Saturday, July 16, 2005

Bully's Book Club: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

What better way to kick off a brand new feature here...a li'l thing I like to call...

...than with my favorite book of the year (so far)?

Golly! A package from Amazon? For me? It's always a happy day when a box from arrives. But what oh what can be in it?

Oh! Oh! Oh! It's a big green book with gold lettering on the spine! Either it is that Martha Stewart cookbook I ordered or it is the book I've wanted most in my little stuffed life ever!

Yaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy!!!!! The new Harry Potter! this is the best book ever! I can't wait to read it!

Hurry up and take the picture of me with it, John! I've got to get started reading it or I will be behind all the other kids!

Oh! Oh! Oh! Look out, Dumbledore! Look out!

Well, to sum up, this is the best book I have ever read since the last Harry Potter book! I can't believe how exciting it was! I liked every bit of it, even the mushy stuff. But there should be less kissing and more wizarding! I can't wait for the next one. Oh hurry hurry hurry hurry up with it Miss have at least one fan who is a little stuffed bull who is hardly able to wait to see how it all comes out!

I love Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince! Thanks, Miss Rowling! Thanks, Amazon! (And hey...if you want a copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to call your very own, well, then you could do a lot worse than clicking on that link over there to the left and buying yourself a brand-spanking-new copy straight from Amazon. You'll be glad you did! I know I was!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

This was not the Batman comic book I was expecting

Hi hi hi comics and Bully fans! Here's some of the comics I got to read this week:

ASBARTBW #1 ALL-STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN THE BOY WONDER #1: This comic is not fun. I musta misunderstood. I thought this was gonna be a comic kids could read—that it was gonna be a good introduction to Batman for new readers, a little like the Ultimate books that Marvel does. Even John did because he gave it to me without looking! Then I turned the page and I was so embarrassed! It was just like the old joke: "What's black and white and red all over?" "A little stuffed bull blushing because he saw Batman's girlfriend in her underwear!" Yikes! I don't need to see that in my Batman comic. So I turned the page real quick. And there was more pictures of Batman's girlfriend in her underwear! So I turn the page again and guess what! There were lots of picture of Batman's girlfriend changing clothes in and out of her underwear! STOP THAT, Mister Frank Miller and Mister Jim Lee! You just stop that right now! If I want to see women in their underwear I will watch MTV, do you hear me!!!

So, okay, even if Batman's girlfriend is running around in her underwear, I'm still trying to read the comic book. Except Batman's girlfriend is talking to herself and I just have to say: "People don't really talk to themselves like they?" I mean, my tastes in literature are not that sophis-ticated and even I think this is some pretty darn hokey dialogue. And then Robin's parents get murdered. Except instead of someone tampering with their trapeze ropes they get shot. Wasn't their murder s'posed to look like an accident? Huh? And then there's some really, really bad cops. I think they are trying to show that Gotham City's cops are corrupt. But these guys are so, so bad they're just cartoons. And even in a comic book, that isn't a good thing. A lot of people on the internet are talkingabout how they liked the last page, where Batman tells Dick Grayson he's "just been drafted into a war." But I've got two problems with that. Number 1! One good panel doesn't make a comic book. And Number 2! I felt like I was drafted into this sorry excuse for a comic book. Aside from the fun cover this comic book was not fun at all. And I can't believe I'm gonna read something this year that I wanted to read as much but was so disappointed in. You guys blew it, DC! You're not gonna get me to buy this next month. I may just be a little stuffed bull...but I bet I'm not the only one!

Astro City #1 ASTRO CITY: THE DARK AGE #1: This comic is fun. Now, here's a comic that's a good example of a little grim 'n' gritty but which is still fun! (Are you listening, Misters Miller and Lee?) I've always liked Astro City (even tho' it doesn't come out half as often as I'd like it to!) 'cos it really captures the sense of wonder and awe that normal people would feel in a city full of superheroes. (It kind of reminds me of what it must have been like to read those early Fantastic Fours when they first came out and realize, "Yes! Hey! This is fun—we get to see what the normal joe on the street thinks about a stretchy man or a big orange-rocked monster living on their block!") The Dark Age begins a new maxiseries (don't take years to finish it, Misters Waid Busiek (thanks, Blam!) and Anderson, puh-leese!) about a little-explored period of Astro City's history when the heroes began to fall out of favor with the general public. But it's not really a story about the guys with muscles in spandex: like other AC stories, this is how a world of superheroes affects the man on the street. Or in this case, the men on the street: two brothers, Charles and Royal Williams. One's a cop, one's a small-time crook. This is only the beginning of a story: we see flashes and hints of a dark secret in the brothers' past. There's still a lot of mystery here about what's going on but it's enough of a story to keep me hooked. This is a little dark, but it's fun! And it fills the most important definition of a fun comic: will it make me want to pick up the next issue? Heck yeah!

Banana Sunday #1 BANANA SUNDAY #1: This comic is fun. John doesn't allow me to read Colleen Coover's other comic books (I don't know why! From what I can see they are jus' filled with cute girls.) I like cute girls just fine but you know what I really like? Monkeys! And this comic is chock-full of monkeys. If it were a barrel then I could probably say it was a barrel of monkeys. (But it's not. It's a comic book.) Banana Sunday is about Kirby Steinberg, a (really cute) girl who starts at her new high school with her three amazing talking monkeys! There's Chuck, the really really smart one, Knobby, who is very emotional and falls in love a lot, and my favorite, Go-Go! (Remember how Robin—the real one, not the one in ALL-STAR BATMAN AND HIS GIRLFRIEND IN UNDERWEAR—was declared "The sensational character find of 1940?" Well, I'm gonna be the first to declare Go-Go is the sensational character find of 2005! Yay!) Go-Go likes to eat—bananas in particular but everything in general! John said something about the three monkeys possibly being "symbolic of Freud's ego, id, and superego" but all I know is that they are monkeys! Who doesn't like monkeys? Not me, brother, that's for sure. I also like cute girls, and mysteries, and great art and storytelling. And I can't wait for the next issue! That's why BANANA SUNDAY #1 gets my award for the most fun comic of the week!

And P.S.: On the back cover of BANANA SUNDAY is an ad for what looks like another fun comic: POLLY AND THE PIRATES! You can't go wrong with pirates! Looks like Oni Press is gonna get a lot of my dimes this summer!)

Brontes #1 THE BRONTES: INFERNAL ANGRIA #1: This comic is fun. I sure do like the work of Mister Rick Geary: his artwork is clean and clear and cartoony but very dynamic and moody. Which came as a surprise to me, because when John handed me this comic and told me I should read it, I thought this comic would be a little like reading the worst of a batch of home-schooling books: a story about dead people who were real but don't seem alive. Boy was I wrong! Just like a great, great man once said: "If you're not careful, you might learn something before it's done!" John told me the Brontes are very famous sisters who wrote some very famous books that I have read as CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED comics or seen on Masterpiece Theater. But in this story about their lives, the sisters and their brother go through a magic doorway into a amazing fantasy world! (It's kind of Jane Eyre in Narnia). It's suspenseful and has a good cliffhanger. I even liked the back cover, which has a family tree and a little map of the area in the book. It reminds me a lot of the old Dell Mapback paperbacks John collects with maps of the book's setting on the back. This is the most fun I've ever had reading about authors of great English literature. (And I read the novelization of Shakespeare in Love!)

Escapist #7 MICHAEL CHABON PRESENTS THE ESCAPIST #7 FEATURING MR. MACHINE GUN This comic is fun. This is another kinda dark comic but it's a li'l campy and outrageous...c'mon, it stars a guy with a machine gun instead of a hand! John says this reminded him a lot of the old pulp comics like Doc Savage and The Spider and it had some great artwork by Ed Barreto, who you don't see too much from these days. All I know is that it was eighty pages long (and no ads!) so it felt like a real comic book, not just a pamphlet. (And it told a whole story!) This one was all written by Mister Michael Chabon, who's a big-name fiction writer but you can just tell he loves comics, too. I know that Dark Horse Comics republishes these keen Escapist series comics in to small trade paperbacks and sells them in the graphic novel sections of bookstores, but it's too bad so many of the people who have read and loved The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay will never realize these comics by Chabon exist! Dark Horse oughta package an Escapist collection to look like a thick paperback book, price it comparable to a thick paperback novel, and them shelve them in the 'fiction' section of a bookstore with the Michael Chabon books. Jus' imagine that: gettin' somebody who never read a comic book to buy one, maybe? But the comic book industry jus' doesn't think like that sometimes. Sigh!