Books for Soldiers

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December 29, 2006

Comic review: Metal Hurlant

Metal Hurlant.jpgMetal Hurlant #8/65 pgs. and $3.95 from Humanoids Publishing/various writers and artists/sold at on-line auctions, storefront and on-line comics shops, and at

Once upon a time there was a French comics magazine named Heavy Metal. It was an anthology title filled with beautiful art, often incomprehensible stories, graphic violence, and lots and lots of naked men and women. It went away in the good old U.S.A.

Then there was a French and American comics magazine named Metal Hurlant. It was also filled with beautiful art, but most stories were understandable and enjoyable, and the violence and sex was toned down a bit. It went away as well.

The eighth issue explored an American icon resurrected in the future only to be doomed by uselessness, a world where zombies are a commonplace nuisance, and a knight intent on slaying a dragon that is a little less and a little more than he appears.

Yes, there are three incomprehensible stories; all are possibly chapters in continued stories. Intriguing art does not save them from obscurity. A simple summary of what had gone before sure would have helped otherwise befuddled readers.

The art, wildly divergent from story to story, is all excellent.

Although Metal Hurlant is again extinct, there is much to recommend past issues to adult readers who aren't offended by crass language, nudity, and blood. This series, however, was never for children.

R. A. Jones is one of the writers in this issue of Metal Hurlant. He is a member of the Oklahoma Cartoonists Hall of Fame. MV

MINIVIEW: Captain Gravity and the Power of the Vril [penny farthing press; graphic novel] Excellent art and story in the grand tradition of the pulp magazines of the '30s and '40s! If you enjoy the high adventure of the Indiana Jones films, you'll love Captain Gravity!

Order Vance's history of the American Comics Group in Alter Ego #61 at

Interested in the exciting Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection and Toy and Action Figure Museum? Go to

review by Michael Vance

Posted by sferrell at 10:14 AM

December 18, 2006

What I'm getting for everybody on my Xmas list.

Justin Timberlake is, strangely, becoming one of my favorite entertainers.

Posted by sferrell at 5:06 PM

December 12, 2006

Elmo's African Dance

I wish I lived in Elmo's world.

Posted by sferrell at 4:26 PM

Global Politics in 30 seconds.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Posted by sferrell at 1:28 PM

December 2, 2006

Comic book review: Jack of Fables


The original Aesop, Mother Goose and Grimm fairy tales we grew up reading have been redacted! Ad-mittedly, they were pretty nasty.

The new comic book, Jack of Fables, starts out mildly nasty and stays that way; its villain is quietly working behind the scenes in Fable-town. His name is Revise, and he wants to redact the home of all fairy tales, Fabletown, where Snow White, Paul Bunyon, and Jack Horner [aka Jack B. Nimble, Jack Frost, Jack the Giant-Killer] live with lots of fairy tale characters.

It's a lousy place.

Here's what's happening in Fabletown by the second issue: Jack Horner has been kidnapped, beaten, and taken to a prison camp, the Golden Boughs Retirement Village. A promotional blurb says he meets "the enigmatic author of his current dilemma: the mysterious
Mr. Revise!"

Here's the look of Jack: its art is closer to reality than 'bigfoot' comics, and the visual storytelling is competent, crisp, and interesting.

Here's the flavor of Jack: "Sun shining brightly through the bedroom curtains [thinks Jack]. Birds merrily chirping, and all that other happy morning crap. Give me a break." This as Jack lies in bed next to a naked Goldilocks whom he doesn't even like.


Yep, sex, violence, selfishness, profanity, and the 'everything is crap' mentality once again equates adult literature (i.e. the real world).

Here's real reality: life is full of joy and crap, not just crap.

Jack of Fables is a well-written, well-drawn, and interesting comic book; it can be a great one with some balance. Let's hope the creators learn the balancing act in future issues. There is much potential for great storytelling in Fabletown. MV

Jack of Fables #2/22 pgs. & $2.99 from Vertigo/writers: Matthew Sturges, Bill Willingham; penciller: Tony Akins /available at on-line & storefront comics and book shops, or at MV

Review by Michael Vance of "Suspended Animation."

Order Vance's history of the American Comics Group in Alter Ego #61 at

Interested in the exciting Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection and Toy and Action Figure Museum? Go to

Order Michael Vance's history of the American Comics Group in Alter Ego #s 61 and 62 at

Interested in the exciting Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection and Toy and Action Figure Museum? Go to

Posted by sferrell at 12:07 PM


Salon, from years back, has a nice article about "finding Pynchon," the persistent recluse. It unearths how easy it is to unearth Pynchon, and it reveals how the revelation dispells some of the magic. Intentional or not, Pynchon's eluding the media these many years incorporates the mystique of his writing. It is the actual cover of the book. I'd not want to remove it any more than I'd want to tear the first five chapters out of his books.

Let him have his peace, let me have my mystery.

Posted by sferrell at 12:02 PM