothing. There are exceptions to this, of course: I point to Vaughan's Runaways and Simone's Gen-13, in particular. But there is in most literature focusing on a child of extraordinary abilities the struggle between Being Different and Being Similar. That is to say, the child hero either loves her powers or loathes them, but there is rarely a struggle between.

Again, there are exceptions, Gentle Reader. Far be it for me to assume a Generality on All Literatures! But often, this story *is* the story of childhood: worry over difference (writ large for puberty, for change, for struggle), worry over place (writ large for parental control, for individualism, for confidence), worry over acceptance (writ large for peer pressure, for friendship, for cliques). I have Said Before that Gail Simone's Gen-13 offers an interesting view of the same-yet-differentness of the Extraordinary Child, and I point, too, to Runaways, to Whedon's early Buffy, to Heinberg's Young Avengers.

In The Initiative, we see teens struggling not with their difference, but rather the difference of Those Who Came Before: The New Warriors. Worried not over trying to fill shoes but rather trying to avoid doing such, these teens are insulated and do not, cannot, work as a team. This separation occurs early on, with the death of MVP, and the rest of the collection has the group struggling to find their place in themselves, not their place in a new team. There are few moments when the teen heroes work with each other, and almost every time, those moments fail. Rather, this book stresses the individualism of each member, and how that individualism, like Trauma's control of his fear-power and his manipulation of his power into a force of healing rather than Fear, Itself, is the backbone of a heroic story.

An interesting focus, considering What Has Come Before: Captain America's separation from Iron Man, the struggle for and against Registration, and, ultimately, the success of Iron Man and his Registration Act. When he is good, Gentle Reader, he is Very Very Good, but when he is bad, he is Downright Scary. I have always believed this about Tony Stark who, while Iron Man is so often compared to Batman, is not broken like Bruce Wayne. There sometimes is no core of humanity left in Stark. In those moments, he frightens me Very Much.

We see the darker side of these superheroes with this collection, and I think The Initiative does an excellent job in reminding us that they are, ultimately, fighting a war. But I think, too, it does an excellent job in reminding us that there are reverberating consequences to Civil War, and the Fallout will, I think, exist for some time yet.

In other news, Happy Father's Day to Those Gentle Readers So-Inclined to children, of the human or non-human kind! Mr. Reads, Pup Reads, and I will celebrate Mr. Reads's canine-fatherhood with a trip to the park and, tomorrow, a Rather Delayed trip to Our Local to pick up our comics for this week.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Done! (done done done)

It is Finally True, Gentle Reader. I have submitted my Dissertation and I am Done With It.

That is, of course, until the Thesis Office returns it with corrections.

Now I shall lead a weekend of female revelry, near-scandalous for This Humble Author. Tonight is a trip into Nearby Metropolis to meet with some Girl Friends From Dr. Reads's Undergraduate Collegiate Career for fondue. Tomorrow night is a celebratory dinner-and-dancing extravaganza with Dr. Reads's Girl Friends here (not to be confused with Doctor Girlfriend) in College Town. Given that Weekend Revelry in the Reads Household most often consists of pajamas, Netflix, and a delicious home-cooked meal, this will be Rather Scandalous for This Humble Author Indeed.

Mr. and Pup Reads will remain on The Home Front and guard the final .pdf of my Dissertation so that I am not tempted to look over it again and bemoan any typo I may find.

See you on Sunday, Gentle Reader, for a Week's Review of Pop Culture (and perhaps a brief summary of the weekend's festivities).

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Amy Reads the Week (of June 8th, 2008)

Can't blog, Gentle Reader. New Avengers to read.

That is to say, Mr. Reads and I just discovered that the last issue of New Avengers I have read is issue 36. 36, Gentle Reader! I do not think we have had any Skrull revelations yet!

Or, perhaps, just one.

On the television front, This Humble Author is behaving Much Better. We are almost finished with all available DVDs for Foyle's War, which I cannot recommend highly enough.

Must go help Mr. Reads with the New Avengers and Mighty Avengers (and Initiative, and Young Avengers) Sorting, so that I may understand Secret Invasion a Bit More.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Graduation Present for Dr. Reads

Gentle Reader, it seems as if This Humble Author will be treated to tickets and, Quite Possibly!, backstage passes to see A Certain Band from her Childhood, courtesy of Mother Reads.

That is right, Friends. Mother Reads is treating the newly-minted Dr. Reads to a New Kids on the Block concert as a graduation present.

(tee hee)

In related news, Mr. Reads remains unamused by my continuous questioning as to whether expressing nearly 20 years of love to Donnie W. constitutes as disavowing marital vows.

Along with an Alaskan cruise which is the Parents Reads graduation present to Dr. and Mr. Reads, this will prove to be the Greatest Graduation Ever.

If only I can discover an inexpensive way for We Reads to return to Scotland, I will count my graduation a success!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Comics Backlog #2: Final Crisis

Gentle Reader, in the immortal words of Kitty Pryde,

Also, I adore, absolutely adore Manhunters, both of the Human and Martian varieties, and I dislike the idea of losing either of them.

And a few highlights:

- Alpha Lanterns - I will be swayed by Green Lanterns' Light yet, it seems!
- Batman and his eternal dossiers
- Yes, Vandal Savage, we've all waited 50,000 years. Please, hurry on with it.
- Um, Libra?
- Um, early Man?

And do not forget the 52, Gentle Reader!

I believe that is enough Comics Backlog for one evening, although Mr. Reads has just placed Secret Invasion #1 and #2 on my desk and slyly walked away. We Shall See, then, no?

Comics Backlog #1: Batman and Manhunter

Gentle Reader, Kate Spencer is back! Or, as Bones says, our favorite red-leather wearing single mom is back, and with a vengeance. I like this return issue, particularly in its femicide plotline. Manhunter is a comic that pays particular and, I Dare To Say, almost unique attention to the problems of women. That is, Manhunter becomes a superhero for women in the same way that, Back In The Day, Selina Kyle/Catwoman did the same. In this issue, we see Kate returning to superhero-ing with a vengeance, and that vengeance is all about the protection of the innocent.

As for Grant Morrison's Batman, much has been made of the lead-in to the Death of Batman, that is, Batman RIP, and I must say that it is making much ado about everything. Joker, Talia, Damien, Alfred, Jezebel Jet!

Er, that is, Jezebel Jet?!

Methinks she is Evil, Friends. What say you?

I do like the odd surrealism that occurs in the past few issues, and making the reader as confused as Batman Himself is is just a matter of Good Writing. But then, what else have we come to expect of Mr. Morrison?

Brief reviews only, Gentle Reader, as I make my slow and (rather) plodding way through my Very Large Backlog of Comics. I will save longer reviews for particular runs, like Wonder Woman and Astonishing X-Men. Until then, Friends, I return to the comics trenches.

A Blog Scolding; or, Dr. Reads Discovers the Sheer Amount of Comics Backlog

Gentle Reader, I must scold you! Why o why have you not told me how Very Far Behind I am in Comics? Certainly, I was aware that The Dissertation was distracting me from my Pop Culture, but really? Four issues behind in Batman? Nary a glance cast on Final Crisis? Not to mention the latest issues of Wonder Woman, Buffy, etc. etc. ad nauseam?

I did, however, read the Final Issue of Astonishing X-Men yesterday morning, and promptly cried and cried. Review coming, forthwith.

For now, along with Dissertation Edits, and Thesis Office Requirements, and Summer School Teaching, I will attempt to unearth myself from the vast amount of comic book paper piling on top of me. I begin with Batman (je t'adore, Mr. Morrison), then move to Wonder Woman and Final Crisis. Where else have I fallen behind?

Captain America is still dead, yes? Spider-Man is still ridiculously unmarried, yes?

(mental note: also must read Secret Invasion)

Postscript: notice the use of "Dr." in my name. Will I ever tire of seeing it, Friends? I dare say that I shall not!

Monday, June 02, 2008

A Postal Surprise for Dr. Amy Reads

Gentle Reader, imagine my joy and surprise when, upon checking our Postal Mail today, I received a package from the brilliant Rachel Edidin to celebrate my recent dissertation defense. Inside it, Friends?

A signed copy of Gail Simone's Wonder Woman #18, addressed to "Amy Reads."

What delight! What joy! Or, as Mr. Reads commented, "I find it hilarious that you cry over a signed comic book, and not, you know, over successfully completing the actual defense."

We Reads have our priorities, no?

This is a very public thank you to the generosity of My Dear Friend, Rachel. Thank you, Friend, for such a delightful and office-rific gift! By office-rific, I mean, of course, that This Comic Book will be framed and hung, with great love and pride, in the office of Said Dr. Reads.

Thank you, Friend! And thanks to all of you, Most Gentle of Readers, for your congratulations and well wishes. I am basking in the glory, no? I do not think I will ever tire of hearing "Dr. Reads," either.

Amy (Belatedly) Reads the Week (of June 1st, 2008)

Mea culpa, Gentle Reader, for not writing sooner. I wish I could claim the busyness or the stress of the past few months, but, in fact, I cannot. Rather, Mr. Reads and I spent the weekend in blissful television and movie enjoyment. We went to see Speed Racer (Very Fun Indeed!), we watched through season 3 of Foyle's War (Quite Brilliant), tried to see Indiana Jones, but could not summon the energy (I would rather, in all honesty, see The Strangers), and, most importantly, saw the most recent season premiere of The Venture Bros., a show I would hesitate in confessing to like if it were not as smart as it is (and that is Rather Smart Indeed).

There was, of course, also the Rather Expensive Dining-Out Celebration of my Successful Defense, and it was, it must be said, Rather Delicious for all of that.

As for presents for a Successful Venture, I believe I have mentioned that Mr. Reads purchased for myself (and therefore also himself) a Nintendo DS, and I have purchased for myself (and only for myself) a shiny pretty pink ipod nano, 8mg, as my original 2nd generation ipod has died a slow, painful, and Rather Agonizing Death. The nano is Awfully Tiny, and I worry, constantly, that it will get lost in the *ahem* shuffle.

I urge you, Gentle Reader, to pursue Foyle's War, a BBC show set in Hastings during the beginning of WWII. It is a detective show complete with ghastly Murder Mysteries, of the most (and least) well-mannered and cozy kind. That is to say, it is in the tradition of the armchair detective (a la Christie) but with a True Detective (a la Chandler). Very enjoyable, particularly for its portrayal of gender, class, and sexuality issues.