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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mortal Kombat With a Friend in Vietnam

Marvel debuted their new online comics venture, Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited, last week to much discussion and consternation. Have you checked it out? I played around with it myself, and found about a million things I despise about the interface, but overall was generally surprised by its breadth of content and affordability. Sadly, they won't be getting my sign-up moolah as I can't stand reading comics on a computer screen for an extended period of time, and I have a healthy obsession with books. More on this in a moment.

I was watching Charlie Rose last night (quiet you! I love Charlie Rose. I wouldn't marry him or anything, but his show is a shining beacon of hope in the cultural wasteland that is Televisionland) and his guest was Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of, Newsweek cover boy, pimping his company's new product, Kindle. It's basically an iPod for books; it's about the size and heft of a trade paperback novel and features a current library of 120,000 titles is available for wireless download in under sixty seconds, $10 each regardless of the physical book's cover price. Kindle looks like the biological baby of a Star Trek datapad and an Etch-a-Sketch Animator (remember that thing? Jeez I loved that toy!). It'll store 200 books at a time, and any that you delete are stored on the website's server for future reference. All in all it's kinda nifty. (*Please note: I have no idea the details of Kindle's legal ramifications, nor creator's rights and royalties issues. It appears that Amazon has shored up agreements with most major publishers, but you never know what those pesky writers will do to get paid for the digital reproduction of their work -- see: WGA strike. BTW -- Power, brothers and sisters!).

All this is prologue to the following: This is by no means the death of The Book, nor are these the digital John the Baptist of the great paradigm shift in how we read and enjoy the written word. Not to be presumptuous or overly inclusive, but if you're like me, we love BOOKS, the physical books. The smell of them. The lending to your friends. The joy of giving your favorite as a gift. Owning a 1st Edition of your favorite. When were you last inclined to pay ten bucks for the e-Book edition of a cheap mass market SF novel? With regards to a book's design -- When was the last time you looked at an e-Book brilliantly designed by Chip Kidd or Catherine Casalino? Never, because it ain't gonna happen. When was the last time you wished they'd get the single issues finished so you can wait for the online trade? Never because, frankly, why bother?

We're Forbidden Planet, and we realize you want your BOOKS. And we gots lots of 'em!!! And they smell terrific!

X-Men: God Loves Man Kills Premiere HC - Fancy schmanzy reprint of seminal X-story by Chris Claremont (w) & Brent Anderson (a). One of the best, if not THE BEST, X-Men stories of all time. I carried this book around with me everywhere I went for a year when I was twelve, This book is hardcore. From the opening scene of Magneto discovering the bodies of two executed mutant children, throughout the rest of this gripping yarn, GLMK never feels like a dopey super-hero book. Never treats you like a short bus reject. It also features my favorite X-Team -- Nightcrawler, Cyclops, Storm, Colossus, Kitty Pryde, Wolverine and Professor X. It also takes place outside the realm of the soap opera of X-Men continuity. Thusly, GLMK is the least convoluted, most accessible X graphic novel. If you've never read a Marvel mutant book, this is the one to start with. I'll be picking mine up this week -- I need it in sexy hardcover/book form!

This Week's Hugo Award Winning SF Novel?

Dune - by Frank Herbert. The dreaded winter looms (We hates the nasty cold! We does, my precious... we hates it!) so let's read Dune in an attempt to psychosomatically warm ourselves up, huh? The great SF adventure epic for the ages, Dune follows the saga of the desert planet called Arrakis, unassuming power center of a sprawling galactic Empire, and sole source of Melange, the Spice that powers interstellar travel and source of great psychic power. Indigenous religious fanatics, Sandworms that'd dwarf Union Square, weapons powered by a single sound, "I, Claudius"-type political intrigue, more back-stabbing and deception than a novella on Telemundo... Dune's sheer scope is astounding and exhilarating. Dune makes Star Wars look like a quaint movie for a dreary afternoon -- a real yawnfest, Daddy-o! If you've never read Dune it's time for you to take the plunge into the big kids' end of the plasma pool. If, like me, you're old hat at this: The Spice Must Flow.

"Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life."
-Mark Twain

Be Well,


Contributor Art

Death and Dream (Daniel) from Sandman (detail, unfinished) - illustration portfolio

Artist's Note: Drawn upon Mr. Gaiman's announcement that that Death: The High Cost of Living film will be set in London... and the fact that Daniel doesn't get enough love. The finished version can be seen on my site soon!

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Embracing the Inner Bimbo

Well, it looks like this shall be my last of a glorious and well-designed fifteen-issue run as the uncredited ghost editor of the Weekly Planet. (That's okay, the satisfaction of a job well-done is enough credit for me! ...haha.) As a result, I wanted to commemorate this by finally contributing another article.

Now I've been a longtime fan of Sam Kieth since comic book store employees stared in puzzlement at a 10-year-old me using her allowance to purchase floppies of The Maxx during its first run. (Having parents that didn't understand English very well definitely worked to my advantage as a kid!) So imagine my excitement as I found out that #2 of My Inner Bimbo was *finally* releasing after over a year's delay!

Were I more pretentious I would spout a pedantic list of philosophers and psychologists from which Kieth derives his themes, but pretension takes effort and I'd like to focus my energies on other "p"s that come far easier for me -- "proselytization" and "psychoanalyzation". Yes, that's right. My Inner Bimbo is a diamond in the rough -- Kieth's psychedelically surreal art shining through in black and white as well as potent elixir of his personal vocabulary.

Reflecting upon The Maxx, you will find the dynamic between Lo, the protagonist, and Bunny, his inner bimbo, pointedly reminiscent of Mr. Gone's sexist fantasy-play with a kidnapped and pink-enrobed Julie Winters. Indeed, there is a strong visual comparison between the two pairs (a balding, older, long-faced man and a baby-faced, buxom blonde) and suggests that My Inner Bimbo may be Kieth's further extrapolation of the vitriol and emotional dependency between these two examples of his personal pantheon of archetypes.

Both are stories of naive femininity coming into its own after periods of traumatic suppression. While Julie Winters' rape as a college student caused the mental creation of her stronger Jungle Queen counterpart, Lo's premature marriage to a much-older woman froze his emotional development and caused it to manifest in the form of his inner bimbo who is now finally embarking on her own journey of growth.

Parallels are abound in this book, as similarly-drawn juxtaposed panels depict Lo treating Bunny in the same way that he, as a 17-year-old wide-eyed blonde, was treated by his obviously more dominant future wife. Transference, much? Ironically enough, we also found that Mr. Gone's twisted serial-raping ways manifested from his own molestation by an older woman as a child. Names change, but the patterns and character mythologies are reincarnated until they can finally be resolved. Yet, instead of the older male figure acting as the somewhat-otherworldly guiding force for the younger female to face their dark past, it's the opposite in the case of My Inner Bimbo.

The crux of the plot is the evolution of the bimbo. Initially an unquestioning and eager sex slave; she then takes her first steps as a critical Greek chorus, adding sarcastic comments to Lo's woe-is-me monologue from a Kids Say the Darndest Things perspective. In issue #2, Bunny is further tinged with worldliness, her hair occasionally turning black a la the Jungle Queen, and takes an interest in philosophy and personal development. She demands to be addressed as "Liza", taken from Lo's reading of My Fair Lady in the role of Eliza Doolittle, and sets forth to find emotional independence for herself -- and by proxy, for Lo.

My Inner Bimbo is an alternate subtext reinforcement of developing one's inner Anima, first pioneered by The Maxx. It is the painful adolescence of Kieth's portrayal of our feminine side, and an expository and all-too-realistic reinvention of his first beloved characters. Let's just hope we won't have to wait another year for #3 to hit the shelves!

*Alice Meichi Li


The Static Age Part 4: In Space!

Space, the final frontier... or the last place left for a washed-up slasher to stalk. These are the voyages of the dying horror franchise. Its mission: to explore bad ideas. To seek out new viewers. To boldly go where other monsters have gone before (and embarrassed themselves). You may not want to admit it, but you know what I'm talking about. And if you're totally clueless, let me fill you in. You see, when a horror movie franchise's idea pool is running dry there's really only one place left for it's evil doers to go -- outer space. Let's run down a few examples to show you what I'm talking about.

Critters 4 (1991) - The first film to blast off into the unknown and the only one that would actually make sense. The Crits (or critters to all y'all country bumpkins) are actually ALFs (no, not the friendly furry kind from Melmac) so setting their fourth and final film in space brings the series full circle. Although not my favorite, it's still a pretty fun watch.

Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996) - Now let me preface this by saying I'm not a big Hellraiser fan. The special effects are nice and all but I just don't dig on it. Now as far as Bloodline, the concept is really pushing it. On a space station in the future, a relative of the inventor of the original puzzle box decides it's his duty to put an end to Pinhead and his Cenobite cronies once and for all. And how? By making a reverse puzzle box, of course. Not only is the concept ridiculous but it probably would have worked better if it wasn't in space. Pass on this one and pretty much every Hellraiser after this.

Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997) - The Leprechaun movies are some of my all-time favorites but this is the only one in the series that I can't stand. They were too aware of the fact they were making a bad movie so they didn't even try to make it a good "bad" movie. There's no real reason behind having him in space other than to add wacky futuristic elements. I guess they just wanted to jump on the "in space" bandwagon. Notice how each movie so far has been the 4th in it's franchise. So I'll give them credit if they were aware of this trend and did it on purpose, but I highly doubt the masterminds behind this turd were that smart. The most important part of a Leprechaun flick is Leprechaun's silly rhymes, which are non-existent in this installment. Yes, this one sucks, but don't let that stop you from checking out Leprechaun in the Hood and Back to the Hood which are quite possibly some of the best.

Jason X (2002) - People talk a lot of yang on this flick, but I honestly love it. It successfully did what Leprechaun 4 tried to: take your main character out of his element and put him on a futuristic space station. They were aware that they were making an "in space" movie and didn't suck at it. They took everything I love about the Friday the 13th series and super-sized it with uber technology. Whether you wanna admit it or not, Jason hasn't been remotely interesting since part 7 and its other horror movie cliche: the girl with psychic powers (hopefully someday I'll cover those flicks), so I welcomed X in all it's far-fetched glory. A must-see for all true quality schlock fans.

Since then I haven't seen any franchises try to execute an "in space" flick. Why not? Fear of a flop and backlash from fans? Who cares, bring on the cheese. I could only imagine the stuff Chucky would pull on an unsuspecting space crew, Freddy could easily invade the dreams of Elm Street descendants in the future, and pretty much anyone at anytime could pull of a chainsaw massacre. So let's do it, fledging film makers. Shoot me into outer space!

Oh and by the way... if you're not busy this Friday and are into heavy music, check out my band. We're playing just a few blocks from the Planet at Otto's Shrunken Head. All the info is conviently located on this super-rad zombie flyer, that I drew by the way. See you there!

- Matt D.


Welcome to Shibuya-cho

This week I'm starting off with a big "I'm sorry", boys and girls. Last week we had Loveless vol. 7 coming out, and as much as I love the series I told you all that it was over. It turns out I was wrong, but let me explain! Ever since I started reading the series it was always listed as "1 of 7", or "2 of 7". Even as far as Volume Six was "6 of 7". I guess that's as far as there was available back when our distributors put it in their systems.

And, let's face it, volume 6 was really climactic. I mean, we found out Seimei was still alive and everything looked as if it were about to hit the fan. Lo and behold, I'm reading volume 7 and the aptly named "Septimal Moon" chapters, and I finally get to the end and what?! "In the next volume of Loveless..." Don't get me wrong, I'm glad it's not over, I just had to let you guys know I'm sorry about the incorrectness.

Moving on, last week we received an awesome little surprise of Air Gear vol. 6 -- the manga AND the Vol. 6 DVD coming in. The manga showed up a bit early, but the DVD came just in time. The DVD is also the last volume of the series (pending the decision on the second season). And while they changed a few things around to make the ending make sense, you can expect Benkei and Yoshitsune to be their awesome selves.

Now, you all know I'm an Air Gear fanboy, so I'm not gonna hang on that too long. The only other thing you need to know this week is Paprika is finally here! Now the DVD auto-plays in Japanese, but it does come with English subtitles for those of you who want it. And if you don't know Paprika, this is the latest movie from Satoshi Kon (Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, and Tokyo Godfathers). A group of psychotherapists create a device that allows them to travel into the dreams of their patients to help them overcome their issues, but someone steals a set of the D.C. Minis and starts mixing the crazy dreams of the patients into everyone else's heads... even while they're awake. Action, adventure, and tons of bizarre dream imagery makes for an awesome movie, but this has that extra spice... Paprika.

See you all next time, and don't hold that Loveless thing against me.

Ja ne!
Mat K.


Unkie Dev's Amazing Stuff


Superman stands for all things American, and Thanksgiving is no exception. Superman loves eating turkey. Remember that one issue when a Kryptonian turkey returns from Krypton and ole' Supes destroys Metropolis trying to chop its neck off with an axe-head made of Green-K, and then Jimmy Olsen turns into a mermaid? It was awesome. The next issue had Bizarro superturkey arrive in Metropolis, cackling a hideous "Elbog, Elbog" and trying to eat pilgrims.

Batman, on the other hand, HATES turkey. There was a great Elseworlds story where Benjamin Franklin became Batman... or Turkeyman, rather. Scene One involved Benjamin "Bruce" Franklin-Wayne arguing that the turkey should be our national bird, being versatile, plentiful and indigenous. After this debate England, guns down his parents in an alley. "The British are a superstitious, cowardly lot," says Ben, "though those that fear bats and liberty deserve neither," and donning a turkey costume, beat the red-coats in the streets of Philadelphia with Turkey-rangs, electric kites and a special horse-drawn carriage shaped like a turkey. I think Mark Waid wrote it.


This week we all become sharks in the shopping frenzy as the bleeding corpse of the holiday season floats ever closer. What to buy, what to buy? Drugs and illegal fire-arms make the perfect gift for the young and the old, as they are certainly the catalyst of many a new experience. Forbidden Planet does not sell these items, not even if you wink at the counter and ask to see the *wink-wink* "Back-issues," *wink-wink.*

Gift guides, however, are stupid. Suffice it to say Forbidden Planet is stocked to the snots with DVDs, t-shirts, graphic novels, comic, manga and gift certificates. Why shop anyplace else for gifts this season? Dad would LOVE some Hellboy Heroclix, and Mom is just stupid for Crisis on Infinite Earths. Why not get little sis a scale model replica of Hawkeye's bow and cowl, plus wouldn't Grandma be the talk of the nursing home in her Battlestar Galactica "Frak Me!" T-shirt? Yes. Yes she would.


The Goon: Chinatown - Eric Powell (w/a), Dark Horse. The Goon is a tough-as-nails, battle-scarred mobster who is the only thing standing between the poor schlubs he shakes down for protection money and screaming bog-lurks, giant land squids, zombies, and the occasional bowling midget. He drinks, he fights, and he carries with him deep scars. Chinatown, the Goon's first full-length original graphic novel has been eagerly anticipated by Goon fans. Chinatown promises to be a prequel of sorts, detailing secrets from the Goon's dark and mysterious past... but don't think it'll be too serious. The last time the Goon took trips down memory lane still involved slap-stick, football thugs, and his bearded circus aunt..

Multi-award winning cartoonist Eric Powell got great exposure this year working with writer Richard Donner on the "Bizarro World" storyline in Action Comics. The Chinatown graphic novel marks the beginning of what Dark Horse is calling "The Year of the Goon." Yup, 2008 will bring in new Goon merchandise and the return of the Goon comic going monthly. Indulge the disgusting misanthrope within: Read the Goon!

You should also pick up Street Fighter Volume 4: Bonus Stage (Various creators from Udon Comics). If you have ever liked Street Fighter II you will dig this. Creators like Adam Warren and Ultimates 3's Joe Madureira bring quick, fun stand alone stories of globe spanning beat-downs just in time for Thanksgiving.

DANG. Out of room. I shouldn't have spent so much time making up malarkey about Ben Franklin and his turkey vigilance. Nah, that stuff was gold. Pulitzer, thy name is "MINE!"

By Guest Contributor: Unkie Dev


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