27 February 2009

2009: The Year of Graphic Novels

I've been collecting graphic novels for the better part of two decades now, and, for the first 10 years or so, I managed to read them at roughly the pace I was acquiring them. However, over the 2000s thus far, they've been stacking up, unread, at a fairly brisk pace. It doesn't help that my wife the librarian has biannual conferences where I usually get a stack of 15-20 of them gratis (or for a nominal fee).

This ends this year. I'm planning on getting through roughly 2 a week in 2009, and, hopefully, by year's end, I'll have (mostly) caught up. I'll be documenting my efforts here on the ol' blog for no one to read.

Admittedly, it's 27 February, and this is the first I've mentioned it here, but I've already been hard at work getting through 10 tomes, so, of course, I'm behind schedule.

Books tackled thus far:

1. Planetary Vol. 1: All Over the World and Other Stories by Warren Ellis
2. Planetary Vol. 2: The Fourth Man by Warren Ellis
3. Planetary Vol. 3: Leaving the 20th Century by Warren Ellis
4. Planetary: Crossing Worlds by Warren Ellis

I first got into Warren Ellis via his excellent Transmetropolitan series. I've since read lots of his shorter collections, including Orbiter, Ministry of Space, Ocean and a few other items, including his online series FreakAngels. The dude is twisted, literate, and endlessly entertaining. Planetary is all of those things. It's weird as hell, and I would probably benefit from re-reading it (as it is, I had to re-read several stories referred to in later ones just to figure out what was going on). Great stuff, but weird. In a good way. I'm looking forward to the fourth volume, coming out later this year.

5. Stormwatch - Force of Nature by Warren Ellis
6. Stormwatch - Lightning Strikes by Warren Ellis
7. Stormwatch - Change or Die by Warren Ellis
8. Stormwatch - A Finer World by Warren Ellis
9. Stormwatch - Final Orbit by Warren Ellis

Noticing an author trend here? Well, Planetary sort of flows into The Authority, which is preceded by Stormwatch, so there it is. Stormwatch was started by Wildstorm Comics in the mid-90s, and was "rebooted" by Ellis, who took things into what I assume was an entirely new direction. It's more of a standard superhero comic with excellent writing and plotting, and it flows very nicely to a fairly gruesome conclusion.

And, lastly:

10. Borgia - Blood for the Pope by Alejandro Jodorowsky

I first heard of Alejandro Jodorowsky when the wife got a free copy of Metabarons: Othons and Honorata, which was wonderful, even translated from the original French (I thought about tackling it in its source language, but my linguistic skill is pretty pathetic these days). Jodorwsky's got lots of Big Ideas and usually teams with some exceptional artists. Borgia's not really in that vein. It was published by Heavy Metal press, so it's more blood and Bacchanalia than driving prose and dialogue. Still, 'twas fun.

Next up: The Authority Volume 1: Relentless by (you guessed it) Warren Ellis.

04 February 2009

Apparently the President's Assistant thinks that electrical outlets are powered by pixies and fairy dust.

When I saw that the White House had a new blog/RSS feed, I signed up to see what little tidbits the Obama administration would be touting. Imagine my surprise when Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, indicated that she really thinks wall-socket power is emission free. In discussing the benefits of electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt, she says:
Because nearly 80% of Americans commute 40 miles or less a day, this car could potentially provide 80% of Americans with a zero-emissions option for their commute.
Now unless 100% of the power in the US is now nuclear-, wind-, water-, and solar-generated (something I've not been informed of), most of the power coming to our houses is generated by fossil fuels. The last I checked, gas, oil, and coal were not zero-emission. I will certainly posit that generating electrical power writ large and sending it over transmission lines is almost certainly more efficient and cleaner than generating it car-by-car, but no one can claim a Chevy Volt is zero-emission just because it doesn't generate carbon monoxide when it's moving.